1 Tuesday, 23rd September 2003
2 (10.15 am)
3 MR TOM KELLY (called)
4 LORD HUTTON: Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Yes. Sit
5 down Mr Kelly.
6 Examined by MR SUMPTION
7 LORD HUTTON: Yes Mr Sumption.
8 MR SUMPTION: Mr Kelly, we have heard evidence from
9 Mr Godric Smith about a suggestion by Alastair Campbell
10 on the evening of 7th July that a newspaper should be
11 briefed in advance of the Prime Minister's appearance
12 before the Liaison Committee with the fact that someone
13 had come forward as a possible source. Were you,
14 yourself, present when Mr Campbell made a suggestion on
15 that subject?
16 A. No, I was not.
17 Q. There is a difference of recollection as to exactly what
18 was said, whether it related to briefing a newspaper or
19 the press generally. What did you first hear about it
20 and from whom?
21 A. Godric Smith came back into the room where he and
22 I share an office, sitting opposite each other; and
23 Godric said that Alastair had suggested getting the fact
24 that someone had come forward out into the press. Now,
25 I am not clear, in my own mind, as to what form Godric
1 suggested that that would take place but he and I had
2 a very quick conversation and both agreed that it was
3 not a good idea.
4 Q. Why did you not think it was a good idea?
5 A. Because I think it was better that we let events take
6 their course and I thought it was premature. I also
7 thought that whenever we did reveal the knowledge we
8 should do it in the right way, rather than seem to
9 pre-empt it in any way.
10 Q. What did you regard as the right way?
11 A. The right way I regarded to let the MoD procedure go
12 forward, because that was what the Prime Minister had
13 insisted on all the way through; that the MoD procedures
14 should be allowed to take their course and that the MoD
15 should be allowed to make the announcement in the way
16 that they wanted; and I understood that statement was
17 being prepared.
18 Q. Did you discuss your view with Mr Campbell?
19 A. Well, Alastair had left No. 10 at that point, so Godric
20 contacted him on his mobile phone and we put the call on
21 speaker phone; and we had what was a very short
22 conversation in which we both said that we did not think
23 it was a good idea and Alastair immediately accepted
24 that the idea should not go forward.
25 What I should stress is that what we were discussing
1 was whether we should do this rather than the detail of
2 how we might do it; and I think also what is important
3 is to recognise that this all took place in a matter of
4 a few moments. In fact, my memory of it was so fleeting
5 that until Godric mentioned it to this Inquiry I had
6 entirely forgotten the conversation.
7 Q. I would like to turn to the Lobby briefings at 9th July
8 of this year, Mr Kelly.
9 We know that there are two Lobby briefings each week
10 day and that you and Godric Smith do them on alternate
11 days. Can you summarise for us the format of these
12 meetings? Can we get some idea of the way that they
13 work and their atmosphere?
14 A. Well my job as Prime Minister's Official Spokesman is to
15 represent the views of the Prime Minister on the events
16 of the day; and to answer questions on the
17 Prime Minister's behalf at Lobby. The Lobby consists of
18 anything between 20 and maybe even up to as many as 50
19 journalists in any day asking questions. It can range
20 in duration from 15 minutes to an hour. There is no
21 restriction on the number of questions and there is no
22 restriction on the subject matter. So, you can be asked
23 about the full range of Government policy.
24 Q. What do you have to do in order to be prepared to deal
25 with this?
1 A. Obviously I have to identify what the likely questions
2 are going to be; find out (a) the Prime Minister's view,
3 if that is relevant; (b) find out information from the
4 departments; and work out what it is I can say.
5 However, I would stress that no matter how much you
6 prepare, you are not going to be able to anticipate
7 every question that you are going to be asked. So quite
8 a lot is thinking on your feet.
9 Q. What happens if you do not know the answer to
10 a question?
11 A. Well, that frankly depends on the seriousness of the
12 issue. If it is what the press judge to be one of the
13 main stories of the day and you do not know the answer
14 then that is obviously thought to be a major failing and
15 there is always the danger that they will interpret the
16 fact that you do not know as either No. 10 distancing
17 itself from the policy or as an inconsistency or lack of
18 clarity about the policy.
19 Q. When you began to prepare for the Lobby briefings on
20 9th July, what were the matters that you expected to be
21 asked about?
22 A. Well, obviously, the MoD statement which had been issued
23 on the evening beforehand was going to be the major
24 subject; but that was very much going to be conditioned
25 by the BBC statement which had been issued just an hour
1 afterwards, which had called into question two of the
2 central elements of the MoD statement.
3 Q. What elements had that statement called into question?
4 A. Well, what they had called into question was the fact
5 that Mr Gilligan, the MoD had said, had known or the
6 official who had come forward had known Mr Gilligan for
7 a matter of months; the BBC said it had been longer than
8 that, it had been for years; and also the BBC stated
9 that the official -- Mr Gilligan's source -- did not
10 work for the MoD.
11 Q. What issues did those two statements give rise to that
12 you thought were liable to provoke questions?
