Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Death of David Kelly - Lord Hutton chooses not to see the significance of the February 2003 Top Secret document leak

In his Statement of 28th January 2004, Lord Hutton emphasises the seriousness of the charge of a lack of integrity of Tony Blair's Government.

Yet, he chooses to ignore evidence that the "integrity" of Tony Blair's Government had been shot to pieces in February 2003.

In saying that, I'm not referring to what became known as the Dodgy Dossier of February 2003 but to a clear example of Tony Blair lying to the House of Commons when he knew the intelligence was the opposite of his false claim.

Tony Blair had told the House of Commons,

The Prime Minister: First, I answered questions on this in detail at the Liaison Committee. I have explained that we do not know of evidence linking Iraq to al-Qaeda in circumstances concerning the 11 September attack. However, I chose my words very carefully in front of the Liaison Committee: we do know of links between al-Qaeda and Iraq; we cannot be sure of the exact extent of those links. Every member of the Government has adverted to that.

See House of Commons Hansard Debates for 29 Janurary 2003 (Pt 3).

Within days a Top Secret document produced by the Defence Intelligence Staff was in the hands of Andrew Gilligan of the BBC. See Leaked report rejects Iraqi al-Qaeda link.

The BBC article includes this quote:

The defence intelligence staff document, seen by BBC defence correspondent Andrew Gilligan, is classified Top Secret and was sent to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior members of the government.

Before the leak, the Guardian also ran an article, Al-Qaida and Iraq: how strong is the evidence?, expressing concerns about the validity of Blair's claims.

Someone (or, perhaps, several "someones") in the UK intelligence community with access to Defence Intelligence Staff Top Secret documents clearly was fed up with Tony Blair's wilful lies.

Yet, in his Report almost a year later, Lord Hutton bizarrely chooses to imagine that Tony Blair's Government still has "integrity" which it is possible to impugn.


  1. Richard Norton-Taylor of the Guardian had also obviously seen the leaked DIS document because he quoted from it in an article from 24 February 2003 entitled Both the military and the spooks are opposed to war on Iraq.
    He quotes the leak:
    "Al-Qaida will take advantage of the situation for its own aims but it will not be acting as a proxy group on behalf of the Iraqi regime"

    Norton-Taylor also quotes Lord Hurd, Douglas Hurd,
    "Do we help or hinder the essential struggle against terrorism by attacking Iraq?" writing in the journal of RUSI "Between peace and war:Iraq in Perspective to which Norton-Taylor is currently a council member.
    Who was Dr Kelly's female friend in RUSI? I just don't buy Olivia Bosch's explanation that Kelly was mixing up the RIIA with RUSI, especially in a written letter. Or was it a he?
    Mr Norton-Taylor does not mention RUSI at the Hutton Inquiry. Nor does he mention the leaked DIS document of Jan/Feb 2003. He goes on...
    Q. Did you even know of Dr Kelly's name before this whole dispute arose?
    A. I do not think so, no

  2. Another person Dr Kelly would have rubbed shoulders with perhaps...
    "From 1995 to 2005 she was Head of the Middle East Programme at Chatham House (RIIA), having spent five years in a similar post at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies (RUSI)."

    In the Jordan Times of 22 July 2003,Hollis writes
    "Kelly, who had worked with the UN inspection team in Iraq in the 1990s, had the kind of expertise on which the UK government would have called to arrive at its overall analysis of the danger. If he and/or others like him were not as certain as the political leadership claimed to be of the extent and imminence of the threat, then the decision to go to war was as much the result of a political judgement as it was knowledge based."

    "It could be, therefore, that Iraq will be the peak point of Bush's love affair with unilateralism and pre-emption. It is to be hoped so, because a central lesson of the tragic fate of Kelly is that in the future, the British government at least cannot rely purely on citing unattributable intelligence sources as the basis for taking the country to war without multilateral sanction."

  3. To be fair, Andrew, the February leak is kicked into touch (for whatever reason) by Omand and, via his answer, Tebbit. It was as if nobody wanted to mention the leak.
    MR DINGEMANS: Turning on to February 2003, we have heard that Mr Gilligan comes by a document, a secret document, relating to the links between or absence of links between Al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein. I think we have also heard that that did not come to Mr Gilligan from Dr Kelly, from Mr Gilligan's evidence. Were you aware of that leak?
    SIR DAVID: Yes, and I was concerned by it.

    MR DINGEMANS: Were any steps taken?

    SIR DAVID: I discussed with Sir Kevin Tebbit, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, the possibility that there could be a source of compromise of classified information within the Ministry of Defence, and he reassured me that he too was taking steps to investigate whether that might be the case.

    As reported in the Evening Standard, Key Kelly pair helped appoint MI6 chief
    ,11 February 2005, Omand and Kevin "I never met Kelly" Tebbit were on the panel which recommended Scarlett for the post of C,head of MI6.

  4. Special Branch - SO12 - were clearly involved in this first leak as at MOD/8/0011to0015 This seems much more important than the 45 minute sideshow.

  5. Andrew,

    Early in 2003, Katherine Gun read at GCHQ (somehow, because she was a Chinese translator) read a top secret email dated 31 Jan allegedly sent by a Frank Koza of the NSA which she "passed to a friend on the outside whome she knew was in touch with journalists" on Monday 3 February 2003, the very day the "dodgy dossier" was published and just before Colin Powell's speech on 5 February to the UN security council.

    It was published in the Observer on 2 March 2003

    Details here in the Guardian a year later when the trial collapsed.

    Any search for Koza leads back to the Observer article.

    "Full" story in the New York Review of Books,June 10 2004.

    All very mysterious.

  6. Also instructive to read BBC/4/0156-0162, in conjunction with Andrew Gilligans's exchanges at the Hutton Inquiry concerning criticisms of his reporting by Campbell,and toadying by the BBC. See also BBC/4/0142/6.