SOL: Hutton Inquiry - Week 2 Day 4
Hutton Inquiry - Week 2 Day 4
The Witness’ called today are Donald Anderson, Labour MP and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, various specialist defence/intelligence journalists and David Broucher, a diplomat.
Donald Anderson, MP
Mr Anderson was asked whether the decision of the Committee to investigate the case for the war was related to Andrew Gilligan’s report.
His replied “I think that Mr. Gilligan’s Today revelations were only part of the context within the decision was taken”
Mr. Anderson said the majority of the committee, but not all, had felt that the evidence exonerated Alistair Campbell from the charges that he had sexed up the dossier.
Mr. Anderson said the committee was reconvened on 10 July, three days after their report was published, due to the information that a MOD civil servant had admitted meeting Mr. Gilligan.
Mr. Anderson said that there was a debate within the committee whether they should call Dr. Kelly; the vote was four to three in favour.
The committee warned Geoff Hoon that they wanted to call Dr. Kelly.
Mr. Hoon said he was happy for Dr. Kelly to be seen by the committee but he was unhappy for Dr. Kelly to comment on “the wilder issue of Iraq WMD and the preparation of the dossier”.
Mr. Anderson agreed to these conditions, but a “substantial minority of the committee were unhappy about the agreement...”
Mr. Anderson said that he was unaware the Dr. Kelly had been prepared/coached ahead of his appearance, although since then,
“I have subsequently learnt that there was an extensive briefing for Dr. Kelly by the MOD and a briefing that went well beyond the parameters which the Secretary of State (Geoff Hoon) had provided for me in his letter”.
Mr. Anderson was asked whether Dr. Kelly was treated in the usual manner in which civil servants were treated in front of his/a committee.
He replied “This was a fairly unique occasion. Certainly I can say that when I heard that the ministry had acceded to our request (of Dr. Kelly to appear), I was somewhat surprised”.
Nick Rufford - The Sunday Times
Mr. Rufford said he first me Dr. Kelly in 1997 and had spoken to him 40 or 50 times.
He stated that Dr. Kelly usually briefed in a “broad bush” manner and would refer the journalist to a press officer for a more formal interview. Dr. Kelly had said to him that the Foreign Office and the MOD where used to the way he operated.
Mr. Rufford said that he felt that Dr. Kelly had a mission to spread information about his area of expertise.
Mr. Rufford mentioned that he had a number of discussions with Dr. Kelly about the dossier.
Mr. Rufford said he visited Dr. Kelly on the day that his name had been made public and he had looked like he had lost weight, was pale and tired.
Dr. Kelly had said that the MOD had just informed him that his name would be in the paper the next day and nothing had mentioned to him about alternative accommodation.
Richard Norton-Taylor- Security Affairs Correspondent for the Guardian
Mr. Norton said that as there was nothing new to put into a dossier, there was “widespread unease throughout the intelligence community” about its release.
He continued that the intelligence community “...learned to live with it – they said that their political masters wanted this and rather through gritted teeth they accepted that”.
He said that his sources had informed him that John Scarlett and Alistair Campbell had had a large “debate” over the dossier
Peter Beaumont- Foreign Affairs Editor The Observer
He said that his sources had told him that the threat Iraq posed was open to interpretation, and that it was “more theoretical” than they way it was presented.
He had contacted Dr. Kelly about the suspected WMD trailer’s in Iraq as criticism grew of their initial assessment. Dr. Kelly confirmed that the trailers were as the Iraqi’s described and were not production units of WMD.
Mr. Beaumont said that it occurred to him that Mr. Gilligan’s source was Dr. Kelly after initially thinking that the source was in the Intelligence community.
This was due to the fact that he had received “hints”.
James Blitz- Political Editor of the Financial Times
Mr. Blitz was asked how he came to know Dr. Kelly was Andrew Gilligan’s source.
He said that he had got his first clues at the lobby briefing on the 9th of July.
given at the briefing was
1. that the person who had come forward with several govt. agencies,
2. was currently working with the MOD but was paid for by another department
3. the person was a technical person.
He took this information and used it in an internet search engine. This search gave him an article authored by Dr. Kelly.
Mr. Blitz , after a series of calls to contacts in Whitehall, learned that the official in question was paid for by the FO, as was Dr. Kelly.
He put Dr. Kelly name to a FO official and was referred to the MOD press office.
Mr. Blitz put Dr. Kelly’s name to the MOD press office and it was confirmed.
Michael Evans- The Times
It took Michael Evans took two days to get Dr. Kelly’s name after it emerged an MOD official had come forward.
He achieved this by compiling a list of 20 possiable's and put them to the MOD press office. Dr. Kelly was the 21st name.
David Broucher confirmed that he was a FO official and the UK’s permanent representative on the conference for disarmament.
He stated that he meet Dr. Kelly in February 2003 in Geneva and discussed Iraq’s WMD
Dr. Kelly told him that there could not be much left and that the munitions were stored separately from the fill, “which meant that the weapons could not be used quickly”.
In conversation with Dr. Kelly Mr. Broucher mentioned that he could not understand why the Iraq’s were not co-operating.
Dr. Kelly replied that he thought it was because the Iraqi’s would feel that it would make an invasion more likely.
Dr. Kelly said that he felt that this Iraqi attitude put him in a “morally ambiguous position” with his work in Iraq.
Mr. Broucher thought that Dr. Kelly was feeling that the Iraqi’s may feel that he had lied.
Dr. Kelly then said to Mr. Broucher, if Iraq was invaded, “I will probably be found dead in the woods”.
The Inquiry has adjourned till Tuesday.
For full transcripts of all witness testimony and all the documentary evidence presented:
Go to the Hutton Inquiry website: www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk