The BBC has a tape of a conversation where Dr David Kelly expresses unease about the presentation of evidence of Iraq's WMD.
The tape is expected to be submitted to the investigation into Dr Kelly's apparent suicide after coming under ferocious scrutiny over BBC reports that evidence had been embellished.
Tony Blair has "emphatically" denied authorising the naming of Dr Kelly as a "mole" and Geoff Hoon paid a visit to Dr Kelly's family at their home on Wednesday.
Does the tape change things? Will the inquiry be able to get to the truth? Was Dr Kelly unfairly placed at the centre of the argument between the BBC and the government?
This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.
Has this tragic situation meant that all the unanswered questions about the war are now going uninvestigated by British Journalists? Is there a culture of fear in speaking out? This inquiry is important, but I fear it will become such a focus that all the other questions will remain silenced.
Nigel, London UK
Time for some common sense.
It is a fundamental requirement
of justice for the accused to know
its accuser. Some anonymous
source cannot accuse me of stealing, for
example and take me to court.
Therefore the government had
every right to out their accuser.
It is sad that Dr. Kelly opted for
suicide, but he took the initial decision
to leak and the final decision as well.
Dave Mate, USA/UK
I can't really see how the BBC can be blamed for this. Protecting a source is one of the first rules of journalism. The Government is acting as if no one ever gave an off the record briefing to a journalist before. It has been a sad and sorry spectacle and I feel nothing but disgust over the actions of the Government. Put simply, if they had not leaked his name then I very much doubt that he would be dead now. It seems that a decent man has died just because the Government wanted to deflect attention away from legitimate questions over their conduct on Iraq. Very sad, very stupid and most of all, petty beyond belief.
Andrew, Ex UK, Bosnia
Its a miracle! The BBC is saved at the last by a mystery tape. What took you so long to reveal it? Your conscience is now clear then, the death of Dr Kelly obviously had nothing to do with the BBC. Can we trust this tape, given the performance of the BBC spin machine of late and its political agenda? If one good thing comes out of this, I hope it is stricter controls on media news companies becoming players in the stories.
Dr Kelly was a whistleblower and we know from other similar situations that they are treated very harshly by their employers. The air will only be cleared if the inquiry can establish what sort of pressure he was on by MOD and Downing Street to disown his discussions with the BBC. In the end he was in an impossible position as he might lose his job and pension if he admitted his "loose" talk.
Terje Saelensminde, London
Perhaps the inquiry will clear the air - but will it get to the truth? That's a different matter. I. How can Geoff Hoon in any way justify his visit to Dr. Kelly's home for private discussions with Dr. Kelly's wife prior to the start of the inquiry? It has to raise some very serious questions about the judgment and behaviour of this government.
Peter Jones, UK
In my country, there's this saying - "When elephants fight, the ants get trampled." It is very sad to see Dr Kelly ended up as a victim. I do hope the inquiry will shed light on the case.
My condolences to Dr Kelly's family.
In all of the hype and gnashing of teeth over this "leak" nonsense and with respect to Dr Kelly, I have heard or read of no one pointing out that as a senior civil servant, having read and signed the Official Secrets Act he still took it upon himself to talk to the media. Is it right that he did so? Did he exhaust all other possible courses of action within the civil service before doing so? Should he not shoulder at least part of the blame for all of this although he paid the ultimate price. Let's just see what Hutton says on the subject
Dr Kelly was clearly a senior expert on weapons inspection. With 37 visits as a senior weapons inspector and a senior post at Porton Down, we are not talking of a minor figure. The whole thing reeks with the stench of the politics of spin. I am convinced that the tapes and corroborative evidence will be a severe embarrassment to the government. It is totally unacceptable that they treated Dr Kelly in this cavalier and cynical manner. I hope that they can live with their consciences.
Chris Pett, UK
Dr Kelly is the innocent victim in the deceitful and violent game of politics. This government has a lot to answer for in the way it has treated the people of the UK over this war with Iraq. We are constantly being lied to, deceived, patronised and ignored and Blair is always on the lookout for ways to deflect attention and blame from himself. Dr. Kelly was such a deflection and it has backfired. May Dr Kelly now be allowed to rest in peace.
Eve Adams, UK
BBC deserves my high mark for the objectivity and honesty on the WMD issue. BBC will get into much more pressure in the future, but I'm now convinced that we will still have some true spreading around us; despite the increasing propaganda and lies. Thanks BBC. You may be blamed, honest people may lack enough political strength to support you but at the end, the true will remain with you.
Jean Claude Djo'Lamana,
What if Bush and Blair are put to lie detecting test?
To see the Blairs singing "When I'm 64" in China when Dr Kelly is not yet in his grave and the Blair government's actions mean that Dr Kelly will never see 64 was totally sickening.
Jon B, UK
Shame on the Government and shame on the BBC for 'using' Dr. Kelly. The tape cannot change the fact that a life has been needlessly lost.
Janet F., England
The existence of the tape is the best news so far in the whole sad saga of the war and it must be a great comfort to his family that the world will know what David Kelly actually said without the distortions so inevitable in passing through many hands. The recording will show clearly who's distorted the truth and, hence, who should accept responsibility for what's occurred.