13 A. Well, clearly that the underlying theme was that the MoD
14 statement lacked credibility, because if it was wrong
15 about where the person worked, if it was wrong about how
16 long the source had known Mr Gilligan, then the whole
17 credibility of the MoD statement was at risk. If the
18 whole credibility of the MoD statement was at risk then
19 the idea that this official might be Mr Gilligan's
20 source was completely at stake.
21 Q. What information did you seek in order to deal with the
22 questions that you anticipated on that point?
23 A. I sought -- at the 8.30 morning media meeting in No. 10,
24 I identified these two issues as two issues which I was
25 going to have to address and I sought clarification of
1 what the answers to those issues were from the FCO and
2 the MoD; and I made it clear that, obviously, the
3 answers I would have to give at 11 o'clock.
4 Q. Can you just tell us what information you obtained from
5 the FCO and the MoD in preparation for the Lobby?
6 A. In terms of who paid for or which Department, rather,
7 Dr Kelly worked for, I was told that he worked for the
8 MoD but that his salary was paid for by the FCO. The
9 FCO made it clear to me that I could say that so long as
10 I did not imply that he was a permanent member of the
11 FCO staff because they did not want suspicion falling on
12 members of the FCO. And in terms of the salary,
13 I learned both from the MoD, I think, and from
14 Jonathan Powell in an e-mail that the reason why there
15 was a discrepancy over how long Dr Kelly had known
16 Mr Gilligan was because that Dr Kelly had given press
17 briefings which Andrew Gilligan had attended for
18 a number of years.
19 Q. Yes. What were your objectives in dealing with possible
20 questions from Lobby journalists? Did you go into the
21 Lobby briefings intending to make it easier to identify
22 Dr Kelly?
23 A. Well, I have to stress that at no point did I try to
24 give information or drop clues which I thought would
25 lead to Dr Kelly's identification. There was no --
1 Q. If I can just stop you there, I am going to take you to
2 the actual briefings in a moment. At the moment I would
3 just like to be clear about the intentions that you had
4 in mind when you went into that briefing before you said
6 A. Well, the BBC statement had created considerable
7 difficulty for me and I was under no illusion about the
8 difficulties I faced. I had to balance what I thought
9 were a number of competing pressures. I genuinely
10 wanted to try to protect Dr Kelly's identity as much as
11 possible but I had to explain the discrepancies between
12 the BBC statement and the MoD statement; and I had to do
13 so without misleading the Lobby, which is the golden
14 rule for Prime Minister's Official Spokesman, you cannot
15 mislead the Lobby. One other factor was that I did not
16 want to implicate anybody else as being the possible
17 source because that would put suspicion on other people
18 as well.
19 Q. If we could have CAB/1/506, please, this is the morning
20 briefing on 9th July. Can you summarise for us how much
21 information you gave out about the source in the morning
22 briefing, which was not already in the public domain?
23 LORD HUTTON: Could I just ask you Mr Kelly, I think we have
24 already been given evidence, but just remind me of it:
25 is this a summary or a note kept by someone of what you
1 said in the course of the Lobby briefing?
2 A. It is a summary which is prepared after the Lobby
3 briefing, which I then check for accuracy.
4 LORD HUTTON: Prepared by an official in No. 10?
5 A. Prepared by an official in No. 10.
6 MR SUMPTION: It is prepared from tapes or from a shorthand
8 A. It is prepared from tapes.
9 Q. How much information did you give out in the morning
10 briefing which was not already in the public domain?
11 A. Well, my intention was to give information but to do so
12 in as limited a way as possible to address the
13 discrepancies between the MoD statement and the BBC
14 statement. So, I identified that I thought the
15 important information was partly what this person was
16 not. So I stressed that the source was not a member of
17 the Intelligence Service, that the person was not
18 a member of military intelligence; and also I put the
19 importance of that because the BBC had placed so much
20 onus on that.
21 What I did try to explain was the discrepancy over
22 which Department the person worked for, by explaining
23 that he worked for the MoD but his salary was paid for
24 by another Department, but despite repeated questioning
25 I did not say which Department that was; and I also
1 explained the discrepancy over how long Dr Kelly had
2 known Mr Gilligan by saying that the person concerned
3 had known Andrew Gilligan in a number of different
4 guises, in a number of different ways over the years.
5 I deliberately chose that euphemism to try to give as
6 little information away as possible, whereas what
7 I actually knew was that Mr Gilligan and Dr Kelly had
8 come across each other in press briefings over the
9 years. I thought that was too specific, so I chose the
10 phrase "different guises".
11 Q. Yes. You have the morning briefing notes open. If
12 there is anything you particularly wish to draw our
13 attention to to fill out that summary, this is your or
14 an opportunity to do so.
15 A. The one point I would like to underline is -- well,
16 there are two points really. Firstly, the impact of the
17 BBC statement is obvious from the second paragraph of
18 the summary, in which I am asked three times in the one
19 paragraph how the source that we have identified, the
20 person who had come forward, could possibly be
21 Mr Gilligan's source, given what the BBC have said in
22 response. So the effect of the BBC statement had been
23 to seriously call into question the MoD's statement.
