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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 September, 2003, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Hutton Inquiry: Key documents
Thousands of documents have been submitted to the Hutton inquiry into the death of government weapons expert Dr David Kelly.

They come from the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Defence, the BBC, the Commons foreign affairs committee and newspapers.

It means private e-mails and memos from the heart of government are now in the public domain, offering a glimpse of official procedures that would normally be kept secret for at least 30 years under document disclosure rules.


Dr Kelly's "dark actors" comment

Before his death, Dr Kelly receieved a number of e-mails from friends and colleagues expressing concern for his predicament.

He typically replied by saying it would hopefully soon pass and he would soon be back in Baghdad to "get on with the real job".

However, in one reply to American journalist Judith Miller, he talked of "many dark actors playing games".

Mr A's "spin merchants" comment

One of the key witnesses at the inquiry was an unnamed civil servant in the Ministry of Defence counter-proliferation and arms department.

"Mr A" had been invited by Dr Kelly to a meeting on 19 September to check for factual errors a draft of the government dossier on Iraq's weapons.

In an e-mail to Dr Kelly six days later - the day after the dossier was published - Mr A, spurred by an article in the Guardian newspaper, refers to his doubts over government claims about Iraq's Al-Qa'qa plant.

Mr A goes on to mention the view that he and Dr Kelly should have been more involved in the dossier "than the spin merchants of this administration", and finishes by expressing the hope it would be "tomorrow's chip wrappers".

MI5 mole hunt

E-mails show security service MI5 joined the hunt for the source of BBC stories about the government dossier on Iraq.

The agency's investigators analysed BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan's reports that Iraq weapons intelligence had been "sexed up" to make a case for war.

MI5 memos
(PDF file 482KB)

Friend's e-mail exchange

A friend of Dr Kelly's, journalist Tom Mangold, guessed he was Andrew Gilligan's source when the MoD announced one of its staff had come forward to admit unauthorised media contacts.

In an e-mail exchange between the two men, Dr Kelly told Mr Mangold it was "not a good time" to contact him.

Kelly/Mangold e-mails
(PDF file 47KB)

Press officer's e-mail

Tony Blair was visibly thrown just once during his evidence on day eleven of the inquiry when he was asked about an e-mail sent from 10 Downing Street press officer Godric Smith, which James Dingemans, counsel to the inquiry, said appeared "to indicate that in the minds of people working in No 10 there was a desire to use Dr Kelly's evidence before the [parliamentary] committees".

Alongside it, the inquiry was shown a Treasury Solicitors' letter explaining the background to the e-mail and saying that, in their view, it added nothing new to evidence already submitted.

Godric Smith e-mail
(PDF file 23KB)

Appeal for more intelligence

On 11 September last year, a fortnight before the government's first dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was published, a "last call" was issued to the intelligence agencies for further information.

The e-mail, from an unidentified member of the joint intelligence committee that had overall responsibility for the dossier, refers to Downing Street liking the inclusion of Iraqi "personalities" and asking for more intelligence on any "item procured" for a nuclear programme.

Gilligan/ Kelly meeting

Records have been shown to the inquiry of the crucial meeting between Andrew Gilligan and David Kelly at the Charing Cross Hotel in central London on 22 May.

The transcript of Mr Gillligan's notes opens with the information on which the entire affair turns, the claim that the dossier was "transformed [in] w[ee]k before pub[lication] to make it sexier". A few lines later is the single word "campbell".

Following the transcript is a bar receipt for the drinks consumed by the two men at the meeting, a photocopy from Mr Gilligan's diary and an internal note about the resulting story on the Today programme.

Question time briefing

In an indication of how the prime minister is prepared for his weekly appearances in the House of Commons, an e-mail from government communications director Alastair Campbell urges Mr Blair to be more "combative" in the row over the Iraq war.

Sent on 3 June, the briefing note urges the prime minister to show he accepts the "genuine concern" felt by critics over the lack of weapons of mass destruction found in post-war Iraq, but refer to the "joy on the faces of the children" he saw there.

Gilligan's e-mail to MP

One surprising document to have emerged during the inquiry was an e-mail sent by Mr Gillligan to an MP on the Foreign Affrairs Committee - to which he had already given evidence - suggesting questions to ask Dr Kelly at his appearance.

The note to David Chidgey, sent via a party researcher, also named Dr Kelly as the source of Newsnight correspondent Susan Watts' report on the government's Iraq dossier.

The committee's chairman, Donald Anderson, told the Hutton inquiry such a briefing from another witness to a committee investigation was "unprecedented".

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Downing Street meetings

In an 'aide memoire' written by John Scarlett - chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee and a former head of MI6 - details are given of a series of discussions involving Mr Blair and senior figures as they debated whether to announce that Dr Kelly had admitted having contact with BBC correspondent Andrew Gilligan.

In his note of a meeting on 8 July, when it was decided a press statement about the official's media contacts will be put out, Mr Scarlett says: "If Dr K name becomes public will government be criticised for putting him under 'wider pressure'? PM [prime minister] repeats that MoD must remain in charge and follow their procedures."

Need to interview Kelly

In a dictated note dated 7 July, John Scarlett talks of how "the finger points strongly" at David Kelly as being Mr Gilligan's source.

He goes on to suggest a "proper security-style interview" with Dr Kelly, adding that it is "rather urgent". Attached to the note is what Mr Scarlett regards as significant passages of Mr Gilligan's evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee around three weeks earlier.

Leak inquiry

A series of e-mails give an idea of how Ministry of Defence officials handled investigations into who Mr Gilligan's source was for his report on the 45-minute claim, and who leaked top secret documents to him on an earlier occasion.

The document leak was the subject of a police enquiry and at one point the head of the MoD's Defence Security unit, John Cochrane, says they will "resist any attempt by the police to interview Kelly or anyone who has interviewed him".

It is not yet known whether Dr Kelly knew he was under investigation for leaking the secret document, nor whether he was told that he was cleared in the investigation, which ended nine days before he was found dead.

Friend's claim

Journalist Tom Mangold, a friend of Dr Kelly who is due to give evidence to the inquiry, told a BBC executive about a lunch with an unnamed person who told him the "spooks" had received intelligence that Saddam Hussein could "authorise" a strike within 45 minutes, rather than launch them.

Tom Mangold e-mail
(PDF file 123KB)

Correspondent's concern

Lawyers for Susan Watts, the Newsnight journalist who also spoke to Dr Kelly, expressed concern that somebody at the BBC had leaked to a newspaper the fact she had a tape recording of a conversation with the scientist.

Susan Watts correspondence
(PDF file 295KB)

False tip

In an e-mail a Times newspaper journalist told Mr Campbell on 8 July he had received a tip about the BBC's source - "foreign office official (female)" - but the press chief tells him it is incorrect.

Hours later, the MoD put out its press statement stating an unnamed official had admitted meeting Andrew Gilligan. The ministry confirmed Dr Kelly as that official to journalists who put his name forward the following day.

All the PDF files from the Hutton Inquiry on the BBC website are covered by Crown Copyright and may not be used without Crown Copyright acknowledgement by third parties.

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