John M, LyneMeads,UK
The whole issue is to divert people's attention from the main case i.e. why the prime minister went to the war. This is the question.
At times of war, it is likely that the freedom of speech suffers. This is the case of the BBC.
I think BBC reporting was not to the standard we expected of BBC. It is a shame that The Governors backed the reporter without studying the case in detail. All in all Shame on BBC
N Menon, UK
I certainly hope that a full transcript of Dr Kelly's conversation with the BBC will be made public. If nobody tries to prevent such clarity, the inquiry should clear the air.
The truth, as so often, will probably emerge around 20 years from now. By then none of the surviving protagonists will have a career to protect, an electorate to convince, or an objective to meet. The inquiry will conclude that the only person who cannot defend himself, Dr Kelly, held the answers. The government, the BBC and Mr Gilligan will all be fine. The inquiry is unlikely to get past the only concrete fact no one disputes, that Mr Kelly spoke to a journalist and he should not have.
This put him in the middle of the dispute and he paid a tragic price for what must have appeared to be a minor transgression. Whether he made his choice because what Gilligan reported was true, or because he felt he couldn't prove it wasn't, we will never know.
I only hope that Lord Hutton kicks any and all lawyers out of his inquiry, except for those giving evidence under oath. Otherwise the inquiry will take years and cost millions, and in the end tell us nothing.
I just want to say that I feel proud of being a BBC fan.
Stories like these of truth twisting, deflection, scapegoating and obfuscation by both the media of all formats and the government at all levels make me very glad indeed I left Britain.
Dave R, Denmark, Ex-UK
I can imagine Britain without the Blair government, but I cannot imagine Britain without the BBC.
Denis Mahaffey, France
What was so horrifying about this was that it was about something so insignificant. Had it been about leaking nuclear secrets, passing secret papers to the Soviets or something, the government outrage would have been quite understandable.
But about sexing up a document, when 'sexing up' is what most of Mr Blair's staff are declared to do for a living?
Steve from the UK believes that 'sexing up' the dossier is an insignificant matter? How about the thousands of lives that were lost and destroyed as a direct result of that apparently minor action? Not so 'insignificant' after all then.
M Collins, U.K
It is the BBC's job to report the facts, not challenge the government or 'sex up' existing stories in order to embarrass the democratically elected government. Dr Kelly was a scientist, not a senior British intelligence official as the BBC intimated. I don't ally myself to any political party. However I expect the BBC to be fair and unbiased in their coverage of such stories, and they have been neither as far as this story is concerned, The BBC is there to report the news, not make it.
Roger Harris, UK
No it won't clear the air because the ones who were blaming him, will not stand up & be counted, they will lie to save their own skin.
But we the British know "That's Politics". That is why at election time the count is so low; no one believes them, NOT ANY PARTY.
F. Williamson, England
It's ironic that a war ostensibly waged to give a country freedom and democracy is now leading us to understand how corrupt the democracies of the liberators are. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
Leigh, USA (UK Orig)
Mr. Kelly made his statement before BBC absolutely free, following his own moral code. Before the Government, under pressure, he denied 80% of it. What to believe? A statement made under pressure or a statement made in free will? For me the answer is clear.
Val Rankov, US
I do not believe that the inquiry will get to the truth of the matter. The judge's powers have already been downgraded, before he has even begun! Anyway, the really important question is whether or not the public and Parliament were misled and deceived by the government into going to war. I am certain that we were!
It was not the BBC who sent the troops to Iraq with dodgy dossier. It was not the BBC who named Dr Kelly as a mole. Yet, Blair & co.'s spinning machine wants to blame on the BBC. This Govt. is simply would do anything to get away with its responsibility. The BBC has done what journalists should have done, protecting its source. I support the BBC 100%. Trust Blair? No thanks.
Suki Takada, UK
You should be ashamed of yourselves for ruining the BBC's reputation for objective coverage. You're reporters are as out of control as those of the NY Times. You folks are letting your political agenda control your judgement. What a shame.
Brian D. Obergfell,
The BBC is in business to inform. During the war in Iraq, the only information Americans had access to in the mainstream media was that which had been filtered. Could it be possible that the BBC is now expected to conform to the same standards? Freedom of the press may be a thing of the past.
The ghosts of the innocent who died will never leave the government. Let the inquiry be full and through and let the can full of worms suppressed by the UK and US government come out in the open.
Is this story about a political set-up against Blair from the BBC any different from the Berlusconi claims against Italian judges? Maybe New Labour better apologize to Mr. Berlusconi for the offensive comments about the Italian judicial dispute?
Giuseppe Truglia, Italy
Caught in an attempt to mislead the public it professes to serve, BBC continues to exhaust the patience of the public by refusing to sack Gilligan and the editorial team. You got it wrong. You must be held to account.
J Reed, UK
I didn't elect Campbell and I don't know from where he thinks he draws the authority to act as he does. If he hadn't started spitting blood and demanding an apology I for one would have continued to treat the Gilligan report as simply one among many casting doubt on the accuracy of intelligence on Iraq and the Government's handling of that intelligence. I saw nothing remarkably damaging about the allegations, probably because I never believed the laughable claim that Saddam was a threat to the UK in the first place.