24 That I had to deal with.
25 Secondly, the other issue, if I may deal with it, is
1 in the middle of the first paragraph where I say that
2 I address the question of the position of the source.
3 As long ago as 4th June, a few days after we had
4 returned from Iraq, I had identified the position of the
5 source as being a key issue. I did so because my
6 understanding was that only a member of the JIC had the
7 full intelligence picture on which to make the kind of
8 claim that the Today Programme had done. That is why
9 I thought it was important to stress that the official
10 who turned out to be Dr Kelly could not have been in
11 a position to make that claim.
12 Q. I want to turn to the afternoon briefing. That starts
13 at CAB/1/511. I do not want to take you through the
14 whole of these rather long notes but if you look at the
15 bottom of 511 and over to the middle of 512, and at
16 pages 513 and the top of page 514, and then at the last
17 paragraph to begin on page 514, you will find that you
18 gave out more information in the afternoon briefing than
19 you had done in the morning.
20 A. Again, I think what was important was that I knew I was
21 going to come under persistent questioning, and indeed
22 I did so. In the morning briefing and in the afternoon
23 briefing I deliberately drew a line forward, a defensive
24 line, if you like, forward of my actual state of
25 knowledge and, therefore, what I tried to do was give
1 away as little information as possible. Hence my
2 description of Dr Kelly as a technical expert, because
3 I thought if I described him as a WMD expert I would get
4 persistent questioning on what kind of WMD expert, where
5 he was, et cetera.
6 Again, in the afternoon, I got persistent
7 questioning on why we would not say what Department paid
8 for his salary and hence I tried to give away as little
9 information as possible. But inevitably I did give away
10 some information but I do not believe that that actually
11 helped any of the journalists identify Dr Kelly.
12 Q. Can you summarise the additional information that you
13 gave out in the afternoon briefing which you had not
14 given out in the morning and which was not in the public
16 A. The information I think I gave out in the afternoon
17 briefing was the reason why I refused to say which
18 Department paid for his salary, which was that there
19 were only a few people who were paid in this way and
20 therefore that is why I could not give it out because
21 they would be able to identify Dr Kelly. I felt I had
22 to do that because otherwise the Lobby would think that
23 there was something underhand about us refusing to say.
24 I had to give them an explanation. There are times in
25 the Lobby when assertion is not enough.
1 It was also put to me that was this person
2 a secondee. If I had refused to address that issue the
3 assumption would be -- because people were putting to me
4 that this person worked for the FCO or was paid for by
5 the FCO, the assumption would be that he was a diplomat.
6 I could not let that assumption rest because the FCO had
7 made it very plain to me in the morning that they did
8 not want people to assume he was a diplomat because they
9 thought suspicion would fall on other people. So I had
10 to describe him as a consultant. I thought consultant
11 was a very vague term and I did not think it would help
12 people identify Dr Kelly.
13 Q. Did you need and, if so, did you have authority to give
14 out the information about Dr Kelly which you did give in
15 answering questions at these two briefings?
16 A. Well, I prepared for this Lobby in the same way that
17 I prepared for all Lobbies, in that I asked Departments
18 for information, Departments came back with information;
19 and as with any other Lobby, if they had intended
20 I should not give out that information I would have
21 expected them to tell me before the Lobby.
22 At the 8.30 meeting I was clear about the
23 information I was seeking; and it is understood at that
24 meeting you only ask for information if you are going to
25 use it and it is for people to flag up if there are
2 LORD HUTTON: Can I just ask you: apart from asking the
3 departments for information, did you have any discussion
4 with any official in No. 10 or in the Ministry of
5 Defence about the particular line you would take if you
6 were asked about the source?
7 A. No, I did not have any particular discussion, but that
8 would not be normal practice, in that I would expect the
9 departments to clear within their systems, as indeed
10 they did, what could be said and what could not be said,
11 my Lord.
12 LORD HUTTON: Yes.
13 MR SUMPTION: The suggestion has been made that Dr Kelly was
14 some kind of pawn in a game that you were playing with
15 the press. What do you say about that?
16 A. Absolutely not. There were lots of pressures on
17 everybody at this time, but I genuinely feel that I and
18 I do not believe others that I worked with lost sight of
19 that there was an individual caught up in this
20 controversy, in the middle of it, and that therefore we
21 had to respect that individual. At the same time, there
22 was a logic of events which stretched back to 29th May
23 which unfortunately, and I did not like that logic, but
24 there was a logic which was working its way through.
25 Now, there were times whenever if the BBC had
1 stepped back, I think that logic could have been
2 stopped, but as the effect of the BBC statement on what
3 I had to do on the 9th June showed, it was very
4 difficult to get out of the pressure of those events.
