1 strongly, I would have preferred to have had a statement
2 which Dr Kelly had owned himself, as it were. We just
3 had not quite reached that point, my Lord.
4 LORD HUTTON: Thank you very much.
5 Very well, we will rise now and sit again at
6 2 o'clock.
7 (1.15 pm)
8 (The short adjournment)
9 (2.00 pm)
10 MR GODRIC WILLIAM NAYLOR SMITH (called)
11 Examined by MR KNOX
12 LORD HUTTON: Yes Mr Knox.
13 MR KNOX: My Lord, the next witness is Mr Godric Smith.
14 LORD HUTTON: Yes.
15 MR KNOX: Could you tell the Inquiry your name and
17 A. My name is Godric William Naylor Smith. I am currently
18 one of two of the Prime Minister's official spokesmen.
19 Q. Since when have you worked in Downing Street?
20 A. I joined Downing Street in January 1996 and have been
21 working on the press side since that time.
22 Q. Since when have you been one of the two official
24 A. I was appointed to that post after the last election,
25 June 2001. I had been promoted to the post of Deputy
1 Press Secretary in March 1998.
2 Q. What are the principal tasks of your present job?
3 A. I think they can be summarised as follows: firstly,
4 provide media advice to the Prime Minister as
5 appropriate; to liaise with other Government departments
6 on the coordination and presentation of Government
7 policy; and probably most importantly to brief the press
8 during Parliament in formal briefings at 11 o'clock and
10 Q. Am I right in thinking those briefings take place on
11 Monday to Thursday but not on Fridays?
12 A. There are two briefings on Mondays and Thursdays, there
13 is only one briefing on a Friday.
14 Q. So there are no briefings on Tuesday and Wednesday,
15 that right?
16 A. No, they are all week.
17 Q. Every single day?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. These briefings, are they on the record?
20 A. They are on the record.
21 Q. And are tape recordings kept?
22 A. They are recorded by us and a summary of them is put
23 the website.
24 Q. We will no doubt see one of those summaries in due
25 course, but those summaries are effectively not word for
1 word summaries but general summaries of what is said?
2 A. They are an accurate reflection of what is said, yes.
3 Q. Could you discuss what a typical day would involve
4 having to do?
5 A. A typical day would involve reading the papers and
6 acquainted with media broadcasts before a meeting of
7 Whitehall communications professionals at 8.30 at
8 Downing Street. That is a meeting which is chaired by
9 Alastair Campbell. If I am doing the briefing that day,
10 I would then obviously be preparing myself for that.
11 That may involve speaking to different departments,
12 speaking to the Prime Minister, speaking to Government
13 Ministers as appropriate. After that, obviously
14 monitoring the news, acquainting myself with any further
15 developments before repeating the process at 3.45.
16 Obviously, after that, dealing with calls as
18 Q. If false reports appear in the newspapers or on
19 television, is it part of your job to put those reports
21 A. I think that would depend. It is obviously an area
22 which is very subjective and a judgment is taken as to
23 whether something is of such importance that we need to
24 raise it formally, if you like, at the morning briefing
25 or the afternoon briefing.
1 Q. Suppose it is of importance, would it be generally be
2 your job to put things right at one of the briefings?
3 A. Not necessarily. I think a judgment is always taken
4 to whether something is corrected by the department
5 concerned, either by just a phone call to the
6 journalist, whether a statement is issued by the
7 department, whether a statement is issued by the
8 Minister or whether something is said by Downing Street.
9 Q. And who gives you the information on which you base
11 A. It is a combination of the Government departments
12 concerned and, given I am reflecting the
13 Prime Minister's views as well, in fact that is probably
14 the primary purpose of the briefing, obviously the
15 Prime Minister as appropriate.
16 Q. In other words you talk directly to the Prime Minister?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Would that be every day?
19 A. I think if I am doing the briefing then I would expect
20 to see him at some point during the day, yes.
21 Q. I would like to ask you one or two questions about
22 involvement in the preparation of the September dossier.
23 A. Certainly.
24 Q. We know that in August 2002 the Iraq issue begins to
25 bubble up, certainly in the United States, and on
1 3rd September the Prime Minister announced that the
2 Government was going to make public its latest
3 intelligence on the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.
4 That is on 3rd September.
5 We have had produced to us a first draft dossier
6 which has a date, 5th September, 2002, written on it.
7 There had been previous dossiers in June of 2002 but
8 there is certainly a new one that comes forward on
9 5th September 2002. We have seen an e-mail, which
10 I will not take you to unless you want to look at it,
11 I think from Jonathan Powell which suggests there is
12 going to have to be a substantial rewrite of the
13 existing draft before a dossier was put into public
15 Were you, at any point, told that you were going to
16 play a part in the drafting of the new dossier?
17 A. I think I would describe my role in the dossier as
18 very limited. This was clearly an issue which was being
19 overseen on the presentation side at Downing Street by
20 Alastair Campbell. I was not asked to play a formal
21 role and did not see a need to do so, in those
23 Q. You say you were not asked to play a formal role. Were
24 you at any stage asked to assist in the drafting of the
1 A. I was not asked to formally to assist, no. I mean,
2 I have no recollection of the e-mail which was shown to
3 me last week, which reflects some comments that I made.
4 I think I was obviously, at the time, making some
5 observations about the tone of the document.
6 Q. Well, can we put it this way: were you at any stage
7 shown any drafts of the dossier?
8 A. I was not routinely copied into drafts, no.
9 Q. That was not my question, with respect. Were you at
10 stage shown any drafts of the dossier?
11 A. I must have seen the first draft of the dossier in
12 much as I refer to it in this e-mail. I have to say my
13 recollection of my part in the dossier is very sketchy,
14 I think in large part because it was very limited.
15 Q. Were you ever told by anyone what the purpose of
16 producing this new dossier was?
17 A. Yes. I think I can perhaps best explain it in this
18 I had heard the Prime Minister express his concerns
19 about the issue of weapons of mass destruction for many
20 years. Those concerns had grown after the tragic events
21 of 9.11. He had obviously expressed the view that those
22 concerns or the increase in those concerns were based
23 the intelligence assessments that were passing his desk
24 and those that he was reading, and he wanted to share
25 those with the British public.
1 Q. Could I ask you, please, to look at CAB/6/2? This is
2 a memo from Alastair Campbell. It looks as if it is
3 written to John Scarlett. One of the recipients to whom
4 it is copied is PMOS. That would be you and Mr Kelly
6 A. It would.
7 Q. Do you remember being copied in with this document?
8 A. I do.
9 Q. If you just go over the page to page 3, you will see
10 fourth paragraph down:
11 "Our public line is that the dossier will set out
12 the facts which make HMG judge Iraq/WMD to represent
13 a real threat. It will be detailed and comprehensive.
14 As to why we can't publish it now, it has to be cleared
15 by all those who have helped to build the case. This
16 involves important judgments, and we will take our
18 I want to pause on the phrase "who have helped to
19 build the case". Was that really what was involved
20 this? I do not mean in any sinister way but in
21 a general way was this dossier really building the case
22 for going to war?
23 A. I think the dossier was explaining the case, if you
24 like, as -- or phrase it in a different way, building
25 the case, if you like, as to why the Prime Minister felt
1 that the threat from Saddam Hussein was serious and why
2 it had to be addressed. In respect of making the case
3 for war, I would say that the Prime Minister did that
4 his statement to the House in March.
5 Q. Can I ask you, please, to look at CAB/11/20? This is
6 e-mail from Mr Bassett to Mr Campbell. I think you are
7 also one of the recipients.
8 A. Hmm, hmm.
9 Q. And it refers to "a Cabinet Office meeting at
2 pm today
10 with John Williams on the dossier". Were you one
11 people who attended that meeting or not?
12 A. Not to my recollection, no. I cannot recollect going
13 any meetings at the Cabinet Office in respect of the
15 Q. Then, if you go to CAB/11/21, you will see a memo from
16 Daniel Pruce to Mark Matthews. Again, you are copied in
17 on this.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Do you remember this e-mail at all?
20 A. I do not remember the e-mail specifically. I mean,
21 clearly there were observations being made by members
22 the communications team on some of the issues which
23 related to presentation.
24 Q. And you are one of them?
25 A. I am certainly somebody who expressed a view, yes.
1 Q. And it looks as if what is being considered is John's
2 draft of 9th September, do you see that?
3 A. That is right.
4 Q. Do you recall John's draft of 9th September?
5 A. I recall seeing a draft, yes, which I now know was
6 John Scarlett's first draft, yes.
7 Q. Just to pick up the point I was making a moment ago
8 about building a case for going to war --
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. -- could you just drop down to the paragraph beginning
11 "On presentation". The presentation side as
12 I understand it was really the side if not you,
13 certainly those who were working with you were going to
14 be looking at?
15 A. Yes, absolutely.
16 Q. Not the intelligence side but the presentation side?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Look at the second paragraph:
19 "Much of the evidence we have is largely
20 circumstantial so we need to convey to our readers that
21 the cumulation of these facts demonstrates an intent on
22 Saddam's part -- the more they can be led to this
23 conclusion themselves rather than have to accept
24 judgments from us, the better."
25 Now, that certainly suggests that Mr Pruce regarded
1 it as his job to try to get the public to come to their
2 own conclusions, in very much the way the advocate tries
3 to get the judge to come to the judge's own conclusions.
4 Is there not some force in the suggestion that the way
5 Mr Pruce appears to be looking at this job is to build
6 a case, a bit like building a prosecution case?
7 A. I think what we were dealing with here was a unique
8 situation, where, for the first time, we were putting
9 into the public domain intelligence of a magnitude which
10 I do not think had been done before. In doing that
11 necessarily there was going to have to be an interface
12 between intelligence professionals and those involved
14 I have to say, in respect of those views, they were
15 not views that I shared. My view was that we were
16 setting out to the public why the Prime Minister
17 believed Saddam Hussein was a threat that had to be
18 addressed, and the intelligence base upon which that
19 judgment was being made by the Prime Minister; and it
20 seemed to me, so far as I can recall, obviously, from
21 the e-mail which I have seen in the last few days, that
22 the drier the better.
23 Q. You will see the last paragraph on this same page:
24 "We also need to think, once we have John's further
25 draft tomorrow, how we prepare the ground for the launch
1 of the text to get expectations in the right place."
2 Was it not one of your jobs as the Prime Minister's
3 official spokesmen to ensure that was going to be the
4 case, to get expectations in the right place?
5 A. Having seen a subsequent e-mail that my colleague,
6 Mr Pruce, sent, he refers to the need to get the media
7 expectation in the right place as to for example the
8 length of the document. I think the fact that that
9 comes under "mechanics" probably explains that
10 Q. Can I ask you to look at page 23 in CAB 11?
11 At the foot of the page, there is an e-mail of
12 11th September, sent on 11th September at 10.04, do you
13 have that?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Sent to Alastair Campbell. It is from Daniel Pruce
16 again. You are copied in again.
17 A. Hmm, hmm.
18 Q. Now what is under discussion is the draft dossier,
19 J Scarlett version of 10th September.
20 A. Hmm, hmm.
21 Q. Presumably you would have been provided with a copy
22 that draft?
23 A. To be absolutely honest with you I do not know which
24 draft I was routinely being copied in on. I was not
25 being routinely copied in on anything. Therefore I was
1 probably being presented with a dossier and being asked
2 for views.
3 Q. Could I ask you to go over the page, to page 24?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Under the heading "Feel", do you have this:
6 "Our aim should also be to convey the impression
7 that things have not been static in Iraq but that over
8 the past decade he has been aggressively and
9 relentlessly pursuing WMD while brutally repressing his
10 own people. Again the dossier gets close to this -- but
11 I think some drafting changes could bring this out
13 Presumably you read this e-mail -- is that a yes,
14 just for the record?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did you think Mr Pruce was somehow going well beyond
17 remit in offering these comments?
18 A. Well, as far as I was concerned the person who was
19 leading on the presentation of the dossier as regards
20 Downing Street was Alastair Campbell.
21 Q. But he was inviting comments from others.
22 A. I do not know if he was inviting comments but I think
23 people were giving comments.
24 Q. They were being given drafts.
25 A. It is not uncommon for drafts of documents to be
2 Q. Mr Smith, I must be frank with you, people had been
3 given drafts and then they are commenting on the drafts.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. The reason they are given the drafts surely is so they
6 can comment on them.
7 A. I do not dispute that.
8 Q. Then, if you drop down to the final paragraph on this
9 page under the heading "Weapons":
10 "Do you want to meet and discuss today? Separately
11 I'm in touch with the FCO on production and
12 distribution. We also need to develop a handling plan
13 to get expectations in the right place before we
15 A. Again, I would come back to the point I made. I mean,
16 in terms of how we briefed in advance on this document,
17 I do not think we were doing anything other than saying
18 what the Prime Minister would do, namely set out to the
19 public -- given that this was an issue which was coming
20 under a great deal of scrutiny in which there was a lot
21 of public interest, that he would be setting out to the
22 public the intelligence that underpinned his very firmly
23 held belief that Saddam Hussein posed a threat.