Tom Baker, United Kingdom
If anyone thinks truth is going to come out of this inquiry they got another think coming. The best we can hope for is that Dr Kelly will be allowed to rest in peace.
What happens if Tony Blair resigns? Someone please tell me that John Prescott will not become Prime Minister?!?!
To all of those suggesting that the BBC shouldn't have reported the story:
In the light of an especially opportunistic and toothless opposition, are you prepared to have no-one question the authority of this government. The majority of the media outlets in this country are run along political lines and it could be argued that the BBC has proven to be the most impartial observer of recent events.
Perhaps Andrew Gilligan's story was amiss but we cannot deny the sensationalist nature of the original government claims.
One hopes the truth will be established by this inquiry, but let us not forget we are dealing with a regime that has become arrogant and masterful in the art of deception and lies.
I can see the headlines sometime in the future, "Once upon a time there was a democracy called Britain ..."
Why does the death of one man warrant a judicial inquiry when the slaughter of thousands on the battlefields of Iraq doesn't?
I guess, Blair and party should be held accountable for being responsible for starting whole affair. At least BBC has a source that could be called a credible source, unlike Blair's "secret intelligence" a.k.a. a PhD thesis floating on the Internet.
Lalit Kolhe, UK
The inquiry may well clear the air but judging by Mr. Blair's attitude to all of this, I think that he is more concerned about the consequences of it for him, rather than the consequences already being felt by the family of Dr. Kelly.
Geoffrey Brooking, St Albans, England
For many months now the present government has treated the people of the country with contempt. It is suggested that Mr Blair and his cronies check a dictionary and look up democracy. I am sure the way that Mr Kelly was hounded would not have been tolerated by previous governments. In many countries Mr. Blair would not be asked to resign he would be thrown out.
A. Dormand, England
It's looking increasingly like the government "sexed-up" their dossier, while the BBC seems to have "sexed-up" their reporting of the story. You can't believe what your government tells you and you can't believe what your press tells you. How depressing. The inquiry might clear the government, it might clear the BBC - it won't clear my mistrust of politicians or the press!
Dr. Kelly's death was a shock to all and a measure of how strongly he felt about the unfolding tragedy unleashed by the Iraqi conflict. I feel it is terribly sad and ironic that this outcome is precisely being used to shuffle sideways in the debate, which is now about who named him, rather than who lied to the nation in order to go to war - and why - two questions I need to see answered.
The BBC's back-pedalling and blame shifting efforts in this affair are pathetic. Certainly there is blame to be laid at the door of the Government, but the BBC cannot absolve itself from responsibility for what has happened to Dr Kelly.
Now that the man is dead and his identity known, and as there is now no longer any anonymity to protect, the very least the BBC should do is state publicly and definitively exactly what the information was that Dr Kelly gave that allowed BBC reporters to make their reports.
The only way the BBC can regain its integrity is by showing that it remains objective and impartial, especially when it comes to the behaviour and conduct of its own employees.
Iain Irvine, UK
The reputation of the British people and government will suffer even more if the inquiry does not clear the air. In Jordan and the Arab world we have always looked to the BBC and the British to deliver the truth. This no longer holds. This is a very sad day for Britain
Ahmad Hmoud, Jordan, Amman
Stand firm BBC. You did not stand up in Parliament and tell the country that WMD were poised to fly in 45 minutes. You merely investigated the claim by consulting the proper high-powered MOD sources. You would have been wrong not to investigate, wrong not to report, and wrong not to have talked to the MoD.
I think you've behaved perfectly - obviously, it is a pity if you called a highly-placed MoD scientist with access to intelligence an 'intelligence' source if he wasn't, but you didn't call him a 'secret intelligence' source' so it is acceptable. If lies, spin, sexing up, spicing up has been done, it wasn't by you. And you didn't send our troops out to die. So stand firm.
The tragic death of Dr Kelly is distracting attention from the original reason for him giving evidence, the report into Iraq's weapons (or lack of) and the weight given to questionable evidence of said weapons. The inquiry into the naming of Dr Kelly and his suicide should not overshadow what he himself said about Iraqi weapons and the government's decision to go to war based on flawed evidence.
Toby Josham, UK
As a long-time Labour and Blair supporter I feel that
my unease concerning the Government's use of "spin" to justify policy has come home to "roost". Alistair Campbell cannot hide anymore. He is accountable and to restore people's trust he has to go - now
Colin Ainsley, England
I'm beginning to get this Government's tactics on policy u-turns: confuse us to death. One minute they're definite that there is a WMD threat, the next they aren't, then blame for the whole thing is seemingly shifted to the people reporting the government's actions and now they're trying to suggest they've never heard of this Kelly chap. Perhaps this is all a dream and we'll step out of that shower Bobby Ewing-style at any moment.
Dave Wright, UK
It seems to me the credibility and integrity of our Prime Minister and his government is far more important than the credibility of the BBC. That is actually the crux of the problem here, but somehow Blair and Campbell have managed to turn the situation around and put the BBC in the dock instead. We should not allow them to pull another fast one on us.
The fact that at least two other journalists were given essentially the same information by David Kelly before his death is a very significant development that should return the focus to what Blair and the MoD did to hype the intelligence reports they received. Government attacks on the BBC are a real threat to the independence of the entire press, which serves as a lynchpin for an informed electorate.
