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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 January, 2004, 15:20 GMT
Campbell exonerated by Hutton report
Alastair Campbell
Mr Campbell vigorously denied "sexing up" the dossier
Former Downing Street press chief Alastair Campbell did not "sex-up" the Iraq dossier with a claim he knew to be untrue, Lord Hutton has found.

BBC correspondent Andrew Gilligan's story alleging the government had embellished the dossier by adding the 45-minute claim was "unfounded", Lord Hutton said.

The claim chemical weapons could be deployed within 45 minutes by the Iraqi military was added to later drafts of the September 2002 dossier because it was new intelligence, he found.

But the government did make it clear to the Joint Intelligence Committee its dossier on Iraqi arms should be worded as strongly as possible, the judge said.

Presentational

He added: "Mr Campbell recognised.... that nothing should be stated in the dossier with which the intelligence community were not entirely happy."

Alastair Campbell and Tony Blair
The former press chief is still close to the prime minister
The written changes were suggested, Lord Hutton said, because it was to be presented to Parliament and the public - not just for intelligent officials to see.

In his evidence to the Hutton inquiry, Mr Campbell vigorously denied he had embellished the Iraq dossier, insisting his advice to the intelligence services had just been "presentational".

In his report into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly, Lord Hutton described the term "sexed-up" as a slang expression - capable of being interpreted in two different ways.

"It could mean that the dossier was embellished with items of intelligence known or believed to be false, " Lord Hutton said.

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Or, it could mean that while intelligence contained in the dossier was believed to be true and reliable - it was drafted in such a way as to make the case against Saddam Hussein as strong as possible, he said.

"If the term is used in the latter sense...it could be said the government "sexed up" the dossier," Lord Hutton added.

But this was not the meaning of Mr Gilligan's broadcast, he concluded.

Mr Campbell has always denied he was responsible for the release of Dr Kelly's name into the public domain.

Although Mr Campbell said in evidence to the inquiry that he believed the naming of Dr Kelly would assist the government's position.

Lord Hutton found there was no "dishonourable or underhand or duplicitous strategy by the government to covertly leak Dr Kelly's name to the media".




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