5 Q. Finally, Mr Kelly, if I can turn to one matter arising
6 after Dr Kelly's death. You have already made your
7 position clear, very publicly, on the Walter Mitty
8 remarks and you have apologised without reservation for
9 that. What I want to ask you is this: it has been
10 suggested that what you said on that occasion about
11 Dr Kelly was part of a broader plan on the part of the
12 Government or yourself to belittle him, so that his
13 disclosures to Andrew Gilligan would seem less
14 significant. Do you have any comment to make about
16 A. Well, I was not aware of or part of any strategy to
17 demean or belittle Dr Kelly. I have accepted that my
18 remark was wrong, it was a mistake, it was a too
19 colourful phrase to use, but it was a mistake in what
20 I thought was a private conversation. It was not part
21 of any broad strategy and I would not have been part of
22 any broad strategy.
23 MR SUMPTION: Thank you very much.
24 Cross-examined by MR GOMPERTZ
25 Q. Can we go to the Lobby, please, Mr Kelly? I am sorry,
1 but I have been working off another version of these
2 documents in the papers which are at CAB/1/220.
3 I wonder if you could have that on the screen, please.
4 Can we go to the bottom of the page on CAB/1/220 and let
5 me indicate to you that that is an extract from the 3.45
7 You have this in the very last line of that page:
8 "Put to him that the person did not work for the
9 MoD, the PMOS said that the person was a technical
10 expert who had worked for a variety of Government
11 Departments, including the MoD with whom he was
12 currently working."
13 I will just pause there. The phrase "technical
14 expert" was not one, I think, which had been used
15 before, save at the 11 am Lobby; is that right?
16 A. That is right.
17 Q. I do not take any quarrel with you over that because in
18 the statement which had been issued the night before,
19 Dr Kelly had been described as "the individual is an
20 expert on WMD"; right?
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. Let us look at the rest of that sentence:
23 "... who had worked for a variety of Government
25 That was new, was it not?
1 A. That was new, yes.
2 Q. Why was it necessary to say that?
3 A. To explain the discrepancy between the MoD statement and
4 the BBC statement. It was put to me in the morning and
5 the afternoon I think a total of seven times that the
6 BBC statement and the discrepancy it had highlighted
7 over who Dr Kelly worked for meant that the official who
8 had come forward could not possibly be Andrew Gilligan's
9 source. The only way in which to correct that
10 misleading information was to explain that, as I say,
11 this individual had worked for a variety of Government
12 Departments including the MoD with whom he was currently
13 working. If I had not provided an explanation, I think
14 the MoD statement would have been discredited.
15 Q. You go on to state that the variety of Government
16 Departments included the MoD with whom he was currently
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Well, again, that was nothing new, was it?
20 A. No.
21 Q. That had appeared in the statement the day before.
22 "His salary was paid by another Department."
23 Was that new?
24 A. That was new.
25 Q. Why was it necessary to say that?
1 A. To provide an explanation as to why the BBC might have
2 thought that he did not work for the MoD.
3 Q. "Asked if it was correct to describe the person as being
4 on secondment to the MoD, the PMOS said that the nature
5 of his work meant that he was more of a consultant than
6 a secondee."
7 That was new, was it not?
8 A. That was new, yes.
9 Q. I will ask you the same question: why was it necessary
10 to say that?
11 A. Well, in the split second that I had to answer the
12 question I registered that if I allowed the impression
13 that he was a secondee to the FCO, I would be doing what
14 the FCO had asked me not to do which was to give the
15 impression that this person might be a diplomat and
16 therefore I would be drawing more people into the net of
17 suspicion. Therefore, I felt that I had to make
18 a distinction and I thought consultant was a vague term.
19 Q. Why could you not simply say "he does not work for the
20 MoD" or "he does work for the MoD" or whatever the
21 reality of the position was?
22 A. Because then it would have been a simple case of me
23 asserting that the BBC statement was wrong and long
24 experience has taught me that assertion does not work.
25 I also knew, from phone calls I had had before Lobby and
1 the seven questions I was asked in the morning and the
2 afternoon, that the Lobby was very sceptical that the
3 right person had come forward.
4 LORD HUTTON: Were these telephone calls from reporters?
5 A. These were telephone calls from reporters who have early
6 editions or were trying to find out if we were saying
7 anything before the Lobby. And what I had said to these
8 people was: wait for the Lobby, I will make the position
9 clear at Lobby. But, my Lord, what it highlighted was
10 I could not avoid addressing the discrepancies with the
11 BBC statement.
12 MR GOMPERTZ: You go on:
13 "Asked why we were so reluctant to say which
14 Department paid his salary, the PMOS said that providing
15 this information would make it easier to identify him
16 given the fact that there were only a few people who
17 were paid a salary by this particular Department but who
18 worked for other Departments."
19 Why was it necessary to say that?
20 A. Again, in the split second I had to answer I felt that
21 the Lobby, again, were making the fact that we would not
22 say which Department paid his salary into a reason to
23 discredit the MoD statement, not to believe it. So
24 I felt I had to provide some explanation. I did not
25 think that providing that explanation would help
1 identify Dr Kelly.
