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SOL: The Hutton Inquiry - Week 2 Day 3

From the Streets of London With William Moloney

The Hutton Inquiry - Week 2 Day 3

Witness’ today are the Prime Ministers two Official Spokesman, Tom Kelly and Godric Smith and the Permanent Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Defence, Sir Kevin Tebbit.

Sir Kevin Tebbit

Sir Kevin was asked whether the MOD was a leaky department.

He replied:

“Yes I do not enjoy this but it is a large department with three armed services, and there have, from time to time, been suggestions of rivalry, of putting information in the public domain to support one particular interest against another...”

Sir Kevin said that Andrew Gilligan was know to have many authorise and unauthorised sources in the MOD.

Sir Kevin said that Dr. Kelly could only speak to journalists with authorisation, although he was given “quiet a latitude” with his background briefings.

Sir Kevin stated that there should be a distinction drawn between technical issues and more sensitive policy issues, and Dr. Kelly seemed to be operating in the grey area between the two.

Sir Kevin said that he became aware of Dr. Kelly letter to his line manager, Bryan Wells, saying he had met with Mr. Gilligan on 3 July.

Sir Kevin said that it was one of his roles to deal effectively with any leaks from the department, as it was for any head of departments.

Sir Kevin asked Dr. Kelly to be interviewed by the MOD’s personnel director.

Mr. Hatfield, the MOD’s personnel director found that there was no disciplinary case to answer.

Sir Kevin then wrote to Sir David Omand- who is responsible for Security and Intelligence matters at the Cabinet Office, reporting an official had come forward. In a following phone call, Sir Kevin said, that he may have mentioned Dr. Kelly’s name to Sir David, and that is possibly how Number 10 became aware of Dr. Kelly.

A British source was quoted in The Times as saying the mobile trailers found in Iraq where not for use as Biological weapons labs. Sir Kevin said that it looked like Dr. Kelly was the source.

It was about this time that Sir. Kevin became aware of Tony Blair’s interest in Dr. Kelly.

“The implication was that he (Tony Blair) did want something done about this individual coming forward” Sir Kevin said.

Sir Kevin arranged for Dr. Kelly to interviewed again.

Sir David wrote to Sir Kevin to say that they must inform the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and the Intelligence and Security Committee about Dr. Kelly.

Sir Kevin attended a meeting with the Prime Minister and Sir David among others and mentioned that Dr. Kelly could give some uncomfortable information evidence.

At this meeting it was agreed that Dr. Kelly would be interviewed again, to iron out any remaining discrepancies.

Sir Kevin said he was unaware if it was a security style interview but was sure he got a thorough examination.

Sir Kevin said there was no indication that Dr. Kelly was unhappy with his second interview.

Sir Kevin said “there was a strong case, one might almost say a duty” to publish Dr. Kelly’s name.

Sir Kevin denied he was involved in helping to draw up the MOD’s press office answers about the source and also denied that they were designed to lead journalists to Dr. Kelly.

Sir Kevin said he was aware the Number 10 and cabinet were discussing naming Dr. Kelly.

Sir Kevin “acquiesced” to Mr. Hoon, Secretary of State for Defence decision to put Dr. Kelly before the FAC.

“It is for Ministers to decide who appears before select committees not for officials.

He said he felt a “deep sense of responsibility not culpability” for someone who was a member of his staff.

Sir Kevin said of the actions taken about Dr. Kelly:

” I still believe that to have been the right course of action”.

***********

Godric Smith

Mr. Smith said he was not asked to play a part in drafting the dossier.

“This was clearly an issue which was being overseen on the presentational side by Alistair Campbell”.

Mr. Kelly said on 7 July he took part in a discussion with Alistair Campbell, where Mr. Campbell floated the idea of leaking Dr. Kelly’s name.

Mr. Campbell was apparently concerned that Mr. Blair was to appear before a committee the following day.

Mr. Smith said that after a short period of reflection he thought leaking the name was a bad idea.

Mr. Smith denied having any part in the release of Dr. Kelly’s name on the 9th of July.

On that same day, in a conversation, Mr. Campbell said that despite pressure he had not released Dr. Kelly’s name.

***********

Tom Kelly

Alistair Campbell, in the first week of July, told Mr. Kelly that someone had come forward as the possible source of Mr. Gilligan’s story.

He said that both he, and Godric Smith, had told Mr. Campbell that leaking Dr. Kelly’s name was a bad idea.

Mr. Kelly was then asked about his description of Dr. Kelly as a “Walter Mitty”.

Mr. Kelly said

“It was a mistake....I unreservedly apologise to the Kelly family that words of mine intruded into their grief...”

“Whatever my motives it was a mistake..”

***********

For Full transcripts of all the witness and all the documentary evidence presented go to the Hutton Inquiry website:

www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk

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