Dr. Kelly's death is an enormous human tragedy, whatever the circumstances surrounding it. That being said, however, he must have known the maelstrom he would unleash by grounding the BBC's sensationalistic journalism with a source and, likewise, that playing treacherous games with your employer is going to come back at you (censure and potential loss of his pension). Deepest sympathies to his loved ones as they try to make sense of his death -- may they at least find peace.
Paul, California, USA
I fear that the inquiry by Lord Hutton will not get to the bottom of this matter, due to the fact that the Government, steered by Mr Campbell, will confuse and point Lord Hutton on a course that will lead to no where. The outcome will be criticism of the BBC and some other poor Civil servant from the MOD will be thrown to the lions, for leaking Dr Kelly's name to the press. The inquiry will quickly forget the cause of this tragedy, i.e. that number 10 fabricated the proof needed to justify the invasion of Iraq.
It is irrational to blame the BBC for Dr. Kelly's death. The government leaked his name and publicly grilled him. The BBC protected his anonymity.
I hope this hysteria doesn't change British reporters into cowardly bootlickers like we have here in the states. I have nowhere else to go for relatively unbiased English language news.
Can we please try to remain objective here?
All that is currently known is that Dr. Kelly was an educated, committed and knowledgeable expert who had been caught up in some very disreputable political machinations before being found dead from other than natural causes. The coroner hasn't even convened the inquest yet the media persists in referring to Dr. Kelly's death as "suicide" - a highly emotive term instead of "death" (the correct objective word to be used). If you wish to use emotive words, remember that "murder" is equally as truthful but it would be far better to refrain from any bias at all - unless the aim actually IS to mislead the public.
The stink of hypocrisy hangs in the air. This government has encourages whistle-blowing in companies and then denies that right to civil servants. BBC reporters give enormous weight to the views of one man because it suits their own agenda. Both the government and the BBC conduct a immature shouting match to avoid talking about the real issues but now according to both we should shut up and wait for a judicial inquiry. Lies, prejudice, arrogance and hubris all round.
Tim Hammond, UK
During my 35 years service in the MOD, it was always made clear to me that any approaches from the Press were to be referred to the Departmental Press Office. Similarly, there was a clear requirement to record any offers of hospitality from outside organisations. It would seem that Dr Kelly both accepted hospitality from and spoke to the Media without getting prior clearance from his Departmental masters. This being the case, he clearly disregarded well established rules aimed at protecting both the Department's and the individual's interests. The consequences are somewhat unfortunate, but one can but think that, in making this fundamental error, for reasons best known to himself, he was the author of his own tragic misfortune.
G. Lees, England
Although my deepest sympathies lie with Dr. Kelly's family, I can not notice the shift in the media attention, because now they are playing the 'blamestorming' game and looking for the guilty. The real case of the argument seems to be completely forgotten. Was the Iraq war justified? Did the Government lie to us all? I want answers.
I don't doubt that Tony Blair will recover from his initial shock, but how much longer can he keep up the twisting and turning to stay in office? The electorate no longer trusts anything that comes out of politician's mouths, and doubts that the truth will ever come out. I believe Dr Kelly was a scapegoat, meant to divert attention from the real issues about the reasons for the war. I found it disgusting hearing Geoff Hoon and other politicians squirming away from any sort of sorrow about Dr Kelly's death, desperate to save their own necks at any cost. When will politicians start to take responsibility for their actions and failures?
Jamie Harris, UK
Whilst being cross examined by MPs it was obvious Dr Kelly didn't believe that the BBC had been fair and had indeed misinterpreted most of what he meant to say. I think journalists have got away with too much over the past years - they make up so many stories and twist everything around - hopefully they will learn a lesson from this. If David Kelly hadn't have been cross examined then we wouldn't have known his true feelings about the report and that was he had not said even part of what had been printed. The BBC are a disgrace - every TV station's views on the war were so one sided from the start and I think its about time we backed our country not ridiculed it.
Why would a man who had just told others that he was considering his future plans and that there were "dark actors" at work in the affair, kill himself? The short answer is that he didn't. We might also consider the relevance that Dr David Kelly was one of 12 leading microbiologists that have all died under suspicious circumstances over the past two years.
Simon Templar, UK
We will never know the real story of what Kelly said or didn't say to Gilligan. The point is should there not be a policy in the MOD and other Ministries that only official spokesperson speak to the media. Why was Dr Kelly speaking to Gilligan? Under what authority?
I just feel really sad for the Kelly family.
The argument over whether the BBC's information came from "Intelligence Sources" or somewhere else is a red herring. What is "intelligence" if not information? Gathering intelligence is merely a matter of gathering information whether it be through conversations with friends and acquaintances or scanning the newspapers or listening to radio reports. It does not necessarily have to be gleaned from someone who is employed by what we popularly refer to as the "Intelligence Services" (which usually means MI5 or MI6). Intelligence gathering often involves talking to informed opinion from which we can make our own assessments and draw our own conclusions. I think our conditioning to the world of "spin" has cost us our ability to differentiate between the literal meaning of the English language and the popular associations now given to some words that have been hi-jacked to mean something entirely different.