2 Q. That narrowed the field very considerably, did it not?
3 A. I did not believe it would do. I thought, as we all
4 thought all along, that the field was quite narrow
5 anyway. But I did not feel that that particular piece
6 of information would do, in the split second I had to
7 think about it.
8 Q. Could you look, please, at MoD/1/67 which is the
9 statement? The information which had already been given
10 the day before, apart from the fact that the individual
11 worked in the MoD, is contained in the third paragraph,
12 is it not?
13 A. It is.
14 Q. "The individual is an expert on WMD who has advised
15 Ministers on WMD..."
16 Just pausing there, did you know that Dr Kelly had
17 sat alongside Mr Jack Straw when he went to a Select
19 A. I had heard that.
20 Q. Well, did you know at the time?
21 A. I had heard that at the time.
22 Q. You had?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Yes. So that was a bit of a steer as to who this person
25 was, was it not?
1 A. Well, the MoD statement was drawn up by the MoD and
2 approved by Dr Kelly. I do not think it is for me to
3 comment on the MoD statement.
4 Q. Well, we will see how it was drawn up in a moment, but
5 would you agree with me that that is a pretty good steer
6 as to who this person was?
7 A. I think what the MoD were trying to do was get a balance
8 between publishing information which underlined that
9 they had a genuine reason to believe this might be
10 Andrew Gilligan's source at the same time as protecting
11 his identity.
12 LORD HUTTON: At the same time?
13 A. As protecting his identity. But it was that balance
14 which they were trying to achieve.
15 MR GOMPERTZ: The statement goes on:
16 "... and whose contribution to the dossier of
17 September 2002 was to contribute towards drafts of
18 historical accounts of UN inspections."
19 Did you know that Dr Kelly was a UN weapons
21 A. I knew that he was a UN weapons inspector, yes.
22 Q. Who better to contribute towards the historical aspect
23 of the dossier on UN inspections than a UN weapons
25 A. I have no disagreement with that.
1 Q. Again, I suggest to you a piece of information inserted
2 in the statement in this instance which indicated pretty
3 clearly, did it not, in which direction journalists
4 should look?
5 A. Well, I did not think it was intended as such. I think
6 it was intended as part of the balance which I have
7 already suggested to you.
8 Q. Can I put this suggestion to you: that if one combines
9 what you said, I realise chronologically not in the
10 right order, but what you said in the Lobby briefing
11 with what was in the MoD statement, there was a great
12 deal of information, I suggest, which would enable
13 a journalist who knew about such matters to identify the
14 person concerned very quickly?
15 A. Well, I think the problem is that we are talking about
16 two separate events. I had to respond to the questions
17 which journalists were asking as a result of the BBC
18 statement. If the BBC had not put out their statement,
19 I would not have had to respond to the questions. If
20 I had not responded to the questions, then the impact of
21 the BBC statement, as the seven questions I got during
22 the morning and the afternoon made clear, would have
23 been to totally discredit the MoD statement.
24 Q. So the problems were all of the BBC's making, were they?
25 A. I am simply explaining the context in which I had to
1 operate on the morning and the afternoon of 9th June.
2 As I have already said, I was under no illusion as to
3 the difficulty I had in balancing the competing
4 pressures that faced me that day. Those difficulties
5 were real and I was fully aware of them.
6 Q. You said that you prepared for this or these two Lobby
7 briefings as you had with all other Lobbies?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. And that you had sought information from the relevant
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. We are concerned here with the MoD, are we not?
13 A. The MoD and the FCO.
14 Q. Right. Let us concentrate on the MoD. From whom did
15 you seek information for this or these two Lobby
16 briefings at the MoD?
17 A. From the press office and -- the press office both in
18 the MoD and the FCO.
19 LORD HUTTON: The press office of MoD?
20 A. Of both the MoD and the FCO.
21 MR GOMPERTZ: Can you recollect to whom it was you spoke in
22 the MoD?
23 A. I cannot recollect precisely the conversation, no.
24 Q. That is not what I asked you. Can you identify the
25 person to whom you spoke?
1 A. I cannot identify either -- I cannot remember either the
2 precise conversation or who I had it with.
3 Q. Did you seek authority from anybody within No. 10 to
4 make these statements?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Did you --
7 LORD HUTTON: I beg your pardon, Mr Gompertz.
8 I had understood you to say that you sought this
9 information at the press meeting that was held every
10 morning at 8.30 am.
11 A. Yes.
12 LORD HUTTON: But did you also speak on the telephone to
13 anyone in the MoD?
14 A. My Lord, the operation would be that you would identify
15 at the 8.30 meeting the information that you were
16 seeking and then, during the morning, the information
17 would come back from the relevant Department.
18 LORD HUTTON: I see.
19 A. I am sure that at some point during the morning I talked
20 to the relevant people in the MoD.
