BBC: Kelly was the Source

From Channel 4 newsletter for Sunday 20 July

The BBC have today said that Dr David Kelly, who killed himself on Thursday, was the source of Andrew Gilligan's report that the government had "sexed up" the dossier on weapons of mass destruction last September. He was then, it follows from that, the alleged source of Gilligan's claim in the Mail on Sunday (and later repeated on other BBC outlets) that it was Alastair Campbell who had inserted the claim that Iraq could deploy WMD within 45 minutes. The BBC changed their line on refusing to name their source after permission from Dr Kelly's family.

So we are left with a dilemma. Do we believe Dr Kelly's or Andrew Gilligan's account of their conversation? Dr Kelly denied ever telling Andrew Gilligan that the dossier had been "sexed up" and he denied accusing Alastair Campbell of doing any sexing up. Yet Gilligan and the BBC stand by their story - saying they accurately "reported and interpreted" the comments given by David Kelly.

David Kelly's friend - the investigative reporter Tom Mangold - has told us that Dr Kelly used to laugh about the 45 minute claim privately. So it is likely he (Dr Kelly) didn't believe it. But, of course, that is not what Dr Kelly told the Foreign Affairs Select Committee when questioned about it. Tom Mangold also says he does not believe Dr Kelly ever fingered Alastair Campbell - and that the BBC will be proved wrong on that claim in the judicial inquiry being held by Lord Hutton.

None of this explains just why David Kelly killed himself. None of this sheds any more light on whether David Kelly was being used by the government to discredit the BBC. It also emerged today that when Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon claimed yesterday that his department played no part in "outing" David Kelly he was not quite telling the whole truth. His press officer has admitted that when journalists rang to ask them whether the source was Dr Kelly they confirmed it. Mr Hoon, whose resignation has again been called for Glenda Jackson MP, is not giving any interviews today.