The Hutton Inquiry
452. On this issue there was a conflict between the evidence of Mr Gilligan and the evidence of Mrs Wilson, the chief press officer of the MoD. When he gave evidence on 12 August Mr Gilligan said:
[12 August, page 55, line 22]
Q. So who was the person who had contacted someone to talk from the Government side about this story?
A. Well, the contact with - deciding how the programme should get a Government response is the responsibility of the office team. They said they would speak to the MoD about Ingram. Now I think one of the producers on the team - each item is assigned a producer and the assigned producer spoke to the Ministry of Defence and told them about the story. As I say, I also spoke to the MoD. I spoke to Kate Wilson, who is the chief press officer at the MoD, on my mobile phone about 7.30 and I told her.
Q. And what did you tell her?
A. I cannot remember exactly what I told her because it was a mobile phone and I did not take notes of my conversation.
Q. You have no notes of that conversation?
A. No, but I took her through the story in outline.
Q. And what was the gist of the outline that you gave to her?
A. I cannot remember the exact words I used, to be absolutely honest, because so much has happened since then and it was one of the dozens and dozens of calls I made that day to MoD press officers. I know I took her through the outline of the story. I said that Ingram would be asked about it the next day.
[12 August, page 61, line 22]
A I would not have spent seven and a half minutes discussing another reporter's story. I did not know what the cluster bomb story was; and I would not have done it anyway. You know, it would have been a breach of protocol to talk to a Government press officer about another reporter's story. I think it is correct to say - I did not ask the MoD press office to go away and seek specific responses to these specific points. I simply wanted to forewarn them about what was going to be in the broadcast so that Adam Ingram was equipped to discuss it the following day. But I certainly did not spend the whole time talking about cluster bombs.
Q. Did you put some of the specific allegations that you made in the broadcast? In the early morning broadcast, the 6 o'clock broadcast, you have referred to the Government knowing that the 45 minute claim was wrong before it was put in. Did you put that allegation to the Ministry of Defence press officer?
A. I do not believe I did put those specific words, no. As I say, I cannot remember exactly what I said. I gave them an outline of the story, a summary of the story. But I cannot remember exactly what I said to them.
Q. Did you put the other perhaps major allegation, that Downing Street had ordered the dossier to be sexed up and more facts to be discovered as broadcast; did you put that to the MoD press officer?
A. Yes, again I may not have used those exact words because I cannot remember which words I used. But I put the gist of the story, which was that the dossier had been exaggerated at Downing Street's behest.
453. When she gave evidence on 16 September Mrs Wilson said:
[16 September, page 130, line 10]
Q. Did you have any contact with Mr Gilligan on that day [28th May]?
A. Yes. I spoke to him at about 7.30.
Q. Did you know Mr Gilligan beforehand?
A. Yes. I have known him since I first started doing press office work in 1996.
Q. At 7.30 what was said?
A. He called me to say that they were looking for an interview with Adam Ingram the next morning which was about cluster bombs, which was quite a topical issue. We talked through various issues around the subject of cluster bombs, things like the detonation rates of different weapon systems and things like that. At the end of the conversation I asked him whether there was anything else running on the programme and he said he had something he was working on on WMD and a dodgy dossier. He said that was not a matter for the MoD, so I did not pursue it.
Q. How long do you think this conversation lasted?
A. I have heard since that it was about 7 minutes. That sounds about right.
Q. It accords with your recollection?
Q. How many minutes, estimating, do you think you were talking about the cluster bombs for?
A. At a guess - it was most of the conversation, 6 minutes or so. It was only when I asked him at the end of the conversation whether he was working on anything else, which is standard practice, so that I could brief the Minister if there was anything else he needed to know about, he mentioned the WMD story.
Q. So far as you can recollect, what exactly did he say about the WMD story?
A. He said he had - he was working on a story about WMD and the dodgy dossier, which I took at the time to be the February dossier.
Q. Did you make any notes of that conversation?
A. I did not make any notes of the conversation. The reason I did not is because I was working from a Q and A document on cluster bombs. I tend to make notes if I have something new or different that I need to go away and look into or research. There was not anything new or different in what he was talking about so I did not make any notes.
[16 September, page 215, line 11]
Q. But Mr Gilligan's recollection is that he rings you, not about somebody else's story but about his own story, and that he outlines that he has a source who says the dossier is exaggerated.
