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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 July, 2003, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
BBC governors to discuss dossier row
Alastair Campbell
The select committee will report on Monday
BBC governors are to hold a special meeting with management to discuss the row about the corporation's reporting of the government's case for war in Iraq.

Governors asked for the briefing on Sunday ahead of Monday's report by the Commons foreign affairs select committee into the decision to attack Iraq.

They will discuss the attack by Downing Street's director of communications Alastair Campbell on the BBC report that quoted a senior intelligence official who said the government's first intelligence dossier on Iraq's weapons' capability was "sexed up".

Governors will be briefed by BBC director general Greg Dyke and other senior executives.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "It is not unusual for the governors to hold ad hoc meetings when issues of principle and integrity are questioned."

No apology

There was speculation on Friday by papers that the select committee would clear Mr Campbell of having added a claim in the dossier that Saddam Hussein's regime could launch a strike using biological or chemical weapons within 45 minutes.

Mr Campbell has accused the BBC of lying and denied he inserted the claim into the dossier.

But the BBC has refused to apologise for the report by defence correspondent Andrew Gilligan, despite Mr Campbell's demands for one.

The director of BBC News, Richard Sambrook said: "We continue to stand by our story and our source.

"We believe it was right to place these allegations in the public domain given the strength of our source.

"Nothing our source told us has yet been proved wrong and much of it has been confirmed by the government."

He said the government had confirmed that the 45 minutes claim came from a single Iraqi intelligence source and that it was inserted late into the dossier.

On Friday Downing Street accused BBC Radio 4's Today programme of refusing to carry an interview with Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon because he had intended to dispute the BBC report.




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