21 LORD HUTTON: Yes. Thank you. On the telephone?
22 A. On the telephone, yes.
23 LORD HUTTON: Yes Mr Gompertz.
24 MR GOMPERTZ: What about within No. 10? Were your proposed
25 answers cleared with anybody?
1 A. Well, I did not clear my proposed answers; and secondly
2 I would underline that many of the answers I gave
3 I could not have predicted in advance because the line
4 of questioning you cannot predict in advance.
5 Q. I appreciate that. It is an evolving process.
6 A. It is.
7 Q. But nevertheless you knew the basic line that you were
8 going to take in answer to questions from journalists
9 about the features of the man who had come forward.
10 Now, did you discuss them with anybody before you
11 attended the briefing in the morning and again in the
13 A. Within No. 10, no, because it would be a matter for my
14 judgment as to what I said at Lobby, as with any other
16 Q. So you are accepting full responsibility, are you, for
17 what was said at those Lobby briefings?
18 A. I always accept responsibility for what I say at Lobby.
19 Q. Yes. One of the other things you said, if you would
20 kindly look, please, at CAB/1/219, was:
21 "... it had been suggested that Downing Street was
22 currently engaged in a 'knocking down process', meaning
23 that we would knock down each name that came up. That
24 was untrue."
25 Certainly Downing Street were not actually carrying
1 out that function, but there was a knocking down process
2 in operation, was there not?
3 A. Well, I think you are referring to the Q and A and could
4 I just point out that neither in the morning nor the
5 afternoon Lobby was the Q and A ever mentioned. The
6 line of attack coming from journalists was precisely the
7 reverse, which was that the BBC were suggesting that
8 what we were actually doing was putting names to the BBC
9 which they would then deny and we would get to the point
10 where they would not deny one and we would assume that
11 was the person concerned, in other words a smoking out
12 exercise. And if you actually drop down to the question
13 at the start of the next paragraph, which is:
14 "Asked if we would come up with another name to put
15 to the BBC if it turned out that the person who had come
16 forward was not their source..."
17 That, I think, underlines the point I am making.
18 Q. Did you not know about the Q and A brief which had been
20 A. I knew about the Q and A brief but I regarded that as
21 a matter for the MoD, because it was being done within
22 their procedures.
23 Q. So if the question had been that the MoD was engaged in
24 a knocking down process, would you have answered
1 A. Well, that is a speculative question. The question
2 I was asked was very specifically about the BBC.
3 Q. Can I go on? We have now had confirmed, if it is taken
4 at face value, in Mr Campbell's diary of 9th July that:
5 "... the biggest thing needed was the source out".
6 I wonder if you would look at CAB/39/2, please. If
7 we go down the page a bit, please, to 9th July, thank
8 you, do you see that phrase that I have just quoted in
9 the third line of the entry on 9th July?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. The 9th July was the very day on which you were
12 conducting these Lobby briefings.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What do you understand by that expression, "the biggest
15 thing needed was the source out"?
16 A. I think Alastair addressed the issue yesterday and
17 really I do not want to second guess what he said in his
18 diary, I do not think that is my role.
19 Q. If you think it is unfair because you were not there on
20 the occasion of the question on 9th July, perhaps you
21 would like to go to 7th July, higher up that same page,
22 the last entry before the date 8th July:
23 "GH wanted to get up source, TK..." that is you, is
24 it not?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. "... GS, felt best to wait until tomorrow and had to do
2 it right."
3 What does "get up source" mean there please?
4 A. Again, I think Alastair addressed that yesterday; but
5 I have explained the circumstances in which I became
6 involved earlier to Mr Sumption, which is Godric came
7 back from Alastair's office to say that there was
8 a suggestion that we get out the fact that an official
9 had come forward. Godric and I both felt this was not
10 the right way to do it. We had a short telephone
11 conversation with Alastair and he agreed.
12 Q. So did you ever meet with Mr Hoon on that day?
13 A. No.
14 Q. You cannot help us, then, about Mr Hoon's views about
15 what should happen?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Were they not relayed to you by Mr Campbell at any
19 A. No.
20 Q. Going back to 9th July, were you not party to any
21 discussion at all with Mr Campbell as to the fundamental
22 requirement which was that the identity of the source
23 should be revealed?
24 A. I was not.
25 Q. Because the whole purpose of the statement, the Lobby
1 briefings and the Q and A material is demonstrated in
2 these notes, is it not, Mr Kelly? Namely, that there
3 was a strategy to reveal Dr Kelly's name without
4 appearing to do so?
5 A. Categorically not.
6 Q. Can we go back to the statement for a moment? I would
7 ask you to look first, please, at MoD/17/02.
8 If I have it right -- I hope I have, because there
9 have been a number of versions -- this was a version
10 which came over to No. 10 Downing Street from the MoD.
11 Did you see this?
12 A. I may have seen it, but since Godric was dealing with
13 the drawing up of -- or he had been talking to the MoD
14 about the various drafts, I actually had largely left it
15 to him. I was present but I was not actually intimately
16 involved in the process of drawing up the MoD statement.
