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BBC Statement On Death Of David Kelly

Director of BBC News Richard Sambrook made the following statement confirming that Dr David Kelly was the source for the BBC's controversial report over the Iraq weapons dossier.

"The BBC deeply regrets the death of Dr David Kelly. We had the greatest respect for his achievements in Iraq and elsewhere over many years and wish once again to express our condolences to his family.

There has been much speculation about whether Dr Kelly was the source for the Today programme report by Andrew Gilligan on 29 May.

Having now informed Dr Kelly's family, we can confirm that Dr Kelly was the principal source for both Andrew Gilligan's report and for Susan Watts' reports on Newsnight on 2 and 4 June.

The BBC believes we accurately interpreted and reported the factual information obtained by us during interviews with Dr Kelly.

Over the past few weeks we have been at pains to protect Dr Kelly from being identified as the source of these reports.

We clearly owed him a duty of confidentiality. Following his death we now believe, in order to end the continuing speculation, it is important to release this information as swiftly as possible.

We did not release it until this morning, at the request of Dr Kelly's family.

The BBC will fully co-operate with the government's inquiry. We will make a full and frank submission to Lord Hutton and will provide full details of all the contacts between Dr Kelly and the two BBC journalists including contemporaneous notes and other materials made by both journalists, independently.

We continue to believe we were right to place Dr Kelly's views in the public domain.

However, the BBC is profoundly sorry that his involvement as our source has had such a tragic end. "

A further statement was later issued on behalf of BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan.

"I want to make it clear that I did not misquote or misrepresent Dr David Kelly.

Entirely separately from my meeting with him, Dr Kelly expressed very similar concerns about Downing Street interpretation of intelligence in the dossier and the unreliability of the 45-minute point to Newsnight.

These reports have never been questioned by Downing Street.

Although Dr Kelly had close connections with the intelligence community none of our reports ever described him as a member of the intelligence services, but as a senior official closely involved in the preparation of the dossier."


ENDS

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