Derek Maule, UK
Dr Kelly was nobody's fall-guy. He chose to betray the confidences of his employer and while doing so, probably broke the Official Secrets Act. If he wanted to say those things about the government, he should have resigned first.
Neil from the UK, if David Kelly broke the Official Secrets Act in order to bring us the truth of what the government was doing in my name, I hope many more break it.
Jeremy Cedenio, UK
Completely agree with Neil, UK. Dr Kelly chose his course of action from start to finish. He was brave enough to go to the press, but lacked the same conviction when his anonymity was compromised. The only losers in this debacle are his family, and we should not forget that. Let us allow history to decide on the justness of this war - which I believe it undoubtedly will.
If the BBC cannot prove that Dr Kelly did indeed indicate that the documents were sexed up then they will have to take as much blame for this death as the government. Blair's cronies though have a lot of explaining to do as to why both dossiers were heavily influenced by documentation from the internet, contained out of date data and plain lies and as to why they allowed Dr Kelly's identity to be made public in such a manner. I doubt we'll get these answers from an inquiry as Blair is already trumpeting that only Dr Kelly's death should be the focus of the investigation.
David McInally, Glasgow, Scotland
The key question in the inquiry is why the BBC did not adequately protect their source, a gentle, yet prominent and highly respected weapons expert whose career and ultimately life was on the line the moment he spoke to Andrew Gilligan.
If Dr Kelly did, as the BBC states, accuse the government of "sexing up" the WMD dossier, the BBC knew only too well the consequences for Dr Kelly should his identity become known once they published his story. In these circumstances, the BBC should have warned and helped Dr Kelly to remain silent at all costs. It seems they did not do this.
If however, the BBC exaggerated or misquoted Dr Kelly, then they are also guilty of playing politics and the credibility and reputation of the BBC will be lost forever. In these circumstances, it is only proper and right that both the Director General and Chairman should resign.
Whatever happens, those responsible at the BBC need to examine their consciences very deeply over the death of Dr Kelly.
The blame falls squarely on those in the government who released Dr Kelly's name to the press. It was a heavy-handed attempt to force compliance by the BBC and to punish Dr Kelly. Both of our governments would like to see a consolidation of the press and suppression of dissent. Democracy demands multiple independent news sources, and sources that will question the government rather than act merely as its microphone. If there is no truly independent press who will question the intentions of government the next time false information is used to take us to war. God save PBS, and the BBC.
So, the Beeb has finally been caught out! The Oxbridge types who vastly populate this institution have always used it as a media playground for their own agendas and appear to see themselves larger than an elected government (especially a Labour one) providing some sort of parental political guidance to the masses. As to Dr. Kelly, a rather drastic choice when confronted with the spotlight of public disclosure brought on by his own actions. I'm afraid he was used as a pawn in the hands of the BBC trying to make news instead of just reporting it. As to Mr. Blair, just remember you are leading the Labour Party (not the Republican party), park the Christianity and either start listening to your party membership or get out.
Ivor Parker, New York, USA
I find it is a sad reflection on the Government of this once great country that we actually have to have an inquiry to determine the "truth" as no one involved can be trusted.
Ray Pitt, UK
In my view to say that Bush and Blair have been completely truthful is totally wrong. The BBC-Kelly controversy is a side show. The focus of the inquiry must be the justifications cited for the war. I believe there was no reason to go for war. Iraq was a contained threat. Now what a mess do we find ourselves in because of the decisions made. The Kelly inquiry will do nothing to restore the world's trust in these two leaders. That alone should justify their exit from the world stage.
S Joshi, USA
The small group of decision makers in the UK government appear to have a problem with experts and advisors critical of their decisions. Anonymity provided by the BBC is apparently insufficient for a dissenting view to be expressed without serious consequences. Instead of threatening those with a different views, a confident decision maker should acknowledge diversity in opinion and defend its own decisions.
Wilbert vanderKlaauw, USA
Although I don't wish to cast a negative light on the inquiry regarding this poor gentleman's death, but wasn't the possibility of foul play ruled out rather quickly? I'm sure Dr. Kelly was harassed and pushed beyond the levels of human endurance, but weren't there hints of outside forces harassing him? His death certainly couldn't have come at a worse time for those seeking the full truth concerning Bush's war for weapons of mass oil production.
Barry Welton, United States
Why are so many comments here trying to make it sound like reporter Gilligan did something wrong! Nothing of the kind has been shown. If it is shown later, fine: he should be rebuked then. As an American, I am saddened to see nearly as much mediaphobia there as here. Thank goodness for the rational souls who don't buy the "government can do no wrong" rubbish. And yes, let's do insist on exploring all possibilities of something "more sinister" than suicide! A let's explore any "conspiracy" theories that might possibly turn out to be true!
Blame is now the name of the game. The BBC is clearly in the wrong. If Dr Kelly was the main informant and he denied 80% of the content implied by Mr Gilligan, then it is clear that it is the BBC who has sexed up the news in order to pursue an agenda. Some pundits have blamed the government for its role in investigating the leak but which government in the world would have allowed accusations to flourish unchallenged and not investigated them? Any civil servant worth his salt should have known the limits and dangers of being misquoted when speaking to a journalist.