17 Q. Because there was quite a high powered drafting session
18 on that day, was there not, the 8th July?
19 A. There was a drafting session in Godric's room, yes, in
20 our room.
21 Q. In?
22 A. Our room.
23 Q. You share a room with Godric, do you?
24 A. I share a room with Godric, yes.
25 Q. So who else was present on this occasion?
1 A. From memory, Sir Kevin Tebbit, Alastair Campbell,
2 Jonathan Powell, Godric and myself.
3 Q. Yes. The statement was modified quite considerably, was
4 it not?
5 A. Again, in terms of the detail of how the statement
6 changed, I was not paying that close attention, so
7 I could not do a line by line analysis.
8 Q. Would you look, please, at CAB/1/56? I do not propose
9 to indulge in a line by line analysis but perhaps you
10 can help us to this extent. This appears to be, from
11 what is written in handwriting at the top, a version
12 which was produced on Mr Godric Smith's machine, "Saved
13 on Godric's machine 8/7/2003, 16:35". Yes?
14 A. Yes, I see that.
15 Q. "Created 12:35"?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. So is this right: it only reached its final form in
18 which it was saved at 16.35? Can you help us?
19 A. My memory is it reached its final form much earlier than
20 that. 16.35 would have been after Godric had done Lobby
21 that afternoon. So, it could not possibly -- the
22 drafting session did not go on through Godric doing
23 Lobby. Lobby begins at a quarter to 4. So this must
24 have been -- the drafting session must have ended
25 considerably before 15.45.
1 Q. I appreciate we are going to hear from Mr Smith shortly,
2 but can you help us as to how this version was
3 despatched to the MoD?
4 A. It was not despatched to the MoD.
5 Q. Was it not sent by e-mail?
6 A. Well, my memory is that Sir Kevin Tebbit took a version
7 of the statement away with him; and before he left the
8 room Jonathan Powell was very insistent that the MoD had
9 to be 100 per cent happy with the final version, because
10 it would be an MoD statement.
11 Q. So you cannot take it any further than that?
12 A. I cannot take it any further than that.
13 Q. Very well. Do you know Mr Tom Baldwin?
14 A. Yes, I do know Tom Baldwin.
15 Q. He wrote articles in the Times on the 8th and 9th
16 of July. Perhaps you would take that from me for the
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. I do not want to spend too much time on this, but he
20 told the Inquiry in evidence that those articles were
21 based on Whitehall sources. Was that you, by any
23 A. Well, I am not going to pretend to remember every single
24 conversation I had with a journalist at that time but
25 having looked at the articles in question, I do not
1 think it can have been me because it included
2 information which I did not know at the time or had not
3 taken in at the time, hence my initial reaction to the
4 BBC statement was that we might have got the wrong
6 Q. You have been asked, this morning, about what has been
7 described as the Walter Mitty smear.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. It is right that I should emphasise, once again, that
10 you have issued a statement about that description and
11 you have made an unreserved apology to the Kelly family,
12 which they acknowledge.
13 A. I am very grateful for that.
14 Q. But I want to ask you about how that description came to
15 be made to journalists. It was reported in the
16 Independent newspaper on 4th August in an article by
17 Mr Paul Waugh, was it not?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And was that as a result of a telephone conversation
20 with Mr Waugh?
21 A. Yes, it was. Paul Waugh phoned the office to talk to
22 me. I was out, a message was left on my computer for me
23 to phone him back, which I did.
24 Q. When you spoke to him, you came straight out with this
25 expression, did you not?
1 A. Well, I cannot remember the conversation, but I think
2 Paul Waugh has acknowledged in his article that I spoke
3 first of all about the Hutton Inquiry, because what
4 I was saying to all journalists at this stage was
5 because the Hutton Inquiry was about to begin, I did not
6 want to say anything which might prejudice that Inquiry
7 or be seen to comment on that Inquiry; and therefore
8 I was not saying anything on or off the record to
9 people, but purely talking on what I thought was
10 a totally background basis.
11 Q. So would this be a fair description: that you were
12 providing to Mr Waugh a menu of options which
13 the Inquiry might want to look at?
14 A. What I understood I was doing was what I had done with
15 several reporters, or senior political editors, which
16 was -- political editors at this time or serious
17 political correspondents were troubled by the death of
18 David Kelly, as we all were, and were trying to
19 understand the issues at the heart of what had led to
20 this tragedy.
21 Therefore, having made it clear, as I thought, that
22 I did not want to say anything which would be published
23 in any way, I did think it was part of my role to
24 underline the issues which I thought the Inquiry would
25 have to address, and central among those issues was the
1 question of the position of the alleged source and
2 whether that person was in a position to make the claim
3 or whether that person's view had been misrepresented.
4 Q. That is not quite how it was, Mr Kelly. Would you look,
5 please, at MED/7/1, which is an article on the following
6 Wednesday after the report by Mr Waugh. Do you have
7 a copy of that?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You have it on the screen -- both.
