July 24, 2003

BBC 'taped Kelly's WMD concerns'

It is getting very nasty. Ask Joseph Wilson, the
former ambassador who blew the whistle on the Niger
uranium lie. His wife's identity as a CIA agent was
revealed to Robert Novak by a White House political
hit man, thereby blowing her cover, ruining her work
and endangering her life. Ask Jeffrey Kofman, the ABC
reporter, who did the story on US GIs in Iraq
expressing their anger and calling for Rumsfeld's
resignation. A White House political hitman "outed"
him as "gay" and a "Canadian" to Matt Drudge. Ask
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) who, courageously, came
forward after CIA Director George TooNice testified
behind closed doors and named the "White House
official" who pushed for including the Niger uranium
lie in the _resident's SOTU. White House political hit
men have been attempting to impugn his credibility and
have him removed from the Senate Intelligence
Committee, falsely claiming that he leaked classified
information. (Durbin's name will be scrawled on the
John O'Neil wall of heroes.) Ask Dr. David Kelly's
wife and three daughters. Ask his neighbors...He can't
speak for himself anymore..Or can he?


BBC 'taped Kelly's WMD concerns'

Dr David Kelly spoke to the BBC's Susan Watts
The BBC has a tape of scientist Dr David Kelly
expressing concern about the way Iraq weapons
intelligence was presented, it has emerged.
The science editor of Newsnight, Susan Watts, recorded
her conversation with Dr Kelly, according to the BBC's
media correspondent Torin Douglas.

The BBC is expected to submit the tape as part of its
evidence to the judicial inquiry led by Lord Hutton
into Dr Kelly's death.

The BBC will not discuss the content of the tape, but
is thought to regard it as a useful part of its
evidence, rather than the centrepiece.

Dr Kelly was found dead in woods near his Oxfordshire
home last Friday.

The weapons expert apparently killed himself after
coming under intense scrutiny following BBC reports
that Iraqi weapons intelligence had been exaggerated
by the government.

'Seized upon'

After his death, the BBC confirmed Dr Kelly had been
the source for three journalists who had reported
concern among the intelligence community.

On Newsnight on 2 and 4 June, Ms Watts had quoted an
unnamed source at length, as saying the government was
"obsessed with finding intelligence on immediate Iraqi

It was a statement that was made and it just got out
of all proportion

Susan Watts' Newsnight source on the controversial
45-minute claim

Susan Watts' Newsnight reports
The source was reported as questioning the claim that
Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within
45 minutes.

"It was a statement that was made and it just got out
of all proportion," the source said.

"They were desperate for information, they were
pushing hard for information which could be released.
That was one that popped up and it was seized on and
it's unfortunate that it was.

"That's why there is the argument between the
intelligence services and the Cabinet Office/No 10 -
because they picked up on it and once they've picked
up on it, you can't pull it back from them."

Heat on Hoon

The Guardian says the tape's existence explains the
corporation's determination to stick by its story,
under the onslaught of criticism from government

Other newspapers on Wednesday continue to question who
was responsible for Dr Kelly's name becoming public.

I think we should all heed what the prime minister
said about the importance of restraint

Jack Straw

Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday "emphatically"
denied he had authorised Dr Kelly's identity to be
made public.

That has made several commentators look again at
Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, who had previously
insisted the MoD made great efforts to protect the
anonymity of Dr Kelly.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said he would not be
drawn on those observations.

"I am not accepting your kind invitation to be led
down these rabbit holes," he told BBC Radio 4's Today

"I think we should all heed what the prime minister
said about the importance of restraint.

"We should recognise that the funeral of Dr Kelly has
not taken place, but in addition, if you have a
judicial inquiry, you should allow it to proceed."

Posted by richard at July 24, 2003 12:34 PM