Patrick Foo, Singapore
This is a tragedy but I'm at a loss to see why the BBC is being vilified. Dr Kelly met Mr Gilligan. Mr Gilligan filed his report and protected his source. It wasn't the BBC who leaked his name or publicly grilled him. Can you imagine the uproar if the BBC had identified him and then he'd killed himself? The point here is that Mr Campbell went for Mr Gilligan in order to deflect attention from the real issues over the war, and Dr Kelly was caught up in the cross-fire. He's the victim of a 'red-herring' battle.
Dr. Kelly was picked as the fall guy by the government in order to continue to deflect attention away from the questions being asked about the whether it used intelligence information to mislead parliament and the public. Since the tragedy has unfolded, the government is now looking, through us, to make the BBC the next scapegoat. All the while, the question of whether we, the public, was mislead, is fading into the background. That the contents of the February dossier were lifted straight from the Internet and plagiarised was only bought to light by journalists doing their job. We should not allow the government to continue with its witch-hunt of the BBC. If heads must roll, it should be the heads of all those in government who allowed Dr. Kelly to be made into a scapegoat.
Yes, the inquiry can only clear the air. This can happen only if the nominated judge is able to muster enough courage to investigate every possible issue including the war on Iraq. He should also call as witness any individuals, howsoever powerful he may be.
Whether Dr Kelly was threatened by the government to be dismissed without his pension benefits needs to be investigated.
Kelly's tragic death need an inquiry, but this is not the main issue. The main issue is that in my view Bush and Blair have lied. All the pressure the government put on Kelly was a fake debate in order to distract the population from the real questions.
I don't think the government or the BBC come out of this at all well. In years gone by, the presenters on Today gave the real impression of impartiality as they oiled the wheels of a conversation between those of differing views and let the listener make up their own mind. These days, every interviewer tends to attack whomever they are interviewing - to the point of being downright rude or obnoxious.
There is a cabal at the heart of the BBC that believes it is above the law and unaccountable to anyone in pursuit of its own agenda. These elements appear to believe that they should determine public policy, not the elected government of the day. We have seen this under the Conservatives and now under Labour. Ironically the government told the truth and it was the BBC who "sexed things up" in its quest to put our elected representatives down.
Whilst I have genuine sympathy for Dr Kelly's family, anyone who has worked under the Official Secrets Act is well aware that if they discuss their work and are subsequently found out, they can be in big trouble. Dr Kelly would be no exception. Gentle he may have been, but I cannot help but be sceptical of the picture with which we are being presented, of the quiet boffin being browbeaten into reluctantly revealing information to the overbearing, forceful journalist. The term "whistleblower" carries at the same time both positive and negative connotations.
Surely it is now time for the 'players' at the BBC to either resign - or come clean. It is also completely unsatisfactory for the BBC to be 'reporting' on the story - when they themselves are clearly part of the story - without displaying the bias that clearly exists!
George Oxford, UK
What's changed over the past five years or so is that the BBC is no longer an impartial reporter of news but is usually to be found these days grinding its political axe somewhat left of centre. One expects newspapers to have a political position but the BBC should not, especially on so-called 'news' programmes. It is because the BBC is so influential and has taken it upon itself to challenge the government over the so called 'sexing up' issue that this has happened.
Dr Kelly was an innocent abroad in all this and was no doubt being used by both sides but the principal blame lies at the BBC's door for taking on the role of the government's opposition under the guise of journalism. Get back to reporting news impartially; I don't pay my license to gratify journalists' political indulgences.
I do not understand why Downing Street would think the BBC would or could release the name of their source. As journalists, their source is confidential. It seems obvious that the greater fault lies with the government than with the BBC. The BBC was only the messenger.
No, but it will keep a non-story going and isn't that the whole point? Is there really any "truth" to get to? If anything was "sexed up" maybe it was the BBC report but what journalism isn't "sexed up" to promote a particular agenda?
The BBC top office should tender its resignations en masse... immediately. Don't single out Gilligan as the fall guy. The BBC is making the same mistake it made with Kelly. The rot starts from the top down. Sack Gilligan's bosses too. Clean slate.
Will the inquiry into Dr Kelly's death examine forensic evidence? Has it been ruled out that his death was not suicide?
Let me first say that I believe the BBC is the finest broadcasting organisation in the world. However it has made a serious error of judgement here. Its obsession with this story led to a man's death. It is the culmination of a trend in BBC news reporting of wanting to BE the story rather than reporting it, of the use of speculation rather than facts and of the 'ego-reporter' rather than the dispassionate journalist. It was quite shameful to leave Gilligan to report on this issue when he had a vested interest in a particular outcome. It's time to radically thin the journalist core of the BBC and to stand back and re-think its whole approach to news reporting
Nick Morgan, UK
Dr Kelly seems to have been an honourable man with integrity to spare. He may have acted unwisely but I believe this was down to his naivety of the mechanisations of the Whitehall spin machine. I doubt whether an inquiry will discover if this embarrassment was too much for Dr Kelly or if there were more sinister forces afoot. If the inquiry is only going to serve as a blame throwing tool, I suggest that it be shelved to save Dr Kelly's family more grief.