A. Well, when we first complained to Richard Sambrook, Richard Sambrook's response said that Andrew Gilligan acknowledged that he had spoken to me about cluster bombs but felt he had added something on the end. I am very clear that he spoke to me about cluster bombs; and I am very clear that he only asked me about the WMD accusation when I asked him if he had anything running. He did not tell me what the accusation was.
Q. He does mention that there is a WMD story?
A. Yes. I have always been clear. He said he was working on something on WMD and the dodgy dossier.
Q. And you do not ask him any questions about it?
A. He said specifically it was not a matter for the MoD, and I agreed with him.
Q. In terms of referring to a dossier, I think you accept that there is a reference to a dossier which you took to be a reference to the February dossier?
Q. There is certainly a reference to a dossier.
A. Hmm, hmm.
Q. And to a dossier being exaggerated?
A. No, just to the dodgy dossier.
LORD HUTTON: You think Mr Gilligan referred to the dodgy dossier? Did he use the word "dodgy"?
A. Yes, I think he did.
MS ROGERS: You think he did?
A. No, I am clear he did.
Q. In terms of the intelligence community being unhappy with the dossier, you think he did not mention that at all?
A. No, I am clear. You have seen the briefing that we did get. If Andrew had mentioned exactly what the allegations were, when we spoke to No.10 we would have told them. We would have had the denial the night before and it would all have been perfectly straightforward. The only reason why I would not have mentioned it to No.10 is because I would not have known about it.
Q. You are, in a sense, working backwards that No.10 was not told, therefore you cannot have been told because if you had been told you would have mentioned it?
A. No, I am working forwards. I am very clear that when I spoke to Andrew Gilligan the conversation was about cluster bombs. At the end of the conversation I asked him, he did not volunteer to me, that he was working on something on WMD and the dodgy dossier but he said it was not a matter for the MoD. So I do not see how that can be classified as checking the story with MoD.
Q. Leaving aside whether it is checking the story with MoD. Speaking about a dossier being exaggerated and referring to the 45 minutes intelligence -
A. He did not mention that.
Q. And he did not mention any unhappiness with the intelligence community, so far as you recall?
A. No. He said WMD and the dodgy dossier. He mentioned it in passing, because that was not what the conversation was all about.
Q. Do you think that it would have been better to have made a note of this conversation at the time?
A. No. I wish I had, but it is not my normal practice. If I had known that it would be claimed that he had checked the story then obviously I wish I had, and I wish I had recorded the conversation, but it was not my normal practice to do that.
454. When he gave evidence again on 17 September Mr Gilligan said:
[17 September, page 13, line 3]
LORD HUTTON: Did you give any details of the story you were going to run?
A. Yes, I gave the gist of the allegations, which is that the dossier had been exaggerated and that there was concern in the Intelligence Services about the inclusion of the 45 minutes claim or the ready in 45 minutes claim, and that people in intelligence did not think it reflected the considered views they were putting forward.
MS ROGERS: It is right that you have no notes of that conversation?
A. No. Indeed, I do not think Ms Wilson has either.
Q. All we know is it lasted 7 minutes 24 seconds.
A. Yes, 7 and a half minutes. I understand Ms Wilson has said I spoke about cluster bombs. I may have spoken briefly about cluster bombs but the cluster bombs story was not my story. I did not know what it was.
Q. Had you spoken to Ms Wilson about cluster bombs on previous occasions?
A. I may have done, certainly. But on this occasion the cluster bombs story was another reporter's story. I did not know what the story was.
Q. It is Ian Watson who is the cluster bombs story.
Q. Had you done any work on Ian Watson's story?
A. No, I do not think I would have spent 7 and a half minutes talking about another reporter's story.
[17 September, page 47, line 19]
MR SUMPTION: Mr Gilligan, you accept that the department concerned was No.10. You accept, as I understand it, that you never gave advance notice to No.10?
Q. Could you look, please, at BBC/5/153. This is a letter from Richard Sambrook to Ben Bradshaw shortly after the interview which was referred to in your evidence-in-chief a few minutes ago. One of the things that Mr Sambrook says when he recites the facts about this advance notice to the Ministry of Defence is: "At 6.30pm Andrew Gilligan spoke to Kate O'Connor [that is the same as Kate Wilson], the MoD press officer, about the cluster bomb interview and added there would be another story running on WMD." Was that an accurate statement?
A. Certainly the cluster bomb issue came up, because that was the reason that Adam Ingram had been booked to talk on the programme the next day. So I began by saying: Adam Ingram, you know, is booked to talk on the cluster bomb subject but I want to put another subject to him as well, and I described the story, as the letter says.
Q. This statement was based on what you told Mr Sambrook, was it not?
A. I am not sure it was, in fact, because the time is wrong here, 6.30. It should have been 7.30. I am not quite sure where this comes from.
Q. Mr Gilligan, there was no written record of this conversation, so the only place where Mr Sambrook could possibly have got it from was you.
A. I think I had spoken to the Controller of Editorial Policy, Stephen Whittle, about this. I think Mr Whittle had conveyed some of it to Mr Sambrook. Sometimes some of these things get a bit lost in the telling.
Q. What is being said here and what I suggest what you had told your superiors within the BBC is that you spoke to Ms Wilson about the cluster bomb interview and added that there would be another story on WMD.
A. Well, I certainly began by speaking about the cluster bomb interview because that was the starting point for Mr Ingram's appearance on the Today Programme the following morning. I really had very little to say about the subject of cluster bombs because I did not know what the story was, it was another reporter's story. As I said earlier, I simply would not discuss another reporter's story with the Ministry of Defence, even if I had been able to. It is a breach of protocol.
LORD HUTTON: Mr Gilligan, can I ask you: what was your purpose, then, for ringing Ms Wilson?
A. It was to give her an outline of the WMD story so that Adam Ingram could be briefed to answer questions on it.
LORD HUTTON: Why did you refer to the cluster bombs story? Was it just, as it were, as an introduction?
LORD HUTTON: Because you knew Adam Ingram was coming on for that purpose.
A. Yes. And I said: you know Adam Ingram is booked to talk about cluster bombs, we want to broaden the bid to talk about the dossier; and I gave her an outline of the story.
LORD HUTTON: Yes.
MR SUMPTION: You also said to your superiors within the BBC, did you not, that what you had said about WMD was that it was not a matter for the MoD but for another Government department. Do you remember that?
A. What I said to the MoD was that I was not seeking a point by point response from the press office, I did not want them to go away and come back with a point by point response to the allegations that were made. I wanted them to notify Mr Ingram so he would be prepared to answer on the subject the following morning; and that was how both I and the programme team, which included the day editor, Miranda Holt, and the overall editor of the programme, Kevin Marsh, had decided how this story would be handled. Similar calls were made by two others on the Today Programme team on that evening, by Martha Findlay and by Chris Howard.
Q. Let me remind you of my question: I did not ask you what you had told the MoD, I asked you what you had told your superiors within the BBC, which was rather different.
A. Well, my answer is the same because that - you know, that is - as I have just said, that is what we had agreed, what my superiors, in other words Miranda Holt and Kevin Marsh, had agreed with me.
Q. Did you say to Mr Sambrook that you said something to the MoD to indicate that the WMD story was not an MoD story? Do you follow me?
A. Well, as I said, I told the press officer, I told Kate Wilson that it was not - I did not seek a point by point response from the MoD press office but I did hope that Adam Ingram would be able to answer questions on it.
Q. Just focus on my question, please, Mr Gilligan. Did you say to Mr Sambrook: I told the MoD that I was working on a WMD story, but it was not a matter for the MoD? Did you say that to him or words to that effect?
A. I cannot remember what I said to him, but what I - if I indeed said that, and I am not sure I did, but what I meant from that was that I had told them that it was not a matter on which I was expecting a point by point response from the MoD but one which I expected them to brief Adam Ingram on for his appearance on the programme the next morning.
455. Neither Mr Gilligan nor Mrs Wilson made notes of the conversation between them and it is not possible to reach a clear conclusion as to what was said. A point which supports Mr Gilligan's account is that it is unlikely that the conversation which lasted for 7 minutes 24 seconds would have been confined only to cluster bombs, which was not Mr Gilligan's story. But, on balance, I think it is more probable than not that Mr Gilligan failed to give Mrs Wilson a clear indication of the allegations which he was going to make that the dossier was exaggerated and that there was concern in the Intelligence Services about the inclusion of the 45 minutes claim, because if he had done so I think that Mrs Wilson would almost certainly have alerted 10 Downing Street to those allegations.
456. The BBC has criticised parts of Mr Campbell's evidence to the FAC on this subject. I have considered in detail in this report, with reference to relevant documents, the part which Mr Campbell played in the preparation of the draft dossiers and therefore I consider that it is unnecessary for me to express an opinion on this criticism.
457. In his evidence Mr Gilligan acknowledged that it had been quite wrong for him to have sent this e-mail suggesting that Dr Kelly was Ms Watts' source and he apologised for doing so:
[17 September, page 14, line 5]
Q. One final matter before I leave you to Mr Sumption. We have heard, since you gave your evidence last time, about an e-mail that you sent on 14th July to some members of the Foreign Affairs Committee Select Committee. I hesitate to have it called up, but it is BBC/12/22. Is there anything you want to say about that e-mail to this Inquiry?
A. Yes. It was quite wrong to send it and I can only apologise. I did not even know for sure that David Kelly was Susan Watts' source. I was under an enormous amount of pressure at the time and I simply was not thinking straight, so I really do want to apologise for that.
458. As stated in paragraph 98 the handwritten notes made by Dr Wells, Dr Kelly and Ms Heather Smith of the meeting on 14 July 2003 contained the words "tricky areas" which appeared to relate to:
(a) What Dr Kelly thought of Government Policy on Iraq;
(b) Whether Dr Kelly thought he was Mr Gilligan's source; and
(c) What disciplinary action was being taken against Dr Kelly.
Mr Hoon had written to Mr Donald Anderson MP, the Chairman of the FAC, on 11 July stating:
I am prepared to agree [to Dr Kelly appearing before the FAC] on the clear understanding that Dr Kelly will be questioned only on those matters which are directly relevant to the evidence that you were given by Andrew Gilligan, and not on the wider issue of Iraqi WMD and the preparation of the Dossier.
On 11 July Mr Hoon had also written to Mrs Ann Taylor MP, the Chairman of the ISC, in somewhat similar terms.
459. Therefore having regard to the boundaries laid down by Mr Hoon (which Mr Anderson agreed to) I consider that it was not impermissible for Mr Howard to tell Dr Kelly that the three areas were "tricky" ones. I consider that Mr Howard also told Dr Kelly that he was free to tell his own story to the FAC and the ISC, but it is apparent from Mr Hoon's letters that the MoD wished to confine Dr Kelly's evidence to the matters referred to by Mr Hoon.
460. Some questions which Mr Andrew Mackinlay MP put to Dr Kelly when he appeared before the FAC gave rise to criticism from some members of the public. When he gave evidence to the Inquiry Mr Mackinlay explained that some of his questioning was prompted by his conclusion that Dr Kelly was not Mr Gilligan's source:
[26 August, page 13, line 17]
MR DINGEMANS: Can I ask you some questions about your other questioning towards the end of the session? FAC/4/24: "Andrew Mackinlay: Since you wrote to your superiors in the way you have done, have you met Geoff Hoon?
"Mr Kelly: No.
"Andrew Mackinlay: Any ministers?
"Mr Kelly: No.
"Mr Pope: Any special advisers?"
You pick up the question: "Any special advisers?
"Dr Kelly: No.
"Andrew Mackinlay: Do you know of any other inquiries which have gone on in the department to seek the source - to clarify in addition to you or instead of you or apart from you? None whatsoever?
Dr Kelly: No."
Perhaps you can read out your next question?
A. That is question?
A. "I reckon you are chaff; you have been thrown up to divert our probing. Have you ever felt like a fall guy? You have been set up, have you not?"
Q. Did you consider that to be a fair question?
A. Yes, I do think it is; and because it is against a backdrop of where the Government had indicated they think that Dr Kelly is the sole source. He then comes along to us. He has convinced me and everybody else at this stage, because we have made a quantum leap, he has convinced me that he is not the source - the Gilligan source, very impressively, very impressively indeed. I could take you through that if you like. I hope you will just take from me by this stage I am, along with others, absolutely convinced that he is not the source. I feel very angry for him and for Parliament against the backdrop of what I just said, you know, about misleading Parliament and so on.
461. The Bill of Rights provides that the affairs of Parliament (which include the proceedings of a Select Committee of the House of Commons, such as the FAC) should not be commented on other than in Parliament. Therefore it would not be proper for me to express an opinion on the way in which Dr Kelly was questioned before the FAC, but it is relevant to record that on 16 October 2003 the Liaison Committee of the House of Commons decided to review the working of Select Committees in the light of this Inquiry.
462. In a conversation with journalists about the start of August 2003 Mr Tom Kelly made a remark to the effect that Dr Kelly was a "Walter Mitty" character. On 5 August Mr Kelly issued a press statement in which he apologised unreservedly to Mrs Kelly and her daughters for this remark. In the course of his evidence to the Inquiry Mr Kelly twice repeated his apology. On 20 August he said:
[20 August, page 204, line 18]
as I said on the day after this article appeared, I unreservedly apologise to the Kelly family that words of mine intrude into their grief at that time. Whatever my motives, it was a mistake that led to that intrusion and I have to take responsibility for that mistake.
On 23 September he said:
[23 September, page 35, line 3]
I fully accept that I should not have used what was a too colourful phrase. I fully accept that in doing so I ran the risk of misunderstanding; and I fully accept that that must have caused the family much distress. It was not what I intended and that is why I gave my unreserved apology at the time, why I repeated it when I appeared at this Inquiry the first time and why I repeat it again today.
463. The remark was a wholly improper one for Mr Kelly to make and he has apologised for it unreservedly. However I consider that it casts no light on the issue whether there was an underhand strategy on the part of the Government to leak Dr Kelly's name covertly.
464. On 8 July 2003 Dr Jones wrote to the DCDI, who was Mr Martin Howard the successor to Mr Anthony Cragg who had retired. In his letter Dr Jones stated:
The Foreign Affairs Committee appears to consider it important that the Foreign Secretary told them, " that there had been no formal complaint from members of the security and intelligence services about the content of the [September 2002] dossier." I believe his evidence was, in fact, that he was not aware of any such complaint, and there is no reason to suppose he should have become aware of mine. Nonetheless, it is now a matter of record, and I feel very uneasy that my minute could be uncovered at some future date, and that I might be judged culpable for not having drawn attention to it.
Mr Howard replied on 23 July and stated:
I am grateful to you for drawing my attention to this. I assume you are referring to the minute you wrote on 19 September to DIST, copy to Tony Cragg, my predecessor. I was aware of this and regard it as an entirely proper expression of your views at the time. The Defence Secretary and the former CDI have also been briefed on your note as part of the preparations for the evidence they gave this week to the Intelligence & Security Committee. There is, therefore, no question of your being found culpable in any way for what was, as I say, a perfectly legitimate action.
These letters are set out in appendix 18.
465. This matter was considered by the ISC and in the conclusions to its report of September 2003 it stated at page 44:
R. The Agencies and the JIC reported that none of their staff had concerns about the 24 September dossier. Two individuals in the DIS wrote to their line managers to register their concerns. We were told that these concerns were discussed within the DIS in the normal way. CDI agreed the text of the draft dossier, which was informed by intelligence that he, but not the two individuals, had seen. We have seen that intelligence and understand the basis on which CDI and JIC took the view they did. The concerns were not brought to the attention of the Defence Secretary or the JIC Chairman. (Paragraph 114)
S. We regard the initial failure by the MoD to disclose that some staff had put their concerns in writing to their line managers as unhelpful and potentially misleading. This is not excused by the genuine belief within the DIS that the concerns had been expressed as part of the normal lively debate that often surrounds draft JIC Assessments within the DIS. We are disturbed that after the first evidence session, which did not cover all the concerns raised by the DIS staff, the Defence Secretary decided against giving instructions for a letter to be written to us outlining the concerns. (Paragraph 104 and 115).
T. It is important that all DIS staff should be made aware of the current procedures for recording formal concerns on draft JIC Assessments. We recommend that if individuals in the intelligence community formally write to their line managers with concerns about JIC Assessments the concerns are brought to the attention of the JIC Chairman. (Paragraph 105 and 116)
As I have set out Dr Jones' evidence at some length and as this matter has been considered by the ISC I consider that it is unnecessary for me to express an opinion on it.