Bahai News -- Guardian - Blair and Hoon head long list of witnesses
Blair and Hoon head long list of witnesses
Saturday August 2, 2003
Tony Blair, government ministers, civil servants, BBC executives and journalists will all face questioning by the judicial inquiry investigating the death of
weapons expert David Kelly, Lord Hutton announced yesterday.
The prime minister heads the roll call of at least 18 people the judge will ask to testify,
though that list is expected to grow as the inquiry continues.
For the government the inquiry's questions boil down to who knew what, who said what and who
ordered what in relation to Dr Kelly, in the weeks leading up to his death.
Lord Hutton said Mr Blair and the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, would be
called to testify as to their "knowledge of the discussions which took place and the decisions which were taken in relation to Dr Kelly". Mr Blair's close
ally, his director of communications, Alastair Campbell, will also be questioned about the naming of Dr Kelly as the source for the BBC's story. Lord Hutton
said Mr Campbell, Ministry of Defence officials and other government departments would be asked about:
· Discussions between Dr Kelly and MoD
officials, or other people connected with the government, after he admitted to his bosses that he had met the BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan on May 22.
· Discussions among government officials about Dr Kelly's meeting with Gilligan, plus discussions between officials, ministers and their
Lord Hutton asked to see all letters, memos, reports and any other documentation that "passed between MoD and other government officials and
minutes of meetings which in any way related to Dr Kelly". Mr Campbell and other officials will be asked about government decisions relating to the
circumstances through which the media learned Dr Kelly's name.
Government decisions about how and why it was that Dr Kelly testified before two committees
of MPs will also be examined. Lord Hutton added that he would want details from the MoD about any arrangements made for Dr Kelly's "health and well-being".
Tough questions will also be asked of the BBC journalist and executives involved in the story. Gilligan will be asked about:
· His meeting
with Dr Kelly on May 22 and any earlier ones he had.
· How his Today programme report of May 29 was prepared and broadcast.
The nature of the editorial supervision for the broadcasting of his report.
· Whether the government was given advance notice of the report and
· The publication on June 1 of an article by Gilligan in the Mail on Sunday.
Lord Hutton said the same issues would be put to
BBC reporters Susan Watts and Gavin Hewitt who also broadcast reports after speaking to Dr Kelly. The BBC will also be asked why it refused to name Dr Kelly as
its source until after his death.
The BBC chairman, Gavyn Davies, will be questioned about letters between him and Mr Hoon about the source for Gilligan's
Today programme report. Other journalists will be asked for evidence about what they knew about the naming of Dr Kelly and of any discussions they had with
Lord Hutton announced that Dr Kelly's widow was willing to testify and that one of his daughters may also be called. Police and medical evidence will
be heard and the weapons expert's state of mind will also be examined, with his friends called as well as a psychiatrist.
A member of the Baha'i faith, to
which Dr Kelly belonged, will be asked to explain how the religion may have affected the government adviser.
The first witness will be a government
official who will detail Dr Kelly's part in the September dossier on Iraq's weapons, his expertise in chemical and biological warfare, and his employment by
©Copyright 2003, Guardian (UK)
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