So now it has become a tragedy, the MoD and the BBC will try to blame each other, but the vital question will remain unanswered: did the government really think that there were WMD that could be used in 45 minutes? I really think the answer is no, since now we are being told that if WMD are not found, it does not matter, history will judge. This tragedy will be used to avoid the real issue. All I can do is give my respects to Dr Kelly's family and continue asking why did we go to war?
My condolences to his wife and family for their loss.
Doubtless much will be asked of them in the coming weeks and months but I hope against hope that journalists, spin doctors and government officials alike will allow this family privacy to grieve and the opportunity to discover the truth of this apparently sordid affair.
Ian , UK
This disgraceful drama couldn't have been bettered by Franz Kafka's fiction.
My thoughts go to his family. God bless them.
The BBC attitude as well as that of some journalists reflects the past behaviour of some other professional bodies (police, doctors etc). They were trying to protect the, in my view, shameful behaviour of one journalist, who has "sexed up" what Dr Kelly told him in order to get to the government. I was against the war in Iraq and have always respected the BBC. No more. I think the BBC governors and in particular the journalists making accusations hoping the ministers or politicians involved will not defend themselves is not acceptable.
The government is damned if the use intelligence reports damned if they do not and something happened later. This journalist as well as the BBC governing bodies should be ashamed of themselves.
Yes the government might have made mistakes (we are all humans) and I still believe we do not have the right to militarily remove the government of another country - Iraq - but the BBC should accept that on this occasion they made a mistake and sack this journalist.
How this tragedy can be laid at the door of the BBC is beyond me. They raised an issue that had to be aired and then protected their source as any news organisation does.
The BBC was in no position to exert any pressure on Dr Kelly. The only people who could have driven Dr Kelly to take the action he did were his employers, the MoD. The attitude taken by the politicians on this is sickening. Instead of attacking the BBC they should look to themselves and the issues raised by Dr Kelly prior to his untimely death.
Chris Wells, Ireland.
The government should not have put Dr Kelly in such an impossible position. The BBC can be seen as stubborn but was right to stand by their source. Disclosing his identity would have stopped future whistleblowers coming forward for fear of the same treatment. How many more lives have to be destroyed before Blair admits he was wrong to take this country into a war many of us opposed so strongly?
Jim Merrett, UK
It made me sick this morning to hear John Humphrys saying had Tony Blair seen today's newspapers? The BBC and Humphrys try to sound like they had nothing to do with this tragedy. Should Alastair Campbell not be allowed to defend himself?
F. Harrold, UK
A gentleman clearly as talented and intelligent as Dr Kelly would be able to handle a little media attention. This is not reasonable grounds for a right-minded individual to want to commit suicide.
The parliamentary select committee used tactics of intimidation. It is the procedure of these committees that should be looked at in detail. The television camera should at least be switched off.
Peter Mitchell, UK
This shouldn't have happened. The BBC should have apologised. Look at the price of its arrogance.
Until the facts of this matter are established, everything is speculation. However, I will say that the BBC acted to try to protect their source, whereas the politicians went out of their way to hold a witch-hunt. It is the politicians who need to be doing the soul-searching, not the BBC. This is assuming, of course, that, if it is Dr Kelly whose body was found, the cause of death is not something sinister.
David Hazel, UK
It is time this absurd abuse of "not naming sources" was done away with, with proper legal comeback for "protected" press. Stop buying newspapers and save lives.
Let's pause and wait to find out exactly what happened. It is a real tragedy for his family and colleagues. Let them be for a while.
I met David Kelly when I was visiting Iraq in 1993. He was a scientist from the top drawer who embodied all that is great in the concept of service to ones country and the wider world community. Calm, extremely intelligent and with a warm self-deprecating manner.
William St John Barry, Ibiza, Spain
I feel very sad at this news and after all that has been said about protecting whistle blowers by this government they should be ashamed of the way row has been handled.
Rob Morse, England
I have known David as a friend and fellow scientist since 1968, as have our wives. I very am distressed at this news and stunned by what has happened to him. It reflects very badly on the UK Government. Indeed I feel a mounting sense of anger at the way he seems to have been treated. Professional scientific advisors of integrity should not be treated as pawns in political games in this overt way.
Prof Keith Harrap, UK
This is seismic. What a colossal, almost Shakespearean tragedy this is turning out to be. To me it looks like the fallout from a collision of the pride of two national institutions. On the one hand the government in the aftermath of the most scrutinised war in history and on the other the BBC pursuing its journalism to all possible ends. It has to be asked whether the ultimate price will be access and therefore knowledge. It would be ironic if the very democratic process that facilitates such scrutiny was restricted by the aftershock of the effect of the media's unrelenting gaze.
Dr Kelly has been described as "internationally regarded" as an expert in biological weapons defence who normally coped well under pressure. Look at his CV. This is a man who enjoyed responsibility. As any scientist his academic integrity would be his primary concern. We know he handled the peer pressure of lectures and symposia. Are we really to believe that the tragic events of the last 24 hours are a result of a few harsh words at the foreign affairs select committee, put to him by non-academics? That doesn't describe the psyche of any academic I know.
Surely it is inappropriate to be commenting on this prior to formal identification?
This is exactly the root cause of hysterical tabloid journalism, and the BBC especially should know better.
