The BBC has now admitted that it had no significant source for its accusations against Tony Blair and his communications director, Alistair Campbell, other than the now-deceased David Kelly. This is significant because, while Mr. Kelly acknowledged having spoken with a BBC reporter, he emphatically denied making the inflammatory allegations that appeared in the BBC’s news reports. Kelly testified before a Parliamentary committee:
“I believe I am not the main source. From the conversation I had, I don’t see how (Gilligan) could make the authoritative statement he was making.”
We now know that the BBC’s claim was false; documents released by the Blair administration, as well as testimony from the intelligence community, show that Campbell did not, in fact, press for the inclusion of the famous “45 minute” claim in a British dossier about Iraq. It was in the report from the beginning. So there are two possibilities: Either Kelly lied to Parliament, and he did in fact give false information to the BBC; or else the BBC fabricated the false charge and had, in fact, no source at all for it.
If the latter is true, the BBC should suffer severe sanctions. It is hard to see how it can continue as a government-sponsored news agency–a horrible idea in any event–if it recklessly fabricates accusations against the British government. A thorough investigation of the BBC is in order.
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