Lord Hutton is in charge of the inquiry into the suicide of David Kelly, the alleged source for the BBC’s charge that the Blair administration “sexed up” a dossier on Iraq’s weapons programs. Earlier today Lord Hutton released information about a letter that Kelly wrote to his boss at the Ministry of Defence before his death. The letter represents more bad news for the BBC, as Kelly’s account of his conversation with BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan cannot be reconciled with Gilligan’s.
Kelly wrote that he met with Gilligan to “privately discuss his Iraq experiences and definitely not to discuss the dossier.” He wrote further that while Gilligan’s account of the meeting “in small part” matched his own recollection, its “overall character” was “quite different.” Kelly concluded that Gilligan had “considerably embellished” what Kelly told him, or had gotten the information from people other than Kelly who “truly were intimately associated” with the dossier, or had “assembled comments from both multiple direct and indirect sources.”
Given that Gilligan has testified that Kelly was his source, it appears that only the first of Kelly’s three alternatives–that Gilligan “considerably embellished” what Kelly told him–is viable.
The Financial Times account quoted above concludes by saying that “the Hutton inquiry will need to test the veracity and consistency of Mr Kelly as a witness.” Well, yes, except that he’s dead. He is being treated virtually as a martyr by the British press, and attacking his credibility will not be easy for Gilligan.
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