24 Q. Can I ask you, please, to go to CAB/11/25 and this
25 go to the top of the page, because you will see an
1 e-mail from Philip Bassett which is sent shortly after
2 the e-mail we just looked at, 11th September, 10.34, to
3 Daniel Pruce. You are copied in. "Re draft dossier".
4 You will see the concern expressed by Mr Bassett:
5 "Very long way to go, I think. Think we're in a lot
6 of trouble with this as it stands now."
7 Do you recall this at all?
8 A. I do not recall this, no.
9 Q. Do you not recall the general thinking which this
10 appears to suggest was present on 11th September was
11 there was an awful lot of work that had to be done on
12 this dossier before it could be released to the public?
13 A. I think there is a difference between what I would
14 describe as legitimate work that needs to be done on the
15 presentational side, in terms of the dossier, and work
16 on the intelligence side, if you like.
17 Q. Is not the fundamental problem that is being referred
18 here that the dossier at the moment is nowhere near
19 convincing enough, that is why "we are in a lot of
21 A. My view, throughout this, was that the Prime Minister
22 saw intelligence assessments, we were carrying out work,
23 i.e. the Downing Street communications directorate was
24 involved in a piece of work that he believed was
25 important and that he wanted to set out his -- or why
1 had such firmly held beliefs.
2 Q. Mr Smith, I asked you about why he thought or why anyone
3 would have thought you were in trouble on
4 11th September. What is the answer to that?
5 A. Well, it was not a view I shared.
6 Q. So you did not think you were in trouble on
7 11th September?
8 A. My view was clearly this was an issue where people
9 have very strongly held views, I think that went without
10 saying, but that given we were setting out to the public
11 the intelligence which underpinned the Prime Minister's
12 belief, that was what was guiding us.
13 Q. Could I ask you to go to CAB/11/27? I am just trying
14 follow these e-mails through chronologically because
15 there is one here from Tom Kelly to Alastair Campbell,
16 again which you are copied in on, at 11.50:
17 "This does have some new elements to play with, but
18 there is one central weakness -- we do not differentiate
19 enough between capacity and intent. We know that he is
20 a bad man and has done bad things in the past. We know
21 he is trying to get WMD -- and this shows those attempts
22 are intensifying. But can we show why we think he
23 intends to use them aggressively, rather than in
24 self-defence. We need that to counter the argument that
25 Saddam is bad, but not mad."
1 Again, does this not rather show that an argument is
2 being developed and what your remit is is to develop
3 this argument in drafting this dossier?
4 A. I think what that is doing is asking a question. It
5 not giving an answer. And I think what I need to
6 stress, because I think it is important in this respect,
7 is that everybody understood that nothing should happen
8 to this document that John Scarlett, the head of the
9 JIC, was not entirely happy with.
10 Q. I am not for a moment suggesting otherwise. What I
11 trying to work out is what is the purpose of this
12 document. Certainly you were being copied in on all
13 these e-mails, which seemed to give a fairly clear
14 indication of what its purpose is.
15 Can I ask you to look at the e-mail of the top of
16 the page, the reply from Matthew Rycroft you are copied
17 in on. He is replying to Mr Kelly's e-mail:
18 "Yes, part of the answer to 'why now?' is that the
19 threat will only get worse if we don't act now -- the
20 threat that Saddam will use WMD, but also the threat
21 that Iraq's WMD will somehow get into the hands of
22 terrorists ..."
23 So there is one answer or attempted answer to the
24 problem: how do we make out or how do we establish there
25 is a current threat rather than a future threat? Would
1 it be fair to say that was one of the points that had to
2 be addressed in this dossier: how to establish he is
3 a current threat rather than a future threat?
4 A. I do not think anybody at any point was trying to second
5 guess the intelligence judgments that underpinned this
6 dossier, not in any way, shape or form. It is certainly
7 the case that both those arguments reflected in
8 Matthew Rycroft's e-mails were points that the
9 Prime Minister made forcefully at the time of
10 publication, firstly that the policy of sanctions was
11 not working and that the more money that Saddam Hussein
12 acquired illegally, the more capacity he had to use that
13 money on illegal weapons.
14 Q. Was it not one of the purposes of the dossier to
15 establish that the threat had increased in recent months
16 or certainly in the past year or so; is that right?
17 A. That was the Prime Minister's view.
18 Q. And therefore the purpose of the dossier was to get
19 view across?
20 A. Well, in as much as the Prime Minister was setting
21 to the country why he felt that this was an issue which
22 had to be addressed, then, yes.
23 Q. Can I ask you, please, to go back to page 23 and just
24 following through the sequence chronologically, there
25 an e-mail about two-thirds of the way down the page from
1 you --
2 A. Hmm, hmm.
3 Q. -- about the draft dossier. You say:
4 "I think there is material here we can work with
5 is it a bit of a muddle and needs a lot more clarity in
6 the guts of it in terms of what is new/old."
7 A. Hmm, hmm.
8 Q. Pausing there for a moment, is that what you saw to
9 a main concern, you had to establish what the new
10 intelligence or the new information was?
11 A. I think the e-mail is really written from the
12 perspective of somebody looking at a dossier whose
13 knowledge of the subject is pretty limited, which would
14 certainly be where I was coming from at the time, and
15 making some observations in respect of presentation, and
16 saying that it is not unreasonable for somebody reading
17 this dossier for the first time to say: well, what do
18 know already? And what is new? I think that is an
19 entirely reasonable thing to say.
20 Q. In other words, if you look at your next sentence:
21 "In each area we need to distinguish between the
22 two...", that must be the new and the old?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Surely the reason you needed to distinguish between
25 new and the old was to establish events had relatively
1 recently taken place which now made it necessary to
2 consider taking more aggressive action?
3 A. Nobody was talking about taking any action at this
4 point. We were seeking to get this resolved through the
5 United Nations. But certainly, I mean the
6 Prime Minister wanted to put before the public evidence
7 which he had seen in recent months which indicated to
8 him that this was a serious threat that had to be dealt
10 Q. Then again on page 23, you will see the e-mail from
11 Philip Bassett, this time at 15.27. He says:
12 "Agree with Godric."
13 Then he makes some more comments. The final one is:
14 "It needs to end. At the moment it just stops.
15 A conclusion, saying something -- making a case which
16 compelling. At the moment, it isn't."
17 A. That was obviously Phil's judgment. The point I would
18 make is the person whose judgment was important here and
19 guided us at all times was the Prime Minister.
20 Q. I understand that. What I am trying to work out is
21 it all of you -- I do not mean Alastair Campbell
22 necessarily, but there is obviously yourself, Daniel
23 Pruce, Mr Kelly, Matthew Rycroft, Philip Bassett, you
24 are all involved in this loop of e-mails, are you not?
25 A. Hmm, hmm.
1 Q. And the subject under consideration is the draft
2 dossier, and really your concern, at the time, which is
3 reflected not necessarily individually but the general
4 concern at the time is: well, this is not really strong
5 enough. That is right, is it not?
6 A. Well, I would argue that from the e-mail I sent I am
7 making the observation that we need, if anything, to
8 tone down the language and let the intelligence speak
9 for itself.
10 Q. Can I ask you, please, to go to CAB/11/35? This is
11 e-mail from you to Alastair Campbell.
12 A. Hmm, hmm.
13 Q. "Julian Miller rang me and said that he would
14 come and show someone the latest thinking on the dossier
15 tomorrow without getting any circulating copies just so
16 as they are on the right track."
17 I wanted to know, is there any reason why Mr Miller
18 should have been calling you if you do not have much to
19 do with the dossier?
20 A. I do not recall the call. It may be the case that given
21 Julian is deputy to John Scarlett on the JIC and it
22 could be construed that Alastair's deputies are Tom and
23 myself, he thought it appropriate to speak to me rather
24 than speaking directly to Alastair. I think what is
25 clear from the e-mail is firstly I was not in the next
1 day of the meeting in any event, and that I thought it
2 best that Alastair, given that he was the person
3 involved from the Downing Street end in terms of the
4 preparation of the dossier, was the person who had the
5 meeting. I did not feel qualified to have it.
6 Q. Would it be fair to say there was an awful lot of work
7 that now had to be done, let us say from 11th September
8 onwards, in relation to the dossier -- I just mean
9 generally, an awful lot of work had to be done involving
10 a lot of people?
11 A. I think when you are presenting a document like this
12 Parliament, in the name of the Prime Minister,
13 a document which contains intelligence in a way which
14 has never happened before, then clearly an awful lot of
15 work is going to have to be done in terms of giving
16 thought as to how best you do that, what the proprieties
17 are that should apply. So I would not disagree with
18 that. I have to say to the best of my recollection
19 I was not involved with that. I am not somebody who
20 feels that I have to, if you like, intervene unless I
22 Q. Perhaps I can put it another way: was there not quite
23 a lot of pressure to get this dossier ready because it
24 was certainly hoped there could be an announcement in
25 relation to it by the end of September?
1 A. It was the Prime Minister who was deciding, if you like,
2 when he wanted to make it public; and so in terms of the
3 Prime Minister, if you like, setting down a time line,
4 we worked to that.
5 Q. Could I ask you to look at BBC/4/69? Under the heading
6 "Iraq -- Dossier" you will see this -- this
is a lobby
7 briefing of 16th September 2002.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Do you know if this was one of your lobby briefings
10 one of Mr Kelly's?
11 A. I am afraid I do not off the top of my head.
12 Q. Just so the sequence of events can be understood, look
13 under the heading "Iraq -- Dossier", you will
14 answer is given. As I understand it, this is one of the
15 summaries typed up from your tapes?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. "Asked whether the timing of the publication of
18 dossier, on the very morning of that Parliament resumed,
19 was deliberate in order to do everything on one day, or
20 whether it was because the dossier would not be ready
21 before then, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman
22 said that the publication had been moved onto a faster
23 track than originally intended and that had caused some
24 difficulties. The intention was, as Jack Straw had said
25 yesterday, to give people as good an insight as possible
1 without compromising intelligence."
2 Then you continue with other details.
3 A. Hmm, hmm.
4 Q. The next paragraph down you say:
5 "Asked for details of the publication process, the
6 PMOS said it would be published at 8 am on
7 Tuesday September 24th. Asked if there would be a news
8 conference, or if it would be given to newspapers the
9 night before, the PMOS said plans had yet to be
11 So that would be a fair reflection of how events
12 were turning out at the time?
13 A. I do not disagree with that.
14 Q. You see the reason I am asking this is one of the things
15 that appears to have been said by Dr Kelly, certainly
16 Ms Watts and Mr Gilligan, is that there was considerable
17 pressure in the -- he said the last week but it looks
18 more like the last two weeks or so before the
19 publication of the dossier, a considerable pressure to
20 get it done and a lot of work being done with it.
21 A. Well, I think when you have a date for publication
22 matter what the publication, there is going to be a lot
23 of work done before that date. I would just repeat what
24 I have said earlier, that I think this was a document
25 which was, in many ways, unique. So it is probably the
1 case that the intensity of that work was greater than it
2 might otherwise have been for say just an ordinary green
4 Q. Can I ask you, please, to go to CAB/11/41? This is
5 e-mail from Alison Blackshaw. Can you explain, who is
6 Alison Blackshaw?
7 A. She is Alastair Campbell's personal assistant.
8 Q. She is sending it to you and Mr Kelly:
9 "John Scarlett is having a meeting at 6.30 pm to
10 work up a strategy on Iraq. AC has gone home, and
11 I wonder whether one of you two could attend instead."
12 Did you attend or not?
13 A. To the best of my recollection I think Tom attended,
15 Q. Then, at page 43, I think in the same bundle,
16 Mr Kelly -- we do not know quite what this is. There is
17 a note from Tom Kelly to Mr Campbell, which you are
18 copied in on; and there are various mechanical matters
19 that appear to be dealt with, do you see that?
20 A. I do.
21 Q. One of the things that needs to be dealt with, you
22 see in the last paragraph which has not been retracted
23 on page 43, is:
24 "We also need to finalise the Q and A material, and
25 we should have drafts from both the CIC and others by
1 this evening."
2 The Q and A material is something that would be
3 provided to you as one of the official spokesmen, and
4 the purpose of that is that you would have this in front
5 of you in order to be able to field questions from the
6 press at the lobby briefings, is that right?
7 A. I would sometimes use it, other times I would not.
8 yes, by and large it is to assist communications
9 professionals who are receiving media enquiries. It is
10 to enable them to answer them as best they can.
11 Q. Can you go, please, to page 52? This is an e-mail from
12 Mr Pruce. You will see the final paragraph of that,
13 written to Mr Campbell. I am going to ask you
14 a question arising out of it.
