Concerns over the language used by the government as it made the case for war with Iraq were shared by two officials in the Ministry of Defence, a senior figure has revealed.
Dr Kelly's friend Terence Taylor paid tribute to the scientist
Martin Howard, the deputy chief of defence intelligence at the ministry, said the two officials were concerned about the wording - but not the content - used in the government's dossier on Iraq's weapons.
The dossier, published last September, contained the claim that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes.
Mr Howard was giving evidence on the first full day of an inquiry into the death of government weapons expert Dr David Kelly.
The inquiry, chaired by senior judge Lord Hutton, was set up by the government to examine the events leading to Dr Kelly's death last month.
Dr Kelly apparently committed suicide after being named as the source of a BBC report suggesting that intelligence on Iraq's weapons was "transformed" on the orders of Downing Street shortly before its publication.
MoD personnel director Richard Hatfield told the inquiry that Dr Kelly had been cleared to talk to the media but he had "strayed" from government rules when he spoke to BBC defence correspondent Andrew Gilligan.
The inquiry also heard from a Cabinet Office official, chief of the assessment staff Julian Miller, who said the 45-minutes claim was added to the dossier on 10 or 11 September last year. The dossier was published on 24 September.
Mr Miller said the dossier had not been "transformed" on the orders of Alastair Campbell, the government's director of communications.
"I don't think there was a transformation a week before publication, and certainly changes such as the inclusion of the reference to 45 minutes were nothing to do with Number 10," he said.
'No difference of view'
"That came about because the intelligence had been picked up."
Mr Howard earlier told the inquiry that "two individuals expressed concern about the language" in the September dossier.
This particularly related to the 45-minutes claim - understood to be based on the intelligence of a single Iraqi military official.
He said that their concerns, made formally, had related to the use of language - whether the
dossier should say "intelligence suggests", "intelligence indicates" or
"There was not a difference of view about whether the intelligence should be included or not, it was more about how the intelligence should be described," said Mr Howard.
The officials work in the defence intelligence service, Mr Howard said.
The inquiry was shown an email, with the identity of the sender and recipient obscured for security reasons.
Dated 10 September 2002, it quotes Dr Kelly as having expressed doubts over the an assertion that the UN weapon inspectors had been
unable to account for 20 tonnes of biological growth agents in Iraq.
The email says "the existing wording is not wrong but it has a lot of spin in it".
Earlier, Mr Hatfield said it was "effectively part of Dr Kelly's job description" to talk to the press.
But he was not authorised to discuss classified information or "politically controversial issues".
Commenting on Dr Kelly's involvement with Mr Gilligan, Mr Hatfield said: "He appears to have had on his own account two meetings with Mr Gilligan, which took place off MoD premises, with nobody having any knowledge
of them and even on Dr Kelly's account of what took place at that interview, he
clearly had strayed beyond providing technical information."
He added: "My interpretation, I'm afraid, of thinking back over his history
is that he could not have done that without realising he had gone outside the
scope of his discretion."
Mr Hatfield said there had been no security breach in relation to Dr Kelly's meeting with Mr Gilligan.
Richard Hatfield said Dr Kelly had clearance to speak to the media
He said: "My concern relates to the
basic breach of confidence as to how he is supposed to behave towards his
employer and the government, since he works for the government."
Mr Hatfield said he would not have expected Dr Kelly to express an opinion on the accuracy of the document.
Asked about how Dr Kelly's name was made public, the personnel director also told the inquiry that he felt it was inevitable that would happen.
He said the MoD would not "gratuitously" name an individual, but added that the press were likely to work out who the person was.
Mr Hatfield acknowledged that the MoD had agreed to confirm Dr Kelly's name if it was put to them by journalists.
WITNESSES TO THE HUTTON INQUIRY THIS WEEK:
Richard Hatfield - Personnel director, MoD
Julian Miller - Intelligence and security secretariat, Cabinet Office
Martin Howard - Deputy chief of defence intelligence, MoD
Patrick Lamb - Deputy head counter proliferation department, Foreign Office
Andrew Gilligan - BBC
Susan Watts - BBC
Gavin Hewitt - BBC
Richard Sambrook - BBC
Brian Wells - Director of counter proliferation and arms control secretariat, MoD
John Williams - Press chief, Foreign Office
He added: "I am afraid I cannot resist making this comment: I find some difficulty in squaring the press's desire to know the name of Dr Kelly with the press's criticism of us for providing it to them."
Patrick Lamb, deputy head of the counter proliferation department within the Foreign Office, told the inquiry that Dr Kelly had been involved in compiling the historical elements of weapons inspections for the government's September dossier.