Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


SOL: The Hutton Inquiry - Week 3 Day 2

From the Streets of London With William Moloney

The Hutton Inquiry - Week 3 Day 2

Witnesses called today, amongst others, were Wing Commander John Clark and Geoff Hoon, Secretary of State for Defence.


Wing Commander Clark

Wing Commander Clark was called as a witness as he shared an office with Dr. Kelly and could give insight into his state of mind.

“He really was the fount of all knowledge in respect of Iraq... he was the expert”

Wing Commander Clark said Dr. Kelly had been “angry and frustrated”, as well as a little embarrassed, when accreditation problems prevented a second trip to Iraq.

Dr. Kelly had spoken proudly of his media contacts and had said he was operating within the MOD rules.

Wing Commander Clark had accompanied Dr. Kelly to the FAC committee hearing.

He had offered to accompany Dr. Kelly three days before the hearing. His role was to provide moral support.

“He felt he was tired. He was clearly not looking forward to the hearing....he was not looking forward to being televised”.


Geoff Hoon

Mr. Hoon said he came to the dossier process “relatively late”, not seeing a draft till the week beginning the 16th of September.

He said he was unaware of any concerns from the Defence Intelligence Staff had till he was preparing to give evidence to MP’s.

”The debate was whether particular intelligence indicated or suggested or showed a particular conclusion”.

When he heard Mr. Gilligans report, he reaction was that it made a “serious charge”- which Ministers had lied to Parliament and the public.

“I took particular exception to the charge as I have responsibility for decisions affecting the lives of British Serviceman.”

He first learnt that an official had come forward as Mr. Gilligan’s source on the 3rd of July. He did not recognize Dr. Kelly’s name.

“My first reaction was that this was something which could well lead to disciplinary proceedings”.

Mr. Hoon informed Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair’s Chief of Staff, that Dr. Kelly had come forward.

On Monday the 7th of July, it was agreed that Dr. Kelly was to go through a second security interview.

”I recognised that the FAC might have an interest in taking evidence from anyone who had been in contact with Andrew Gilligan.”

Mr. Hoon said he had not seen drafts of the press release about Dr. Kelly meeting Andrew Gilligan.

Mr. Hoon said he was not directly aware Downing Street involvement in drafting the MOD press release, but it would not surprise him.

Mr. Hoon said he had never seen the question and answer paper for MOD press offices which said they should confirm Dr. Kelly’s name.

On the 7th of July, Mr. Hoon discussed with Alistair Campbell ways to get the BBC to acknowledge that Dr. Kelly was their source.

Mr. Campbell floated the idea of leaking Dr. Kelly’s name.

Mr. Hoon was asked by Lord Hutton if the only reason of the MOD statement was issued solely to get the BBC to acknowledge Dr. Kelly as their source.

Mr. Hoon said that was partly the reason and also to avoid the charge of a cover-up.

It was suggested by counsel that the main reason for the Q and A sheets given to MOD press officers was to help journalist’s identify Dr. Kelly.

“If you are suggesting that there was some deliberate effort here to identify Dr. Kelly, I say that is absolutely wrong.”

Mr. Hoon said it was often very hard for press officers to “baton down the hatches” in the face of journalists.

Lord Hutton suggested you could simply say “We do not give out civil servants names”

Mr. Hoon said that this was not “strictly true”.

When asked about his decision to over rule his Permanent Secretary and have Dr. Kelly to appear before the FAC.

He said it was “ultimately my decision” but he had known the PM shared his view that it would be “extraordinarily difficult” to refuse permission for Dr. Kelly to give evidence.

Mr. Hoon said the conditions he laid down about Dr. Kelly’s appearance at the FAC was to protect Dr. Kelly, not to limit what he could say.

He admitted that Dr. Kelly had been given a “great deal of help and advice” in preparing Dr. Kelly for the FAC hearing.

“I cannot see any way in which Dr. Kelly was poorly treated in the process within the MOD.”


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Binoy Kampmark: Foreseeable Risk: Omicron Makes Its Viral Debut
It has been written about more times than any care to remember. Pliny the Elder, that old cheek, told us that Africa always tended to bring forth something new: Semper aliquid novi Africam adferre. The suggestion was directed to hybrid animals, but in the weird pandemic wonderland that is COVID-19, all continents now find themselves bringing forth their types, making their contributions. It just so happens that it’s southern Africa’s turn... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Totalitarian Cyber-Creep: Mark Zuckerberg In The Metaverse

Never leave matters of maturity to the Peter Panners of Silicon Valley. At their most benign, they are easily dismissed as potty and keyboard mad. At their worst, their fantasies assume the noxious, demonic forms that reduce all users of their technology to units of information and flashes of data... More>>

Keith Rankin: 'Influenza' Pandemics In New Zealand's Past
On Tuesday (16 Nov) I was concerned to hear this story on RNZ's Checkpoint (National distances itself from ex-MP after video with discredited academic). My concern here is not particularly with the "discredited academic", although no academic should suffer this kind of casual public slur. (Should we go further and call Simon Thornley, the academic slurred, a 'trailing epidemiologist'? In contrast to the epithet 'leading epidemiologist', as applied to Rod Jackson in this story from Newshub.) Academics should parley through argument, not insult... More>>

Gasbagging In Glasgow: COP26 And Phasing Down Coal

Words can provide sharp traps, fettering language and caging definitions. They can also speak to freedom of action and permissiveness. At COP26, that permissiveness was all the more present in the haggling ahead of what would become the Glasgow Climate Pact... More>>

Globetrotter: Why Julian Assange’s Inhumane Prosecution Imperils Justice For Us All

When I first saw Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison, in 2019, shortly after he had been dragged from his refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy, he said, “I think I am losing my mind.”
He was gaunt and emaciated, his eyes hollow and the thinness of his arms was emphasized by a yellow identifying cloth tied around his left arm... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Labour's High Water Mark
If I were still a member of the Labour Party I would be feeling a little concerned after this week’s Colmar Brunton public opinion poll. Not because the poll suggested Labour is going to lose office any time soon – it did not – nor because it showed other parties doing better – they are not... More>>