15 A. I am not sure I am seeing the same thing you are
16 referring to.
17 Q. Sorry, 52. This is from Daniel Pruce to you and
18 Mr Kelly. Do you just want to read this e-mail for
19 a moment? (Pause).
20 You will see the penultimate paragraph:
21 "Julian Miller will take in a further round of
22 comments this afternoon and send over a final draft to
23 us this evening."
24 Did you see a final draft that evening? Do you
25 remember looking at it?
1 A. As I say, my recollection of this period in relation
2 the dossier is pretty sketchy and I think that indicates
3 I was not taking a draft by draft interest in this.
4 I cannot recall, to be honest.
5 Q. We know that you had to have a Q and A prepared to
6 assist you in fielding questions. I think you can see
7 that at CAB/11/92. Rather, you can see the beginnings
8 of it. There might be some other script. This is an
9 e-mail from Mr Kelly to you:
10 "File: dossier draft doc. This is a rough draft of
11 what could be a core script for Tuesday -- whether we
12 up on Today, or do a briefing. I think the key point in
13 our favour is the systematic nature of what Saddam is
14 to. The weakness, obviously, is our inability to say he
15 could pull the nuclear trigger any time soon. But the
16 basic message of it by then it would be too late does
17 deal with that I think."
18 Do you recall seeing that?
19 A. I have subsequently been shown it, I do not recall
20 from the time, no.
21 Q. Then, over the page at 93, you might like to reconsider
22 your last answer. I am not sure if it is necessarily
23 about the same thing. You will see:
24 "Subject: Re Tuesday core script.
25 "V good script -- particularly page 2 on nukes.
1 I think we might be best letting TB be the first
2 Ministerial voice on Tuesday am when he stands up in the
3 House and getting, say, Ann Taylor, on to talk the
4 credibility of the intelligence if she would be up for
5 that. Not convinced now we have TB foreword to the
6 dossier we need to do an early morning brief but can
8 "We need also to think through whether we brief post
9 Cabinet", and so forth.
10 Q. That does suggest, does it not, first of all you
11 obviously did look at this core script and you thought
12 it was a jolly good script; is that right? Yes, I take
14 A. Yes. I think the point I should make here is what we
15 are doing essentially here as communications
16 professionals at this point is having a discussion about
17 the handling of the document. This is the conversation
18 we would have about the handling of all sorts of
19 documents, but obviously with one as important as this,
20 it was even more important that we got it right.
21 When I say I do not recollect, I mean that in a way
22 that is not disowning any of these comments at all. It
23 is just simply the fact that this sort of dialogue
24 happens all the time. I cannot simply recollect making
25 a particular view at that point.
1 Q. Does this not suggest that you as the official
2 spokesman, you are quite closely concerned with the
3 presentation of the dossier, if not the writing of the
4 dossier, at least the presentation of the dossier when
5 it is finally produced to the public; is that not right?
6 A. Of course. I mean, I think there is bound, as I think
7 I have said already, to be, of a document of this sort,
8 an interface between the intelligence professionals and
9 the presentation professionals. The key point is
10 whether any of the judgments and analyses of the
11 communications professionals in any way, shape or form
12 undermine the intelligence judgments which are contained
13 in the document. I do not believe for a minute that
15 I think what I am talking about here is basically
16 saying that we should let the Prime Minister be the
17 first person to speak on this, which -- we should not
18 have a minister on the radio in the morning basically
19 previewing it.
20 Q. If you go over the page, to page 94, this is from
21 Mr Kelly to you:
22 "I am now converted to this strategy too -- the
23 Blackpool route."
24 Then he goes on to say what he thinks the best way
25 of dealing with it is.
1 Is not the reality that the dossier was being
2 prepared really to build the case or prepare the best
3 case the Government could prepare and you, as one of the
4 official spokesmen, were trying to work out the strategy
5 to assist in the presentation of the best case once the
6 dossier was put before the public?
7 A. Well, I would not agree in terms of setting out the
8 case. What we were seeking to do was to set out the
9 intelligence judgments that underpinned the
10 Prime Minister's belief and very strongly held
11 conviction that Saddam Hussein was a serious threat who
12 had to be dealt with. Now, clearly, it is perfectly
13 proper, I think, for communications professionals to
14 advise on issues in relation to tone and structure and
15 the handling, but what we must not do, and I do not
16 believe anybody did do, is in any way, shape or form
17 compromise the intelligence judgments in that document.
18 Q. Could I ask you, please, to go to page 115? This is
19 e-mail from Mr Pruce. You are one of the people to whom
20 it is sent. Do you see that?
21 A. I do.
22 Q. "Here is a first draft of the Q and A ..."
23 Then, over the page at page 116, you will see what
24 I understand to be the Q and A, is that right?
25 A. That is right.
1 Q. If you go to page 117, as I understand the way that
2 works, you take the last question on 117. The question
4 "What is new in this report?"
5 Do you see that?
6 A. Hmm, hmm.
7 Q. "Material based on secret intelligence which has
8 been released before. The Executive Summary spells out
9 (paras 4 and 5) the most important areas which go beyond
10 previously published material."
11 Presumably, that therefore was the instruction you
12 were being given. Presumably this is information
13 provided by others and not worked out by yourself, is
14 that the case?
15 A. That is the case. I think the question anybody, to
16 honest, looking at this document would have asked first
17 off is: what is new in here? What is it that makes the
18 Prime Minister so concerned about the threat that
19 Saddam Hussein poses? What is the new intelligence, if
20 you like, that underpins that? I think it was
21 important. I think one of my earlier e-mails brought
22 that, that people could differentiate between what was
23 old and what was new.
24 Q. Could I ask you, please, to go to page 119. You may
25 may not be able to help with this, but look at the last
1 entry on page 119:
2 "Could Iraq mount a CBW attack on the UK Mainland?"
3 You will recall a moment ago I showed you an e-mail
4 from Jonathan Powell which said there needed to be
5 a penultimate paragraph, he did not quite say where,
6 making it clear there was not a current and immediate
7 threat. As far as I can see from the dossier, no such
8 paragraph was put in. I do note in fairness this is one
9 of the items you seemed to be asked to cover as part of
10 the Q and A. Do you recall the genesis of this last
11 paragraph on page 119:
12 "Could Iraq mount a CBW attack on the UK Mainland"?
13 A. I cannot say I recall reading this Q and A with the
14 degree of thoroughness perhaps you are implying I ought
15 to have done. What I can recall in respect of this
16 particular point is on the flight to America, when the
17 Prime Minister met President Bush at Camp David, he made
18 the point very clearly that no-one has said that
19 Saddam Hussein posed a direct threat to the
20 United Kingdom but his belief was that we would not be
21 able to avoid being drawn into a conflict in the region.
22 Q. We know that on 24th September the dossier was published
23 and the Prime Minister gave a speech in the House of
24 Commons saying, I can quote from an extract, that:
25 "Saddam has existing and active military plans for
1 use of chemical and biological weapons which could be
2 activated within 45 minutes".
3 We know also there was substantial press activity.
4 Certainly the Evening Standard, the Sun and the Daily
5 Star all had big headlines saying, "Either at 45
6 minutes", or I think in the Sun's case something
7 "He's got them, let's get him".
8 A. We all like to express ourselves in different ways.
9 Q. To what extent would newspapers, when they talk to
10 at these briefings, either informally or formally, to
11 what extent would you give them a steer as to the type
12 of thing that you think is important?
13 A. Well, I think in respect of this document the document
14 spoke for itself. I think my previous e-mails indicate
15 that we should not have any pre briefing, that we should
16 take out the assertions and the rhetoric and we should,
17 in effect, let the intelligence judgments that are being
18 brought forward by the JIC speak for themselves. The
19 question that journalists always ask in respect of news
20 is by definition: what is new? And this was obviously
21 something that was new.
22 Q. It is a point which Mr Gilligan commented on, but after
23 25th September, when you have these headlines, many of
24 which focus on the 45 minutes point, the 45 minutes
25 claim appears, so far as one can make out, to disappear
1 from public view in the press and on the television.
2 I wonder if you can help on this. Presumably it is your
3 job, as one of the official spokesman, to present or
4 rather to represent the case the Government believes to
5 be correct?
6 A. That is right.
7 Q. Presumably at the briefings you get you will be given
8 information as to an idea on what particular lines you
9 should be adopting in the press briefings, is that
11 A. Up to a point, yes.
12 Q. And therefore, presumably, the Government, one would
13 expect, give you all relevant instructions or
14 information or points which they want to have
15 highlighted which they might think are not being
16 properly highlighted?
17 A. Well, in respect of this, I think the fact that we
18 not keep coming back to this particular point shows
19 several things really. Firstly, that it was not a point
20 that we were labouring, but we certainly were not rowing
21 back from it. Secondly, if you like, that the media
22 dynamic had shifted, and shifted fairly quickly, on to
23 the diplomatic process, and I did not think it
24 appropriate to, if you like, at a briefing, reiterate
25 what was already on the public record and set out by the
1 Prime Minister.
2 Q. Just so far as those things which you yourself were
3 told, you yourself never received any, as it were,
4 instructions or any direction to the effect that you
5 ought to be reiterating this 45 minutes point?
6 A. Neither reiterating it nor not mentioning it.
7 Q. We know that on 9th February The Independent led with
8 the story that:
9 "Intelligence agencies in the United States and
10 Britain believe that their intelligence was being
12 We see that at BBC/4/121.
13 A. Right.
14 Q. Again, a related story appears on 24th February 2003
15 The Observer which reports disagreement between the
16 Intelligence Services and Downing Street and refers to
17 fairly serious rows between one member of the JIC and
18 Mr Campbell. I think you can see that at CAB/1/357.
19 I do apologise, I think -- yes, this is a letter
20 from the BBC which sets out the various press coverage.
21 I think there will be a reference to an Independent
22 article. Is this page 357? I think 357, "Unease in
23 Security Services", perhaps.
24 "For example:
25 "Peter Beaumont..."
1 Do you see that?
2 A. I do.
3 Q. Were you told that you should put out any briefing
4 deny these two stories?
5 A. I do not recollect that, no. I mean, it certainly does
6 not reflect any knowledge of any relationship that
7 I know that Alastair Campbell had with anyone on the
9 Q. But I am just asking you, you were not told: we have
10 deny these stories?
11 A. No, and I think in respect of -- if I can just give
12 a short explanation which the Inquiry may find helpful,
13 when I say that we make judgments in respect of what we
14 deny, clearly there are an awful lot of things that are
15 written about the Government that are inaccurate or we
16 believe are inaccurate but a judgment has to be taken
17 to whether, if you like, they are worth denying.
18 Sometimes you could find yourself in a position where
19 the very fact that you give a denial of itself ensures
20 that the story continues. So, for example, people might
21 have ignored this story, I do not know. I do not know
22 whether anyone followed it up. The fact that
23 Downing Street issues a denial, in essence, can
24 legitimise the story for other media outlets.
25 Q. As I understand it, you were on a family holiday from
1 24th to 31st May 2003, is that right?
2 A. I was.
3 Q. It was in that period that Mr Gilligan's broadcast
4 appeared on the Today Programme. At least on the
5 following day, major newspapers carried similar stories
6 and there was quite a bit of coverage in the Sunday
7 papers as well.
8 Now, when you got back from holiday, did you have
9 any discussions with anyone about Mr Gilligan's article
10 or indeed about any of the other press articles that
11 began appearing at this time?
12 A. Well, it was clear that this issue was dominating the
13 news agenda almost to the exclusion of everything else,
14 as far as we were concerned.
15 Now, I recollect that my colleague, Mr Kelly, was
16 with the Prime Minister at the G8. I am sure I would
17 have spoken to him. I think Alastair Campbell was going
18 to a funeral in America; and I am sure I would have
19 spoken to him; but essentially my job or the job I saw
20 I needed to do on return from holiday was basically to
21 get myself up to speed, having missed the broadcast.
22 Q. And were you told which of these various stories you
23 should focus on?
24 A. Well, it was not so much which story as which claim.
25 Q. Which claim in that case. Were you given an idea as
1 which claim you should focus on?
2 A. Well, I think it was so obvious I do not think I needed
3 to be told as such; but clearly there was a very serious
4 charge being levelled against the Government that was
5 tantamount to misusing intelligence to mislead
7 Q. That was really Mr Gilligan's piece in that case?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. We know from Mr Campbell there was a lunch between
10 certain members of the Government and BBC executives on
11 12th June 2003. He believed you were one of the people
13 A. I was, yes.
14 Q. At this stage, Mr Campbell had written privately to
15 BBC asking them to withdraw the allegations --
16 A. That is right.
17 Q. -- that had been made by Mr Gilligan. Was there any
18 attempt made at this lunch to try to settle these
19 differences in an informal way?
20 A. No, the issue did not come up in fact. I have to say,
21 I wondered whether the Prime Minister would raise it.
22 In the end he did not. It was on the day of the
23 reshuffle. It was an unusual event and I think perhaps
24 the weight of the unsaid meant that not very much was
25 said at all.
1 Q. On 19th June 2003 Mr Gilligan gave evidence in front
2 the Foreign Affairs Committee.
3 A. Hmm, hmm.
4 Q. You are obviously aware of that now. Were you aware
5 it at the time?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did you have a look at his evidence at the time?
8 A. I would have skimmed it. I do not think I read it in
9 a fantastic amount of detail, no.
10 Q. As I understand it, the real sting of Mr Gilligan's
11 charge was that the Government knew that the information
12 being added to the dossier was probably false, and
13 indeed they had ordered the dossier to be sexed up, and
14 those are very serious allegations indeed.
15 A. I would not disagree with that.
16 Q. Can I just ask you to look at Mr Gilligan's evidence
17 the Foreign Affairs Committee, just briefly. It is at
19 One of the things that seems to emerge from
20 Mr Gilligan's evidence in front of the Foreign Affairs
21 Committee is that he does not really seem to repeat the
22 particular allegation which I have just been making. If
23 you look at page 145, at the foot of the page there is
24 an entry:
25 "Mr Pope: Just on this issue of the 45 minutes,
1 I want to be very clear about what your source is
2 alleging. Is your source alleging that the 45 minutes
3 did not exist in the assessment that was inserted by
4 Alastair Campbell?"
5 He is being asked really in terms: was this sort of
6 really put in there by Mr Campbell.
7 "Mr Gilligan: I will quote his words again. He
8 said, 'It was real information. It was the information
9 of a single source'. My source did not believe it was
10 reliable. He believed that that single source had made
11 a mistake, that he had confused the deployment time for
12 a conventional missile with the deployment time for
13 a CBW missile. He did not believe that any missiles had
14 been armed with CBW that would therefore be able to be
15 fireable at 45 minutes' notice. He believed that claim
16 was unreliable.
17 "Mr Pope: But that view was not necessarily shared
18 by the Joint Intelligence Committee because they did
19 have, albeit a single source, evidence of the 45
21 Mr Gilligan: That is right, absolutely, yes.
22 "Mr Pope: Has your source made any wider
23 allegations or expressed concerns about No 10 in general
24 and Alastair Campbell in particular interfering in
25 intelligence assessments?
1 "Mr Gilligan: He expressed concern that
2 Downing Street had spoiled its case against Iraq by
3 exaggeration. I want to make it clear that my source,
4 in common with all intelligence sources I have spoken
5 to, does believe that Iraq had a weapons of mass
6 destruction programme. His view, however, was that it
7 was not the imminent threat described by the
9 It is fair to say there that Mr Gilligan really
10 seems to be rather backtracking from the very serious
11 allegation he undoubtedly does appear to have made in
12 his original broadcast on 29th May.
13 A. It would appear so. If I could make one observation
14 which I think may be helpful to the Inquiry in terms of
15 how I felt about this particular charge. I always
16 regarded the charge that we had inserted intelligence
17 against the wishes of the Intelligence Services as
18 referring, if you like, to the generic or the
19 collective, so that therefore those parts of the
20 Intelligence Services which were equipped to make those
21 judgments about what went in the dossier, i.e. the Joint
22 Intelligence Committee, which is why it was so important
23 to us that the denial that we issued was issued with the
24 authority of the JIC.
25 I never saw this, if you like, as the fact that some
1 people within the Intelligence Services were unhappy.
2 I always thought that the charge was that we had done
3 this against the issues of the Intelligence Services,
4 e.g. those parts of the Intelligence Services involved
5 in this, and in that respect I regarded that as the JIC.
6 Q. It is fair to say that Mr Gilligan, certainly, is not
7 suggesting there that the JIC was unhappy with what went
8 in, rather the reverse, is he not?
9 A. Well, I am not sure that was entirely clear from what
10 had been reported heretofore.
11 Q. You see the reason I mention it is this: you are one
12 the official spokesmen and therefore it is very
13 important you know as it were what is being said in the
14 press and what lines can be put out. But despite that,
15 it seems that on 26th June, you put out a press briefing
16 which appears at CAB/1/181, or maybe you or Mr Kelly
17 puts out a press briefing, setting out a series of
18 questions that you want the BBC to answer.
19 A. That is correct.
20 LORD HUTTON: Sorry, this is CAB/1?
21 MR KNOX: CAB/1/181.
22 If I can ask you to look at page 182:
23 "In answer to further questions about the BBC, the
24 PMOS said that there were a number of questions still
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. "Did the BBC still stand by the allegation it
3 on 29th May that No. 10 added in the 45-minute claim?
4 "Did it still stand by the allegation made on the
5 same day that we had done so against the wishes of the
6 intelligence agencies?
7 "Did it still stand by the allegation made on that
8 day that both we and the intelligence agencies had known
9 that the 45-minute claim was wrong?"
10 Those three really are the most serious allegations.
11 Then the next one is about ordering the "sexing up".
12 A. Yes, that is right.
13 Q. What seems slightly strange is that if you had looked
14 Mr Gilligan's evidence would it not perhaps have become
15 apparent that this dispute was perhaps being blown up
16 more than was necessary given that Mr Gilligan himself
17 did not seem to be standing by what he had initially
18 said and all you needed to do was speak to the BBC and
19 say: surely Mr Gilligan is withdrawing those three
20 claims, look at his evidence before the FAC?
21 A. Well, I think we had got to the point where private
22 correspondence with the BBC, asking them to withdraw
23 those claims, had proved unproductive. So as
24 a consequence of that, Alastair Campbell had made the
25 points that he had made at the Foreign Affairs Committee
1 hearing. Now, you draw my attention to what Mr Gilligan
2 said at the Foreign Affairs Committee, I agree those are
3 interesting points. They were not points that the BBC
4 were prepared to acknowledge publicly.
5 Q. On 29th June 2003, and I can take you to the document
6 you need to be reminded, but Mr Campbell put out a press
7 announcement effectively saying that he was prepared to
8 let the matter of the argument between the BBC and the
9 Government be rather -- rather leave the matter to the
10 Foreign Affairs Committee to decide effectively the
11 dispute between the BBC and the Government. Do you
12 recall that?
13 A. I recall him putting out a statement on the Sunday,
14 which essentially indicated we did not think there was
15 much point carrying on the correspondence in the light
16 of what was being said by the BBC.
17 Q. Can I take you to 4th July 2003? Can you recall
18 anything -- this is Friday 4th July. We know now that
19 Dr Kelly had come forward on 30th June and written
20 a letter to his line manager saying he had had some
21 contact with Mr Gilligan. Can you recall when you first
22 found out about this matter?
23 A. Yes. I was first aware on Friday 4th when I was told
24 privately by Alastair Campbell.
25 Q. And can you recall what Mr Campbell told you?
1 A. To the best of my recollection, he said that somebody
2 had come forward of their own volition who thought that
3 they could potentially be the source of
4 Andrew Gilligan's story; that this individual had done
5 so because a colleague had pointed out similarities
6 between his views and the views expressed by Mr Gilligan
7 at the Select Committee. He also said, as far as I can
8 recall, that the individual concerned was not a member
9 of the Intelligence Services.
10 Q. Did you express any views on how the matter should
12 A. No, I do not believe I did. I mean, I was interested
13 hear of this development. I think I asked Alastair:
14 what happens now? He said that it was being handled by
15 the MoD and we would obviously just have to wait and
17 Q. Over the weekend did you have any communication about
18 this matter with anyone?
19 A. I spoke to my colleague, Mr Kelly, who was, if you
20 the duty PMOS over the weekend. I called him on Sunday
21 evening. We often speak on Sunday evening, just so that
22 one can appraise the other of how the weekend had gone.
23 And it was clear that obviously Tom had found out about
24 this as well.
25 Q. On Sunday 6th July, the BBC put out a press
1 announcement. Can I ask you to look at CAB/1/376?
2 Presumably, as official spokesman, you would have read
3 this or taken an interest in this announcement?
4 A. Yes, I watched Gavyn Davies deliver it live on
6 Q. Can I ask you to go over the page to page 377, in the
7 fourth paragraph down beginning "Finally..."
8 "Finally, the Board wishes to place on record that
9 the BBC has never accused the Prime Minister of lying,
10 or of seeking to take Britain into war under misleading
11 or false pretences.
12 "The BBC did not have an agenda in its war coverage,
13 nor does it now have any agenda which questions the
14 integrity of the Prime Minister."
15 When you read that, what was your reaction?
16 A. My reaction to the statement was, to be honest, one
17 surprise that the board of governors said as much as
18 they said on the eve of a report from the Foreign
19 Affairs Committee which had not come out. I think we
20 had made the point in respect of, if you like, accusing
21 the Prime Minister of lying that we felt that the charge
22 of inserting intelligence against the wishes of the
23 Intelligence Services knowing it probably to be wrong
24 was tantamount to that.
25 Q. Exactly. But you see what is rather peculiar, or might
1 be thought to be peculiar, is that instead of clarifying
2 the dispute and saying well, you did say this in the
3 past but are you now backing down, in other words you
4 did say what Mr Gilligan said in the past but now, in
5 the light of your statement, you are presumably
6 withdrawing that, no such question appears to be asked
7 of the BBC. That is fair to say, is it not?
8 A. Yes. I mean, I think we had been seeking to resolve
9 this privately for several weeks; and I think, if you
10 like, the moment for that had passed and we were on the
11 eve of a major report from the Foreign Affairs
13 Q. On Monday 7th July, the Foreign Affairs Committee was
14 due to report. Can you recall if you went to any
15 meetings on Monday 7th July?
16 A. Yes. I was at a meeting with the Foreign Secretary
17 Alastair Campbell's office from 9 o'clock, where we read
18 the Foreign Affairs Committee report and --
19 Q. Can I just stop you there, Mr Smith. Before that
20 meeting, did you have any meetings with anyone else,
21 before that meeting?
22 A. Yes, I had the standard 8.30 meeting of communications
23 professionals in the study in Downing Street.
24 Q. Did you meet Ms Pam Teare from the MoD at that meeting?
25 A. I did. Sorry, the reason I started on the second
1 meeting was I thought you were referring to the Foreign
2 Affairs Committee.
3 Q. I apologise.
4 A. I did, yes.
5 Q. You met Miss Teare at that first meeting?
6 A. I recollect that I did, yes.
7 Q. What was, briefly, discussed at that meeting?
8 A. I think Alastair, Ms Teare and myself had what probably
9 amounted to a one-minute conversation in which Ms Teare
10 said that, to the best of my recollection, the
11 individual who had come forward was neither a member of
12 the Intelligence Services nor a member of the Senior
13 Civil Service.
14 Q. Was anything said about putting out an announcement
15 about this?
16 A. No. No. There was a recognition that things would be
17 handled by the MoD and I think Pam was going back to the
18 Department to find out what exactly that meant.
19 Q. Then you have a meeting I think you said at about
20 9 o'clock on the same morning?
21 A. That is right.
22 Q. Where was that meeting held?
23 A. That meeting was held in Alastair Campbell's study.
24 Q. Can you briefly just say what was discussed at that
1 A. It was essentially a meeting at which those present read
2 the Foreign Affairs Committee report for the first time
3 and worked out how we responded to it.
4 Q. Can I take it this was an advance copy of the Foreign
5 Affairs Committee report?
6 A. Yes. I think as a courtesy we get it an hour before
8 Q. Was anything said in this meeting about putting out
9 a press announcement in relation to the person who had
10 come forward saying he had spoken to Gilligan?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Was anything said about sending this man to the ISC?
13 A. No.
14 Q. The Intelligence and Security Committee.
15 A. No.
16 Q. Was any discussion had about asking this person to
17 before the Foreign Affairs Committee?
18 A. No, and I should point out that apart from an oblique
19 reference by the Foreign Secretary at that meeting to
20 the fact that a potential source had come forward, there
21 was no discussion about it whatsoever.
22 Q. We know that at 10 o'clock the Foreign Affairs Committee
23 report was published; and then, I think, there was
24 a briefing at about 11 o'clock about the findings of the
25 Foreign Affairs Committee; is that right?
1 A. That is right, yes. My colleague Mr Kelly did that.
2 Q. Can I just ask you, please, to look at CAB/1/201?
3 LORD HUTTON: I think perhaps, before we go on to that,
4 will just adjourn for five minutes.
5 (3.12 pm)
6 (Short Break)
7 (3.15 pm)
8 LORD HUTTON: Yes. You were at CAB/1/201.
9 MR KNOX: Do you have that, Mr Smith?
10 A. I do, yes.
11 Q. This is the press briefing, 11 am, Monday 7th July.
12 this your press briefing or Mr Kelly's?
13 A. Mr Kelly.
14 Q. You will see in the second paragraph down:
15 "The PMOS said that the BBC's central allegation
16 always been that which had been made on [Monday
17 morning]: that No. 10/Alastair Campbell had inserted the
18 45-minute intelligence into the document; that it had
19 done so probably knowing it to be wrong; and that it had
20 done so against the wishes of the intelligence agencies.
21 Not only did the FAC report contain no evidence to
22 support this assertion, but paragraph 11 stated clearly
23 that Mr Campbell had not played any role in the
24 inclusion of the 45-minute intelligence, and had not
25 exerted, or sought to exert, improper influence ..."
1 You will see dropping down to the next paragraph:
2 "The PMOS said that we also noted that the
3 BBC Governors' statement yesterday had not specifically
4 defended the original allegations."
5 A. Hmm, hmm.
6 Q. Is there any reason why, in the light of those factors,
7 you felt that the dispute, if I can put it this way,
8 with the BBC was not all over?
9 A. Well, I think had it not been for the fact that somebody
10 had come forward on the Friday, or whenever they came
11 forward, and we became aware of it at the time that we
12 did, I think this may very well have been the end of
14 Q. Can you recall having any other discussions about this
15 matter on Monday 7th July?
16 A. Yes, I can.
17 Q. And would you like to say, in your own words, what
19 A. Yes. That evening at around 6 o'clock I went into
20 Alastair Campbell's office -- his office is very near
21 Tom and mine, and I wander in and out -- and he was
22 speaking to somebody who I was to discover was the
23 Defence Secretary.
24 Q. How did you discover that?
25 A. That after I had walked into the room the phone call
1 put on speaker phone, so I could hear and participate.
2 Q. And what was being said in this conversation?
3 A. Alastair floated the idea that the news that an
4 individual had come forward who could be the possible
5 source be given that evening to one paper.
6 Q. And what did Mr Hoon say to that?
7 A. To the best of my recollection, he said that he would
8 see where things stood.
9 LORD HUTTON: I beg your pardon, he said that?
10 A. He would check where things stood. I am not aware that
11 he said a huge amount.
12 MR KNOX: Did Mr Campbell explain to Mr Hoon why this would
13 be a good idea?
14 A. To the best of my recollection, I think his concern
15 that the Prime Minister would be appearing before the
16 Liaison Committee the next day, and he wanted to ensure
17 that the Prime Minister was not put in a difficult
18 position if the matter was brought before him and it was
19 not public.
20 Q. Did you say anything to Mr Campbell in this
22 A. Very little beyond -- I mean, I should point out that
23 this particular conversation, the speaker phone part of
24 it must have lasted I would have thought two minutes
25 max. My part in it was to say that I was prepared to
1 stay late in the office as Alastair had to leave
3 Q. And what did you do afterwards?
4 A. I reflected on what I had heard and thought that it
5 a bad idea. I said as much to Tom and asked whether he
6 agreed; and he did, so I said that the best thing was
7 get Alastair on the phone so we could tell him.
8 Q. And did you tell him?
9 A. I did, yes.
10 Q. And he agreed?
11 A. He did.
12 Q. And after that did you do anything --
13 LORD HUTTON: Sorry, why did you think it was a bad idea?
14 A. For two principal reasons. Firstly, that I thought
15 Government was within its rights to make an announcement
16 of this sort and to do that in the way that it chose;
17 and it seemed somewhat complex to have the story appear
18 in one newspaper and then be subsequently confirmed that
19 evening by the Ministry of Defence.
20 Secondly, this was, if you like, completely news
21 from nowhere is perhaps the best way to describe it, in
22 as much as nobody, outside a small circle in Government,
23 had had any idea about it. I felt that it would
24 potentially transform the nature of the Prime Minister's
25 appearance at the Liaison Committee and that before
1 anything like this was to happen then the Prime Minister
2 should be informed.
3 LORD HUTTON: What did you mean by saying you thought that
4 the Government was within its rights to announce this
5 matter in its own way, but what were the rights that you
6 have in mind?
7 A. What I am referring to, my Lord, is the fact that I
8 that the Government should not be in the position where,
9 if you like, it is responding to this news. The fact
10 that somebody had come forward in this way I felt was
11 important, relevant information and in the public
12 interest in the context of what, you know, had been said
13 both in Parliament and outside.
14 LORD HUTTON: When you say the Government should not be
15 a position of responding, that would be responding to
16 the report that appeared in the one newspaper, is that
17 what you had in mind?
18 A. Yes, I thought that if the decision was taken to make
19 this information public, then the Government should make
20 it public itself.
21 LORD HUTTON: Yes. Yes, thank you.
22 A. I should also point out that Alastair is somebody for
23 whom I have got great respect and admiration. I am
24 always very frank in the advice I give him.
25 LORD HUTTON: Yes.
1 MR KNOX: After giving Mr Campbell this advice, did you do
2 anything else in relation to Dr Kelly on this evening?
3 A. I went round to the private office. I have to say,
4 far as I was concerned, that was the end of that
5 particular matter, that that was not going to happen and
6 that was fine. But I did realise that obviously this
7 was moving forward, and that I ought to try and acquaint
8 myself with what was happening. So I went round to the
9 private office where I saw some of the papers in
10 relation to the potential source.
11 Q. Did you talk to anyone?
12 A. I asked, to the best of my recollection, Jonathan Powell
13 who had been conducting the interviews. I can only
14 assume I meant which part of the Ministry of Defence,
15 but he said -- and I clearly remember this -- he said:
16 Martin someone, and I said: is that Martin Howard, who
17 is probably one of only five or six people at the MoD
18 that I actually know. He said: yes, it was, as far as
19 he remembered. That name rang a bell. I said: well, in
20 that case, he is a very good man because I have known
21 him in the past from his time as director of
23 Q. Did Mr Powell express a view as to whether or not this
24 man was or was not the source of Mr Gilligan's story?
25 A. He said, to the best of my recollection, that the MoD
1 felt that this individual was the source of the story,
2 but that Andrew Gilligan had embellished his account.
3 Q. When you went home that evening, did you do anything
4 the way home?
5 A. Yes, I was confused, having, to be honest, looked at
6 papers. I was confused as to how -- given I now knew
7 what I knew about the status of this individual, that
8 was not a member of the Intelligence Services, let alone
9 a senior intelligence source who I always assumed would
10 be a member of the JIC, I could not understand how it
11 was that the BBC continued to stick to their guns, if
12 you like so forcefully. And I wondered whether the
13 individual concerned was actually one of the other three
14 sources whom Andrew Gilligan had subsequently referred
16 Q. Did you read anything?
17 A. Yes, I took Andrew Gilligan's evidence with me on the
18 train and read that; and I came across the point which
19 I thought was very germane, that in his answer to
20 John Maples he made clear he had only spoken to one of
21 his four sources in respect of the WMD dossier prior to
22 his broadcast, and given I now knew from what I had seen
23 that he had discussed the 45 minutes claim, this seemed
24 to me to be pretty significant.
25 Q. Did you pick up on the passage I drew your attention
1 a moment ago, before the short break, where Mr Gilligan
2 appears to backtrack a little from his original Today
3 Programme? Did you pick up on that or not?
4 A. I did not, to be honest. I was more interested in the
5 point I have already highlighted to you.
6 Q. When you got home, was there anything waiting for you
8 A. Yes, the two statements had been sent through to me,
9 which were the two statements which the MoD had sent
10 over to Downing Street. I had not asked to see them,
11 but they had been sent over, so I read them.
12 Q. Can I go to CAB/1/48? At this page and following there
13 are various drafts of documents. I am not going to ask
14 you to explain all of them.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. At page 48 there is a handwritten note for the attention
17 of Wendy, Duty Clerk.
18 A. That is what I received, yes.
19 Q. You got this?
20 A. I got this and the two statements.
21 Q. Can I ask you, in that case, to look at page 49 of
23 A. Yes, that is right.
24 Q. Was this one of the statements sent over to your home
25 that night?
1 A. I believe it was, yes.
2 Q. And then CAB/1/50?
3 A. That was. I had a clean copy of that.
4 Q. A clean copy of page 50?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You will see, going back to CAB/1/48:
7 "Two draft statements attached, one based on the
8 defensive lines prepared on Friday. The other reflects
9 further discussions today but requires further
11 Had you yourself been party to any of these further
13 A. No, I have outlined almost in their entirety the sum
14 total of my contacts that day about this particular
15 issue. I should also point out it was a day that was
16 dominated as far as we were concerned by the FAC report.
17 Q. Moving on to Tuesday 8th July, you have been faxed
18 two versions. Did you, yourself, do anything when you
19 got in first thing in the morning, in relation to these
20 two versions of that draft?
21 A. Yes, I did. I was particularly concerned about the
22 second, and I agreed with the comment which had been
23 written on the front page that the statement represented
24 a high risk approach as we cannot be sure that he is
25 Gilligan's single source. In particular, I was slightly
1 troubled by one phrase there which I thought was
2 a hostage to fortune.
3 Q. That phrase being?
4 A. Andrew Gilligan might have "misled his employers".
5 Q. This is at CAB/1/50. You felt putting that in could
6 extremely risky?
7 A. I think we may believe this individual was indeed
8 Andrew Gilligan's source but it seemed to me fairly
9 high -- yes, fairly high risk, potentially perhaps
10 defamatory to say he actually misled his employers. We
11 did not actually know that.
12 Q. Did this express some concern that you could not be
13 that Dr Kelly himself or the man who had come forward
14 was telling the truth?
15 A. No, on the contrary -- that he was telling the truth.
16 No. It did not reflect that. It reflected the point
17 I have already made, that to say that somebody has
18 misled his employers is potentially quite a serious
19 thing to say about somebody.
20 Q. Did you yourself type these versions up on to your
22 A. When I got this -- I should also point out I thought
23 was germane that the point that I had come across in
24 Mr Gilligan's evidence to the Select Committee,
25 I thought that point was germane to this statement. So,
1 yes, I came in and I typed up what I thought was
2 a better draft.
3 Q. I wonder if you can help us by looking at these
4 documents, whether any of those is the draft you typed
5 up. If you could go to CAB/1/52, this looks to be
6 exactly the same thing.
7 A. That is right. It is not that. It is the one that
8 concludes something about the ISC, I think.
9 Q. CAB/1/55?
10 A. Yes, that is the one.
11 Q. This is one you drafted without the reference to
12 Mr Gilligan possibly misleading his employers?
13 A. That is right, but inserting, I should say, the point
14 respect of the Select Committee.
15 Q. I think you say inserting the point in respect of the
16 Select Committee. Is it right, if you go back to
17 CAB/1/50, that the possibility of going to what is
18 called there the Intelligence Service Committee had been
19 raised in the initial draft sent over to you?
20 A. The point I am making is inserting the point about
21 Mr Gilligan's evidence to the Select Committee. The
22 point in respect of the ISC was already there. I think
23 the fact that I said something about the ISC meant I was
24 not entirely clear what it referred to.
25 Q. After you do this early in the morning, do you then
1 to a meeting?
2 A. Yes, there is a preparatory meeting that the
3 Prime Minister was having with some of his staff before
4 the Liaison Committee, a fairly routine thing where we
5 would think of the difficult questions and throw them
7 Q. And shortly after that we have an e-mail which is dated
8 9.16 am which is at CAB/1/54, which is from you to the
9 private secretary to Mr Tebbit at the MoD.
10 A. That is right.
11 Q. CAB/1/54:
12 "This is a revise of version 2 reordering a bit with
13 a different penultimate para which asks the question but
14 doesn't point the finger."
15 Can I ask you to explain briefly what you mean by
16 the phrase "but doesn't point the finger"?
17 A. Perhaps I should say what the whole phrase means which
18 asks the question: is this individual Andrew Gilligan's
19 source but does not point the finger at him in terms of
20 saying, "and he might have misled his employer".
21 Q. Did you attend any further meetings that morning in
22 relation to this letter?
23 A. I do not believe that I did, no.
24 Q. Was there any second meeting with the Prime Minister
25 that you attended, a drafting meeting at all, or did you
1 discuss the drafts at all, this morning?
2 A. There was a very short meeting, or should I say I was
3 present when he got back from the Liaison Committee and
4 essentially left the room before another meeting started
5 in relation to this issue. And I subsequently went
6 round to see the Prime Minister, I think about 1.30 on
7 that day.
8 Q. And what was the purpose of that?
9 A. I think that was actually a meeting that started off,
10 far as I was concerned, being a discussion about some
11 the points that had been raised in relation to how the
12 media were reporting the Prime Minister's
13 Liaison Committee appearance, and he was asking me
14 whether, given I was going to put in the briefing that
15 afternoon, whether there were any points of
16 clarification I needed to enable me to do that.
17 Q. Did you then have any further discussions about the
18 drafts of the proposed press announcement?
19 A. What happened at the end of that particular meeting
20 which, as I say, started off being a discussion about
21 preparing briefing lines, was that a number of us went
22 back to my office, including Sir Kevin Tebbit, to work
23 on this statement. It was decided to go back, I think,
24 to my office and to my machine in as much as there was
25 already something that approximated to the MoD draft on
1 that machine.
2 Q. Who was part of this drafting team that went back to
3 your office?
4 A. Sir Kevin, John Scarlett, Jonathan Powell,
5 Alastair Campbell, Tom Kelly and myself.
6 Q. Can I just ask you to look at CAB/1/56? This looks
7 one of the documents that was being drafted. Was this
8 a document that was being drafted as it were in
9 Committee around this time?
10 A. If I can make two points. Firstly, in respect of the
11 fact it says "created 12.35". This was in fact
12 done on the document that I had created at 7.40 that
13 morning, just as a point of clarification in terms of
14 the times; but the computer for some reason shows 12.35
15 but there is apparently an IT explanation for that.
16 But, yes, this was the document which we had been
17 working on. Essentially Sir Kevin Tebbit had come back
18 with his draft from the MoD and we had been working
19 through that.
20 Q. As part of the proposed press announcement, the MoD
21 prepared some questions and answers which one can see
22 MoD/1/62. Can I just ask you to look at those.
23 Did you yourself see this document on 8th July, or
25 A. I did, although I made no contribution to it. If I
1 for the sake of clarity, point out that I offered to
2 Pam Teare that morning to send over what I thought would
3 be some of the questions that might flow as a result of
4 this announcement it looked that we were likely to have
5 to make. She said she had the matter in hand and she is
6 very professional and a very good operator.
7 Q. You will see the third or fourth paragraph down:
8 "What is his name and current post?"
9 "We wouldn't normally volunteer a name.
10 "If the correct name is given, we can confirm it
11 say that he was senior advisor to the Proliferation and
12 Arms Control Secretariat."
13 I want to ask you two things: first of all, were you
14 present when the decision was made to make a press
16 A. I had been -- I suppose yes, I was, in as much as I
17 present at the meeting when the news came back from the
18 ISC that the route which had been proposed in the
19 morning at the meeting, which I had not attended, was
20 not going to be pursued.
21 Q. So the ISC route cannot be pursued, therefore we will
22 put out a press announcement?
23 A. That is right, in as much as that was what was reported
24 back from the ISC, that they were prepared to go down
25 a certain route provided there was a press statement.
1 Q. Who is present at the meeting that then decides to make
2 this press statement?
3 A. I think it was basically a collective view that we
4 reached the point where we were going to have to put
5 this into the public domain.
6 Q. Can I ask you just to name the people who were
7 actually -- so far as you can recall, the people who
8 were actually present when this decision was made?
9 A. The individuals that I have set out to you.
10 Q. Sorry, but they would be, just to remind us?
11 A. The names that I went through before.
12 Q. Most recently?
13 A. At that meeting, yes.
14 Q. As far as these questions and answers are concerned
15 MoD/1/62, can you recall being a party to any
16 discussions when the strategy was adopted of confirming
17 the correct name if it was put to the MoD?
18 A. No. And I ought to point out that from my perspective
19 this was obviously a very sensitive personnel issue,
20 which was being handled by a Whitehall department, which
21 directly it could be argued affected Downing Street and
22 particularly the Downing Street communications
23 directorate. So I did not think it proper to immerse
24 myself or seek to inject myself in that level of detail
25 into the process.
1 Q. We know that the press announcement, the MoD press
2 announcement went out at about 5.45. Did you receive
3 a copy of it?
4 A. I did.
5 Q. Did you do anything once you got a copy of it?
6 A. Once I got a copy of the statement and the Q and A,
7 I think I copied it round my press office with an e-mail
8 essentially saying: all calls to the MoD.
9 Q. We know that later that evening the BBC put out
10 a response to the MoD announcement. Did you discuss
11 that response with anyone?
12 A. The response actually came out just as I was leaving
13 office; and I can recall making the judgment to go and
14 make sure I caught the train so I was not late home,
15 thinking that Tom would be able to deal with anything
16 that flowed from it. So I spoke to Tom when I got to
17 the station, who informed me what it had said and how
18 were responding to it.
19 Q. We know on Wednesday 9th July that Dr Kelly's name
20 eventually revealed.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You, I take it, had no part to play in that at all?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Before the name got out, did you, yourself, get the
25 impression that there was great pressure from the press
1 to get hold of the name?
2 A. Yes. I think it was inevitable once an announcement
3 this sort was made that there would be a lot of
4 scrutiny. I did not come under any particular pressure,
5 although I should point out that given Tom was doing the
6 briefings on that particular day, the journalists tend
7 to gravitate towards the individual who is doing the
8 briefings, in terms of phone calls.
9 I do have a very clear recollection of
10 a conversation I had with Alastair Campbell as we were
11 both leaving Downing Street simultaneously that
12 afternoon. I think we had it in the hallway. It was
13 basically a sort of "how is it going?" sort
14 conversation, and he said he was coming under a lot of
15 pressure from journalists to give them the name but that
16 he was not helping them.
17 Q. Did you talk to Mr Powell at all on this day?
18 A. (Pause). Quite possibly. Sometimes our conversations
19 are e-mail or electronic, should I say, rather than
21 Q. We know that on 10th July Dr Kelly's name was public
22 the press. You, I think, were responsible for giving
23 a press briefing on that occasion. Can I just ask you
24 to look at CAB/1/92?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. This is from the Chief Press Officer to you. Presumably
2 this was, effectively, some assistance as to how to
3 handle press questions about why did you leak Dr Kelly's
5 A. Exactly so.
6 Q. And this was the, as it were, line it was suggested
7 should take?
8 A. It was the fact.
9 Q. And I think it is fair to say that at the press briefing
10 that day this was effectively what you told the
12 A. Yes. I think the issue was raised after a fairly
13 extensive briefing on Iraq and the whole issue of
14 weapons of mass destruction, so it came up, I think,
15 fairly late during the briefing but I think I was
16 directly asked the question and responded appropriately.
17 Q. We know that eventually Dr Kelly went before the Foreign
18 Affairs Committee on 15th July. Did you, yourself, have
19 any expectations as to how he would perform in front of
20 that Committee?
21 A. (Pause). Expectations, no. I mean, I think it is
22 perhaps worth pointing out, for the benefit of
23 the Inquiry, my perception of how I saw Dr Kelly during
24 this period. I thought that he was somebody who had
25 perhaps been unwise to have the sort of contact that he
1 had had with a journalist, but that he was somebody who
2 had been misrepresented, in as much as he had not or did
3 not have the knowledge to make the judgments that he was
4 reported to have made. I also believe the fact that he
5 had come forward voluntarily, the fact that he had not
6 changed his story in relation to his interviews with the
7 MoD, indicated that that was the case.
8 How did I think that he would perform? To be
9 honest, it was not the performance I was expecting.
10 Q. It was not the performance you were expecting?
11 A. No. I expected him to be more confident.
12 Q. Finally, Mr Smith, are there any matters you would
13 to raise with this Inquiry into the circumstances of
14 Dr Kelly's death?
15 A. There is just one point I would like to refer to which
16 I thought might come up and has not during the course
17 this, but I do have a strong recollection of somebody
18 in fact of Kevin Tebbit saying, I think during it must
19 have been the briefing, that the meeting we had to
20 discuss the statement, that that meeting -- I have
21 a strong recollection that in answer to a question, it
22 may even have been a question from me, I cannot
23 recollect, he said that the reason why -- or that
24 Dr Kelly accepted that his name would come out, but that
25 he did not want to be in the first wave of publicity,
1 which, if you like, accounted for the strategy which the
2 Ministry of Defence were pursuing. And I think it is
3 just important to set that out because I think it
4 informs some of the judgments that were taken.
5 Q. Is there anything else?
6 A. There is not.
7 LORD HUTTON: But you recollect Sir Kevin Tebbit saying
9 A. I do, yes.
10 LORD HUTTON: How clear are you in your recollection of
12 A. Pretty clear.
13 LORD HUTTON: Yes. Thank you very much indeed Mr Smith.
14 A. Thank you.
15 MR DINGEMANS: Mr Kelly, please.
16 MR SAMUEL THOMAS KELLY (called)
17 Examined by MR DINGEMANS
18 Q. Can you tell his Lordship your full name?
19 A. Samuel Thomas Kelly.
20 Q. What is your occupation?
21 A. I am the Prime Minister's official spokesman, one of
22 two Prime Minister's official spokesmen.
23 Q. How long have you been in that role?
24 A. Since June 2001, immediately after the last election.
25 Q. What were you doing before that?
1 A. I was Director of Communications at the Northern Ireland
2 office in Belfast.
3 Q. Before that you had worked as a journalist?
4 A. Before that I had worked for the BBC for 16 years in
5 a variety of roles in Belfast and London.
6 Q. Can I just ask you, very briefly, about the dossier?
7 I will not repeat the material that has been put to
8 Mr Smith, I hope for obvious reasons, but it is plain
9 from the material we have seen this afternoon that there
10 were rounds of e-mails going round; and I think you have
11 made some detailed comments.
12 Did you have any view on whether or not you thought
13 it appropriate to be making those sort of comments on
14 intelligence material contained in the dossier?
15 A. Well, I was very clear in my view that I was being
16 to comment, if you like, as a sounding board rather than
17 as someone who is going to make a substantive
18 contribution to the dossier. I also needed to, if you
19 like, get sight of some of the drafts, so as to be
20 prepared to answer questions on the document. I never
21 saw myself or indeed any of the copy recipients whose
22 e-mails we have seen this afternoon as being part, if
23 you like, of the essential team involved in drawing up
24 the dossier.
25 Q. There was a comment made by the Foreign Affairs
1 Committee at FAC/3/34. Just on this general point, when
2 they had considered the language of the dossier, at
3 paragraph 100 -- it should be flashing up fairly
4 shortly -- going down the page, they, having looked at
5 various matters:
6 "... conclude that the language used in the
7 September dossier was in places more assertive than that
8 traditionally used in intelligence documents. We
9 believe that there is much value in retaining the
10 measured and even cautious tones which have been the
11 hallmark of intelligence assessments and we recommend
12 that this approach be retained."
13 Do you think there was anything in the contributions
14 that you were making -- we have seen the nature of them
15 from the e-mail -- that contributed to this perception
16 that the language was hardening, as it were?
17 A. That was certainly not my aim and I do not believe
18 was the effect. I think, as I say, I was trying to act
19 as, if you like, a fresh reader, a sounding board,
20 rather than someone who expected his comments to affect
21 the substance of the dossier in any way.
22 Q. Leaving the dossier and coming forward to the broadcast,
23 where were you on 29th May?
24 A. I was in Kuwait awaiting to board a Hercules aircraft
25 with the Prime Minister and his party to Iraq.
1 Q. And what were the first reports you heard of the
3 A. Well, I had a phone call from the duty press officer
4 London who recalls me saying to him: well, I have had
5 a phone call from you this early, it must be something
6 big and it must be something trouble.
7 Q. And was that your perception at the time?
8 A. Once he had told me what the charge was in the
9 Andrew Gilligan report, my immediate instinct was that
10 this was a very, very serious charge to make indeed and
11 my immediate instinct was that it was wrong.
12 Q. Right. What did you do about it?
13 A. I was standing next to Alastair Campbell; and I asked
14 him about it, because while I was clear in my own mind
15 that it was wrong, I thought it was such a severe charge
16 that I had to be certain before I authorised the press
17 officer to give a response. Alastair told me that it
18 was wrong and therefore I asked the press officer to
19 give a very strong denial to the BBC and to make sure
20 that that denial was reported on the BBC and also to
21 make sure that that denial went out to other outlets as
23 Q. I think we have heard from Mr Campbell yesterday, so
24 will forgive me if we do not go over the same ground --
25 A. Of course.
1 Q. -- that the issue continued to dominate the
2 Prime Minister's trip to Poland as well. Did you go to
3 Poland as well?
4 A. Yes, I went to Poland as well. From the next morning
5 was obvious from the media brief that the story was
6 running not just in the British press but in the world
7 press, that he was going to be asked about it at the
8 Polish press conference, which indeed he was. I then
9 asked both the Prime Minister and Alastair Campbell if
10 I could make it clear that the Prime Minister's very
11 strong denial on that day had been -- was not just an
12 ad lib response but was based on conversations with
13 John Scarlett and his deputy. They both agreed that
14 I could do that; and I did that because I wanted to
15 underline to the journalists that this was not just
16 a casual response, it was a very considered response and
17 a very considered categorical denial.
18 Q. And then there was correspondence, we have seen it,
19 I will not take you to it if that is all right. Were
20 you party to any of the discussions relating to those
22 A. I think I may have been consulted on a sort of fairly
23 informal basis; but I do not actually recall having
24 contributed at all to the writing of those letters.
25 Q. There came to be a lunch with the BBC. We have heard
1 about that from Mr Campbell. Mr Campbell's recollection
2 was that it was him and the Prime Minister from the
3 Downing Street side. We have heard from Mr Smith that
4 he was there. Were you there as well?
5 A. I was there as well.
6 Q. Did you raise this issue at all with the BBC?
7 A. Well, the issue was not raised formally at the lunch;
8 but I did take the opportunity, on the way out of the
9 lunch, to grab a quick word with Richard Sambrook, the
10 director of news at the BBC who I had known from my time
11 in the BBC quite well, to underline to him that this was
12 not just another complaint, as we saw it, but was
13 a serious complaint and that it therefore should not be
14 dismissed in that way. In fairness to Richard Sambrook,
15 he also underlined to me that the BBC genuinely believed
16 that the charge was right.
17 Q. The charge was right?
18 A. The charge made in the Andrew Gilligan report that
19 had inserted material into the September dossier against
20 the wishes of the intelligence agencies knowing it to
21 false, a charge which I felt went right to the heart of
22 the Government's integrity.
23 Q. So Mr Sambrook effectively repeated that charge, you
24 say, at the lunch?
25 A. He did --
1 Q. The informal discussions after?
2 A. This was a private conversation, and I do not want
3 exaggerate its significance because it began as
4 I remember at the top of the stairs in No. 10 and
5 carried on just until the front door, but what he
6 relayed to me was that the BBC believed its report to
8 Q. We then come to the 26th June. You give the Lobby
9 briefing. There were a series of questions devised at
10 CAB/1/182. I do not think we need necessarily to look
11 at them. These were questions you devised to try to
12 bring clarity to the argument, is that right?
13 A. Yes, I think it is important to outline why I did so,
14 I may. I was responding to an interview which
15 Richard Sambrook had given to the Today Programme on
16 that morning, which was the morning after
17 Alastair Campbell had appeared at the FAC, in which he
18 had characterised our complaint as an attack on the
19 independence of the BBC.
20 I thought that we needed, throughout this, to try to
21 bring this dispute to an end as quickly and quietly,
22 frankly, as possible. Therefore, I did not want it to
23 degenerate into a general battle with the BBC. I wanted
24 to sharpen the debate and that was the point of those
1 I think it is important to know that the first three
2 questions relate to how I saw the charge, right from the
3 beginning, which was an attack on the integrity of the
4 Government, on the Prime Minister and on the
5 intelligence agencies; and that is why I regarded it as
6 so serious.
7 Q. In fact I think we see on 26th June those questions
8 repeated in Mr Campbell's letter?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. We have seen the BBC response.
11 Let us go forward, if we may, to the end of the
12 week, the first week in July. When do you first become
13 aware that someone has come forward to the Ministry of
15 A. I will be honest and say I cannot remember at what
16 over the weekend but I was the duty official,
17 Prime Minister's official spokesman that weekend, so
18 I would talk to Alastair Campbell. At some point during
19 that weekend, I think probably on the Sunday,
20 Alastair Campbell indicated to me in some way that
21 someone had come forward. What I picked up however was
22 there was still a considerable degree of caution as to
23 whether this was indeed the source for Andrew Gilligan's
25 Q. Were you given a name at that stage?
1 A. No.
2 Q. And you do not recall being told this on the Friday
3 night, you think it was probably the Sunday?
4 A. I do not recall being told it on the Friday night.
5 I think it probably was the Sunday, but, again, I do not
6 pretend to have precise knowledge of when I was told.
7 Q. When you are duty press officer at Downing Street what
8 does that mean? You sit at No. 10 waiting for the phone
9 to ring?
10 A. No, we have staff in No. 10 who do that. But I am at
11 home in Northern Ireland but I am calling journalists
12 I need to or if they need to speak to me and I am
13 available also, you know, to talk to Alastair Campbell
14 as well.
15 Q. So that weekend you were at home?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. But you have a discussion with Mr Campbell?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And the gist is he says someone has come forward but
20 there is some doubt?
21 A. That is the gist of it.
22 Q. Did you discuss any sort of strategy at that stage
23 Mr Campbell?
24 A. No, not that I am aware of.
25 Q. Monday morning are you back in Downing Street?
1 A. I am back in Downing Street. I arrive at about
2 9 o'clock. I am doing the Lobby that morning and we are
3 just about to get the advance copy of the FAC report.
4 Q. From the Ministry of Defence?
5 A. I am not sure how we got it, but we got the advance
6 of the FAC report.
7 Q. Sorry, of the FAC report?
8 A. The FAC report, sorry.
9 Q. And that obviously takes up most of your time that
10 is that fair?
11 A. I am up against it for time. I am having to speed read
12 the report and my main focus is on that.
13 Q. Did you have any discussions relating to Dr Kelly on
14 that day?
15 A. Well, as I went into the meeting, from memory, I think
16 the Foreign Secretary was making some reference to the
17 fact that someone had come forward. It was a fairly
18 elliptical reference but because I had been alerted by
19 Alastair Campbell I knew what he was referring to. We
20 then went round to --
21 Q. Were you given a name at that stage?
22 A. I do not think so. I am not sure to be honest at what
23 stage I did learn the name, but I do not think it was
24 that stage. I do not think it was on the Monday.
25 Q. I interrupted.
1 A. We then went round to the Prime Minister's Office where
2 my primary purpose was to ensure that I understood the
3 Prime Minister's view of the FAC report and indeed that
4 I was understanding the report correctly, because I was
5 going to have to brief on it within a very short period.
6 Q. So you were dealing with the FAC report?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did you have any other conversations later that day
9 relating to Dr Kelly?
10 A. Well, my colleague, I think, has relayed the
11 conversation which I had not remembered about the
12 suggestion that we leak the fact that someone has come
13 forward, but now that he has mentioned it, I do remember
14 thinking that we should play it straight and that we
15 should just let events take their course.
16 Q. That relates to what Mr Smith told us earlier on today?
17 A. That is correct, yes.
18 Q. About there was a discussion with Mr Campbell about
19 leaking it to a paper. He thought it a bad idea. He
20 spoke to you and went back to Mr Campbell and told him
21 it was a bad idea.
22 A. What we actually did was stayed in our office and again
23 had a conversation with Alastair Campbell on speaker
24 phone in which we both explained why we thought it was
25 a bad idea.
1 Q. And on the 7th July were you dealing, at all, with the
2 proposed MoD press statement?
3 A. No, I think I had left the office by the time that
4 drafts came through; and the first that I saw them was
5 on the Tuesday morning, the 8th July.
6 Q. So let us go forward to 8th July. That is the Tuesday,
7 is it?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And do you have discussions relating to Dr Kelly on
11 A. Well, again, at that stage I would stress I was talking
12 about an official having come forward rather than
13 Dr Kelly.
14 Q. You still do not know his name?
15 A. As far as I know, I do not know his name and I do not
16 think he was referred to by name at the meetings
17 I attended. We were preparing the Prime Minister for
18 the Liaison Committee and the question did come up as
19 whether the Prime Minister should, in any way, give any
20 indication that an official had come forward. It was
21 decided that it would be premature to do so.
22 Q. Right. The Prime Minister goes off to the
23 Liaison Committee and he comes back. Do you see him
25 A. Yes, I do see him briefly afterwards for a brief
1 follow-on meeting. I am not aware of having made any
2 significant contribution to that conversation.
3 Q. And is anything then said about Dr Kelly?
4 A. Well, again, it is part of the continuing discussion
5 to how he is being handled, but again I cannot remember
6 anything else of significance.
7 Q. We know that his name is given to the Clerk to the
8 who says that Ann Taylor does not want it like that, she
9 would rather a press statement was made.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Were you aware of that?
12 A. I was aware of that and I was aware that they formed
13 background as to why we went down the press statement
15 Q. Right.
16 A. I think my own view was that it was always likely we
17 would have to go down that route, but Ann Taylor's
18 response confirmed that.
19 Q. Right. Why did you think it always likely you were
20 going to have to go down the press statement route?
21 A. Because I thought that everybody concerned would be
22 anxious to avoid any suggestion of a cover-up.
23 Q. Right. I have asked questions of --
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. -- others about that. Will I be forgiven by you if
1 not go through the same questions?
2 A. You will be forgiven by me.
3 Q. Did you have any input into the drafting of the MoD
4 press statement that went out that night? We have heard
5 about this from Mr Smith. It rather seems, from what he
6 was saying, that it was on his computer.
7 A. It was on his computer, and, because he had been dealing
8 with it in the morning, I was content to leave him to
9 in the lead on it. Again, I do not think I need detain
10 you because I think my contribution was making
11 suggestions about wording rather than detail.
12 Q. Just minor contributions?
13 A. Minor contributions. I was quite content with the way
14 that the process was going. One of the points I should
15 make about that however, I think it is quite an
16 important point, is that Jonathan Powell did emphasise
17 to Sir Kevin Tebbit before he went back to the MoD that
18 the MoD had to be 100 per cent content with the press
19 release and that it reflected MoD thinking before it
20 went out. In other words, it was an MoD press release,
21 it was not a No. 10 press release.
22 Q. Right. And we know that Ms Teare went back. We heard
23 from her yesterday.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did you have any involvement in the defensive Q and
1 that we have seen?
2 A. No. Again, I did see it but I made no contribution
4 Q. And on 9th July, at CAB/1/85, there is a Lobby briefing.
5 Is there anything to which you were party?
6 A. Yes, the Lobby briefing -- sorry. Something has come
7 on the screen.
8 Q. This is an e-mail from you to John Scarlett:
9 "Clare S ...", who is that?
10 A. Clare Sumner.
11 Q. "... asked me to point out that I said at Lobby
12 morning that there is no discrepancy between the source
13 and Gilligan over how long they have known each other
14 the source has briefed, properly, G and others for
15 years, but only met as an individual one-to-one for
16 months. I gather this might be important for the ISC
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. What were you being told about this?
20 A. I think it is important to set the context, if I may,
21 for this Lobby briefing.
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. That context had been set by the BBC response to the
24 statement the night before, which had challenged two key
25 parts of the MoD statement, one of which was the fact
1 that the MoD statement said, as reflected here, that the
2 source or the official had known Mr Gilligan for months.
3 The BBC said it had been for years. That is one reason
4 why I thought the MoD had got the wrong person.
5 The other point was that the BBC said their source
6 did not work for the MoD; and those were two key points
7 which I felt I was going to have to deal with at that
9 Q. And then you, I think, dealt with it at that stage?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. The MoD statement has been made the night before; the
12 defensive Q and A material is being deployed throughout
13 the day by the MoD. You, I think we were told by
14 Mr Smith, were the duty officer on that day?
15 A. Yes, I was.
16 Q. And did you get any telephone calls on this subject?
17 A. Do you mean following the BBC statement on the --
18 Q. Well, following the MoD statement and indeed following
19 the BBC statement.
20 A. Yes, I did. I was frankly somewhat surprised at the
21 speed of the BBC response; and by its content. On first
22 reading, I thought it meant that we had got the wrong
23 person. On second reading, I felt it was more ambiguous
24 and it was what I would call a non-denial denial. So
25 I got calls from journalists asking for a response and
1 I said I was not able to give a detailed rebuttal but
2 I did feel it was a non-denial denial, and most of them
3 agreed with that analysis. I knew, however, I was going
4 to have to answer questions on the following day on the
5 detailed points and so it turned out to be.
6 Q. Were you involved in deploying the defensive Q and
8 A. No, I saw the defensive Q and A material as a matter
9 the MoD rather than us to get into. Because this was an
10 MoD official because he was being dealt with under MoD
11 personnel procedures, I felt it better, frankly, that
12 they deal with the defensive Q and A, rather than
14 Q. We know that during the course of the 9th July his
15 is obtained by various journalists. Were you party to
16 that process at all?
17 A. No. I was asked questions at the Lobby and I tried
18 I felt uncomfortable doing the Lobbies that day because
19 I think I was trying to juggle a number of different
20 pressures, if you like. I was trying to juggle the need
21 to try to protect Dr Kelly's name for as long as
22 possible, though, again, I was aware that Dr Kelly had
23 accepted that his name would become public.
24 Q. Who had told you that?
25 A. Kevin Tebbit. I had heard at one of the meetings.
1 Q. He had said that?
2 A. He had said that.
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. I accepted that as a realistic assessment of my own
5 judgment as to what might happen.
6 So I was trying to protect Dr Kelly's identity. But
7 I was also trying to clarify the apparent discrepancies
8 between the MoD statement and the BBC's response to it.
9 And I was also being asked questions by journalists as
10 well. So I was trying to juggle, if you like, a number
11 of different pressures.
12 Q. We then come to the 10th July. His name is out and
13 has been invited to go to the ISC and FAC.
14 A. Yes. Yes.
15 Q. Can I take you to a document, CAB/1/93.
16 This is an e-mail from Jonathan Powell to
17 Clare Sumner but it is copied to the PMOS. Does that
18 mean you and Godric Smith share an e-mail box as well?
19 A. Well, what tends to happen is we are both copied into
20 the same e-mails.
21 Q. Right. What is said is:
22 "Tried PM out on Kelly before FAC and ISC next
23 Tuesday. He thought he probably had to do both but need
24 to be properly prepared beforehand. I passed this on to
25 the MoD."
1 That is 14.50. If we look to the top of the page
2 there is a response within two minutes. I accept it is
3 obviously a short response but, put in that context, you
4 appear to e-mail back to Jonathan Powell and say this:
5 "This is now a game of chicken with the Beeb -- the
6 only way they will shift is they see the screw
8 Can you explain to his Lordship what you meant by
10 A. Well, I would stress that the language is one, you
11 that, if you put out of context and up on a screen like
12 this, is not one that perhaps I would normally use but
13 I was talking to a close colleague with whom I talk on
14 a very regular basis, and one whom, in particular, I had
15 talked a lot to about this issue.
16 I had, throughout this whole dispute, been of the
17 view that we should try and look out for any way at all
18 of de-escalating the dispute consistent with getting the
19 original charge corrected. I had done that through my
20 private conversation with Richard Sambrook, through my
21 strong support for Alastair Campbell's initiative in
22 sending a letter to the BBC governors before their
23 meeting, but also by consistently talking to Jonathan
24 about whether there was any possibility of the BBC
25 taking a step back, not backing down but taking a step
2 However, by Thursday 10th July we had seen, in very
3 quick succession, the very rapid response of the BBC to
4 the MoD statement. We had also seen the
5 Defence Secretary's initiative in sending the name
6 privately to the BBC Chairman rejected; and we had also
7 seen David Kelly's name becoming public, and the BBC
8 still saying that they were not going to shift their
10 So I think it was at that point I felt the penny
11 finally dropped with me, if you like, that I could not
12 see a way of resolving this issue in a private, quiet
13 way, it was going to have to be through a public debate.
14 That is what I meant I think by saying "this is now
15 a game of chicken". It did not mean I regarded it
16 a game but it was something that I did not think we were
17 going to be capable of private resolution.
18 Q. How were you going to tighten the screw?
19 A. Well, tightening the screw I meant by continue to keep
20 the focus on the narrow issues I had highlighted in my
21 Lobby of 26th June and on establishing the facts. As
22 I said, I had come reluctantly to the view that the BBC
23 genuinely believed their story was true, partly because
24 of my conversation with Richard Sambrook, and therefore
25 what we were confronted with was a genuine belief on
1 their part which could only be challenged by the facts
2 becoming known and therefore we had to keep trying to
3 establish the facts.
4 Q. This is a comment made in the context of Dr Kelly
5 appearing before the two Committees?
6 A. Well, at that stage --
7 Q. Looking at the e-mail, is it not?
8 A. Well, at that stage, the only way in which I thought
9 facts could be established was by saying what version
10 events, if you like, was correct.
11 LORD HUTTON: That would involve Dr Kelly giving evidence
12 the Committee, would it?
13 A. Well, my Lord, I always believed that once his name
14 became known that the pressure for him to appear before
15 the Foreign Affairs Committee would be inescapable,
16 particularly given the pressure that they had mounted
17 for Alastair Campbell to appear before the same
18 Committee. Dr Kelly had become one of the two key
19 players in this episode; and therefore I thought it
20 unlikely that the Foreign Affairs Committee would accept
21 he should not appear before them.
22 MR DINGEMANS: I mean, just trying these propositions with
23 you -- at this stage you had the ISC report. We have
24 seen extracts from that in Alastair Campbell's letter
25 12th June which effectively said the intelligence
1 justified the inclusion of the 45 minutes claim.
2 On the Monday you had the FAC report. Now, the ISC
3 report had not been widely publicised, Alastair Campbell
4 complained about that in his letter. We have had the
5 FAC report and Alastair Campbell tells us that was not
6 good enough because that was split on party political
7 lines. Were you aware that was his view?
8 A. Yes, I was aware that was his view, that it would have
9 been better had the Committee produced a unanimous
11 Q. And we have had the governors' report from the BBC
12 I think the view in Downing Street was that was slightly
13 mealy mouthed and still purported to support the
14 original broadcast.
15 A. Yes, I think the governors' meeting -- I will be honest
16 and say I was disappointed in the governors' meeting
17 because I did see it as one of the opportunities that
18 could have been grasped for what I termed privately an
19 exit strategy.
20 Q. We know, because you told us and others have told us,
21 that the Government perceived this as a very significant
22 charge. We know Dr Kelly has come forward and we now
23 know he is going to be put before the ISC and the FAC.
24 We also know this: if you interview Dr Kelly as
25 Mr Hatfield did, he is going to say: I did meet him,
1 I did say some things but I do not know whether I am the
2 source. Mr Hatfield concluded on 4th July: no, you are
3 not the source.
4 In fact if you put him before the FAC without
5 knowing whether or not he is the source, the FAC are
6 likely to conclude that he is not the source, and indeed
7 that is what he did.
8 Is this an answer to the question about what this
9 game of chicken is: that effectively you are now at
10 a stage of trying to get the BBC to confirm that
11 Dr Kelly is the source of Mr Gilligan's story?
12 A. Well, firstly I would emphasise again I did not regard
13 it as a game, anything but --
14 Q. Sorry, strategy then, if you would prefer?
15 A. No, I do not recognise a strategy either. Where I had
16 always been was I thought that we had to establish the
17 facts, because I understood the facts to be that the
18 story was wrong; and therefore the reason why I thought
19 that it was inevitable that Dr Kelly would have to
20 appear before the FAC was my reading of the pressure
21 that would come from the FAC Committee members, and in
22 terms that is why I thought it was inevitable.
23 LORD HUTTON: But I think, Mr Kelly, Mr Dingemans is putting
24 a slightly different point to you, which was that if you
25 considered that Dr Kelly by giving his account could
1 show that Mr Gilligan's report was wrong, how could you
2 think that when Mr Hatfield considered that he was not
3 the source and it turned out that the FAC, themselves,
4 later thought also that he was not the source?
5 A. I think what had changed was that Martin Howard, who
6 I had known as director of communications in the
7 Ministry of Defence, had himself become convinced that
8 Dr Kelly was the source. I accept that I knew that
9 Dr Kelly himself continued to suggest that he could not
10 see how he was the source.
11 But I think the underlying point I would make would
12 be that in a sense I suppose my view was it was not for
13 us to judge whether he was or was not, at that point,
14 but we did believe that there was a genuine reason to
15 believe that he could well be; and given that belief it
16 would have been wrong constitutionally for us not to
17 make that fact known; and then it would seem to me
18 highly likely that the FAC, in those circumstances,
19 would want to question Dr Kelly.
20 MR DINGEMANS: We know that Dr Kelly then does give evidence
21 and the BBC have not confirmed, by this stage, as they
22 do later, that he is the source. And so this strategy
23 does not work. The FAC write a letter, quite an
24 intemperate letter, saying: you have not treated this
25 man well and we do not think it is the source.
1 That was always likely to happen, was it not, unless
2 the BBC had confirmed by the time he gave evidence that
3 he was the source?
4 A. It was always a possibility but, again, I think that
5 would have been wrong for us to have used that as
6 a reason for Dr Kelly not to appear at the FAC.
7 Q. We know that you, at one stage, became aware of
8 Dr Kelly's name. When was that?
9 A. Again, I cannot honestly be clear in my own mind at
10 stage it was on the Tuesday or Wednesday.
11 Q. But around then?
12 A. Around that time. I have racked my brain but I cannot
13 actually remember. I think it was more likely the
14 Wednesday but I cannot say that for sure.
15 Q. What were you told about Dr Kelly's qualifications
16 involvement in the dossier?
17 A. What I was told is what was in the Ministry of Defence
18 statement, that he was a WMD expert, that he was not an
19 intelligence expert, that he was not a member of the
20 Senior Civil Service, that he was not a member of the
21 Defence Intelligence Staff. And frankly, in arguing the
22 case, what he was not was more important to me than what
23 he was.
24 Q. So did you know he had seen the draft of the dossier
25 dated 5th September?
1 A. No I did not.
2 Q. Did you know he had taken part in the meeting on
3 19th September when detailed comments were sent back on
4 the draft?
5 A. No, I did not.
6 Q. Because, can I now take you to an event which happened
7 after Dr Kelly's death? It is CAB/16/3.
8 LORD HUTTON: Mr Dingemans, we are at 4.25.
9 MR DINGEMANS: My Lord, I think I have five more minutes.
10 LORD HUTTON: Very well.
11 MR DINGEMANS: I am grateful my Lord. This was a report
12 the Independent on Monday 4th August. It suggested
14 "Downing Street would seek to defend itself over
15 death of David Kelly by portraying the scientist as a
16 'Walter Mitty' character who exaggerated his own role
17 the Government's intelligence case against Iraq."
18 We will come on to what you actually said. At the
19 time that the briefing or discussions that gave rise to
20 this report were made, had you at this stage any further
21 details of Dr Kelly's own role in the drafting of the
23 A. No, I did not. What I had been told and what I had
24 checked repeatedly was whether it was still correct to
25 say that Dr Kelly was not centrally involved in
1 decisions surrounding the dossier; and I was told that
2 that was correct, that it was wrong to say that he was
3 centrally involved in the decisions surrounding the
4 dossier, and that, therefore, he would not have been in
5 a position to make the kind of judgments that
6 Andrew Gilligan implied.
7 Q. Can I take you to CAB/16/2, which is your statement?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Just pick it up first of all at the third paragraph.
10 A. Sorry, I do not have that.
11 Q. Sorry, it is on the screen.
12 A. No, not my statement.
13 Q. On your screen. CAB/16/2.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. The third paragraph:
16 "I deeply regret, therefore, that what I thought
17 a private conversation with a journalist last week has
18 led to further public controversy."
19 Was this conversation attributable, unattributable,
20 off the record? We have heard all sorts of descriptions
21 of discussions.
22 A. It was a background discussion which my understanding
23 was that it would not appear anywhere. But could
24 I maybe my Lord just --
25 Q. I think what we heard from journalists before was that
1 background discussions were not to be attributed, not
2 even to be sourced but could be used as it were for
3 information for the future; is that right on background
5 A. No, the way in which I understood what I was saying
6 that I did not want to be quoted in any way at any stage
7 about this story; and that particularly because
8 the Inquiry was about to sit.
9 Q. Did you want to influence, at the least, the thinking
10 the journalist? I mean, otherwise, why say it?
11 A. I wanted simply the journalist to be aware of the
12 possible questions and issues from the Government's
13 perspective. I was not expecting what I said to be
14 reported in any way. It was a mistake, as I admit in
15 the statement, even to have been sucked into that
16 conversation or to be drawn into that conversation, and
17 I accept that it was a mistake to have had those kinds
18 of conversations in that climate; and, as I said on the
19 day after this article appeared, I unreservedly
20 apologise to the Kelly family that words of mine intrude
21 into their grief at that time. Whatever my motives, it
22 was a mistake that led to that intrusion and I have to
23 take responsibility for that mistake.
24 Q. Can I just ask you this: does your e-mail that we saw,
25 the game of chicken e-mail, or this statement that you
1 made, in the circumstances you have described, reflect
2 at all the mindset of No. 10 in relation to any of these
4 A. The answer to that is: no. I think the game of chicken
5 e-mail, I think I have explained the context in which
6 I made that comment, which was at the end of the period
7 in which I had been privately arguing within No. 10 that
8 we should try to hold the door open for as long as
9 possible for any BBC step back, and very reluctantly
10 I had come to the conclusion that that was not going to
11 be possible and in an internal e-mail to a colleague
12 I expressed that frustration.
13 Again, if I was going to do it again perhaps I would
14 not have used that analogy, but it was not meant to
15 suggest that I thought either for myself that this was
16 a game or that within No. 10 it was thought to be
17 a game.
18 Q. Is there anything else that you know about the
19 circumstances surrounding Dr Kelly's death that you can
20 assist his Lordship with?
21 A. No. Thank you for your time.
22 Q. Is there anything else you would like to add?
23 A. No.
24 MR DINGEMANS: I am sorry, my Lord, about the time.
25 LORD HUTTON: No. Thank you very much. We will rise now
1 and sit again at 10.30 tomorrow morning.
2 (4.30 pm)
3 (Hearing adjourned until 10.30 am the following day)
3 SIR KEVIN REGINALD TEBBIT (called) ............... 1
5 Examined by MR DINGEMANS ..................... 1
7 MR GODRIC WILLIAM NAYLOR SMITH ................... 110
10 Examined by MR KNOX .......................... 110
12 MR SAMUEL THOMAS KELLY (called) .................. 178
14 Examined by MR DINGEMANS ..................... 178