I feel very sad for Dr Kelly's family and friends. That he found appearing in front of the Commons committee an ordeal was all too evident. How did he get there? What is the role of the government? And, indeed, that of Andrew Gilligan? What was he doing talking to the poor scientist if not to tempt him to betray secrets? Nobody comes out of this with any honour.
John H Knights, UK
Gilligan must now say whether he approached David Kelly and persuaded him to break his contract as a civil servant.
Frank Quinn, UK
Perhaps the police should be allowed to their job first and see what they turn up. Saying that, I felt very sorry for the guy after seeing what I can only described as a real "grilling" from MP Andrew McKinlay during his select committee appearance. Mr McKinlay told Dr Kelly that he was up against the "High Court of Parliament". What is this High Court? I've never heard of it - I thought it was just a normal select committee investigation.
I think that asking this question at this time is extremely insensitive. We know none of the circumstances of this tragic death and you are merely asking for conjecture to stir up a dispute between yourselves and the government.
The bringing of Dr Kelly in front of the inquiry was obviously not handled well at all and it is clear that new guidelines are needed. It is clear that this gentle professional was terribly traumatised by what he went through. Lessons must be learnt. One question that ought to be asked is who decided to humiliate Dr Kelly in this way and for what reasons? Were they sound or were they based on simply trying to get the government off the hook? If so they ought to be ashamed.
And the government questions why the media want to keep sources anonymous? It is vital that a free press can question governmental decisions, and anonymous sources are vital to that process. Dr Kelly was thrown to the wolves by the government spin machine, and now looks to have paid the ultimate price.
Brian Cooper, Scotland
There should be an inquiry with the media in the docks - a great mind lost and many will be saddened.
Non-British friends immediately assumed their was a sinister explanation for Dr Kelly's death. I don't believe this, not because there is no motive or nobody capable of arranging it but because I don't believe there is such a culture of fear and intimidation in this country that nobody would care about or dare to tell the truth. Even if there are real 'rogue elements' in the secret services they must realise that such a scandal could never be forgiven or forgotten.
Ruth Harding, UK
Dr Kelly seemed a decent and honourable person. I think he was treated very badly by the MOD and the government, who 'used' him for their own political ends; this affair is scandalous. My sincere condolences go to Dr Kelly's family.
I am so angry that an obviously honest decent man, who has served his country, who had an interest in the truth about the build up to the Iraq war, should have met his end in this way. The judicial inquiry will hopefully reveal the facts, but at the moment it reeks of political manipulation with ministers using Dr Kelly as a pawn, to his detriment. It is a complete disgrace.
My thoughts are with his family and friends. I hope his family will be treated with the privacy that they deserve at this difficult moment.
Asash Asmali, London, UK
I think this incident proves it is about time that the BBC and the government stopped their petty squabbling.
Such a tragedy and all that was needed was the comparison of the first and last draft of the dossier to settle the argument. Maybe this will happen now but not in public, I bet.
Bob Humphrey, UK
How sad that an innocent professional simply trying to do his job to the best of his ability has been caught in the middle of a monumental clash of titans. It is tragic that he has been scapegoated in this way and so unfortunate it had to end as it did.
I think it is about time that members of Select Committees treated those they question with some respect. The grilling of David Kelly was arrogant.
It is sad that a good scientist and civil servant has fallen victim to media and politicians wrangle. I blame BBC entirely for not being open about the identity of the mole. Our heartfelt condolences to his family.
Dr V S Mani,
A tragic end to a needless and long drawn out saga. Time to reflect.
This is an awful thing to happen - and more awful, it will likely be used as a political football by people keen to press a point, either against the MOD, or the BBC.
A proper wide-ranging inquiry is needed, to really find out both about this death, and the wider context in which it occurred.
It's time all these matters were taken out of the hands of politicians and investigated thoroughly by an independent judicial panel.
Nigel Whitfield, UK
Let's hope that there is no rush to concoct conspiracy theories after this sad event. It would extremely disrespectful to Dr. Kelly's memory for people to use his death as fodder for sensationalist and fantastic claims. Let them stick to their science fiction and leave current affairs to the rational.
A tragedy for his family and the UK democracy.
T J Newman,
What sort of pressure was this poor man put under? We need to know.
Ken McCall, UK
This crisis is rapidly getting out of hand. In Dr Kelly's memory we owe it to him for everyone to be honest, lay all the cards on the table and get answers quickly before more lives are put in jeopardy or shattered.
Simon Andrew, UK
What a terrible tragedy! My thoughts are with Dr David Kelly's family and friends. It is a very sad day indeed.
I think now more than ever there needs to be not just a judicial inquiry into his death, but also a full independent inquiry into the reasons for war.
Gavin, Hayle, Cornwall
May God bless him and his family.
An inquiry is needed now.
The government employs many scientific advisors on a wide-range of topics. Most of the time however, the scientists' names are never more than a credit on whatever document is produced.
Dr Kelly probably never dreamed for one moment that he would become the attention of the world's press and the stress must have been immense.
The judicial inquiry must focus not only on the circumstances of his death - and rule out anything sinister - but should also examine the support given to those employed by the government and if appropriate, lay down guidelines for their treatment.