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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Blair Cleared In Scientist's Suicide

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, under fire and accused of releasing the name of the scientist that was the source of a discredited BBC report, has been cleared of any wrongdoing according to a leaked copy of the investigation's final report:

A judge's probe into an Iraq weapons expert's suicide has cleared Prime Minister Tony Blair of blame, according to the Sun which has published what it says is a leak of the report. ... The Sun said the BBC, which had asserted in a report that Blair's government "sexed up" intelligence about Iraqi weapons to make its case for war last year, was accused of being "at fault" over a story that should have been checked more closely.

"The document...is a devastating indictment of the BBC and its defence correspondent Andrew Gilligan," wrote the Sun's political editor Trevor Kavanagh. "Tony Blair is sensationally cleared of any 'dishonourable or underhand' conduct."

David Kelly committed suicide in 2003 after he was publicly outed as the source of Andrew Gilligan's BBC story that Blair's government had "sexed up" intelligence in order to justify the war in Iraq. Gilligan contended that Blair's ministers had inserted a warning that Saddam could activate his WMDs within 45 minutes. The contention that intelligence was corrupted by the government has already been shown false, but the Hutton report specifically dealt with Kelly's outing and suicide.

The big loser? The BBC. Many other blogs have dealt with the BBC's bias and outright falsehoods over the past two years, especially but not exclusively regarding Iraq. The Hutton report will further cement the Beeb's reputation as a left-wing mouthpiece that used to be a news-gathering organization.

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05:49 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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