10 He talks about telephoning you and then in the first
11 column, the penultimate paragraph:
12 "To be fair to Tom Kelly, he did preface his remarks
13 by saying that, of course, it was up to Lord Hutton to
14 determine exactly what has happened. Fine [says
15 Mr Waugh], that's precisely what I'd expect him to say.
16 He suggested that one of the 'key issues' for
17 Lord Hutton's Inquiry would be whether Dr Kelly in any
18 way contributed to his own downfall.
19 "But beyond that preamble, Mr Kelly's first use of
20 the phrase 'Walter Mitty' was immediate. 'The guy was
21 a Walter Mitty,' he said."
22 Pausing there, do you agree with that account?
23 A. As I say, I cannot remember the conversation, I am not
24 going to pretend that I can. But having talked to other
25 journalists who I talked to at the time, their view of
1 what I was saying in those conversations was that I was
2 posing questions. I was posing questions as to how the
3 Today report had ended up suggesting something which
4 Dr Kelly was not in a position to say and whether,
5 therefore, it had been the result of the reporter having
6 exaggerated what Dr Kelly said or Dr Kelly having
7 exaggerated what he knew and that I was posing
9 Therefore, I accept that there was
10 a misunderstanding between myself and Paul Waugh about
11 the form of this conversation. I also think there was
12 a misunderstanding about what I was actually saying.
13 Q. I only want to put one further passage from this article
14 to you. In the second column, the last main paragraph:
15 "Tom Kelly did not deliver some kind of 'menu of
16 options' as has been suggested. He did not appear to be
17 'mulling over the possibilities' as others have said."
18 What do you say about that conclusion drawn by
19 Mr Waugh?
20 A. Well, again, I think there has been a misunderstanding;
21 and in talking to other reporters afterwards they have
22 made it clear to me that I was not offering a definitive
23 view of either my view of Dr Kelly or the Government's
24 view of Dr Kelly, but speaking in the very narrow focus
25 of the issue, being who exaggerated what they knew? Was
1 it the reporter or was it Dr Kelly? Now --
2 Q. Because Mr Waugh was not the only journalist to whom you
3 gave the information that you considered Dr Kelly to be
4 a Walter Mitty character, was he?
5 A. Well, sorry, firstly I did not consider Dr Kelly to be
6 a Walter Mitty character. I was talking in the very
7 specific circumstances of how the information had come
8 to be exaggerated; and I did -- the others I talked to
9 were very aware of the context and what I was trying to
10 say. That is not how it was reported in this case.
11 Q. You had lunch with several journalists, did you not,
12 when this matter was discussed; no?
13 A. I am not aware of having had that lunch with several
15 Q. Did you reveal comparable information to a reporter from
16 the Times?
17 A. I had talked to several journalists but as I said, I do
18 not remember every conversation.
19 Q. The Guardian?
20 A. Sorry, I talked to several journalists. I cannot
21 remember which ones I talked to, but in terms of the
22 journalists who have talked to me, they are clear that
23 I was not being malicious in my comments.
24 Q. Just to complete the list, the BBC as well, did you not?
25 A. Well, I talked to several journalists. I cannot
1 remember which ones precisely I talked to about this
2 issue but journalists have said to me that they did not
3 believe I was being malicious. That said, I fully
4 accept that I should not have used what was a too
5 colourful phrase. I fully accept that in doing so I ran
6 the risk of misunderstanding; and I fully accept that
7 that must have caused the family much distress. It was
8 not what I intended and that is why I gave my unreserved
9 apology at the time, why I repeated it when I appeared
10 at this Inquiry the first time and why I repeat it again
12 Q. Mr Kelly, may I make it plain that the object of my
13 questioning is not to make life more uncomfortable for
14 you over this remark.
15 A. I appreciate that.
16 Q. But can I just say this: that the suggestion is that
17 this was not just a single off the cuff remark to
18 Mr Waugh, it was a scene setting remark, was it not,
19 made to several journalists?
20 A. It was not intended as that. I said at the end of the
21 Lobby briefing on the afternoon of 9th June that I did
22 not intend to demean or understate the role of the
23 official who came forward. That was my view all the way
24 through. What I, however, did think was legitimate was
25 the issue of whether the source of Andrew Gilligan's
1 story had been in the position to make the claim that
2 Andrew Gilligan reported that person as having made,
3 whether he did or did not. And that, I believe, was
4 always a legitimate issue and I had expressed that view
5 from 4th June right up to 7th July, and on seven
6 different occasions during Lobby, because I thought that
7 was a legitimate issue. It was that I was trying to
8 examine in my conversations with journalists, without
9 demeaning Dr Kelly in any way.
10 Q. Can I put to you a question and answer from the evidence
11 which you gave when you attended before the Inquiry
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. The question from Mr Dingemans:
15 "Question: Did you want to influence, at the least,
16 the thinking of the journalist? I mean, otherwise, why
17 say it?
18 "Answer: I wanted simply the journalist to be aware
19 of the possible questions and issues from the
20 Government's perspective."
21 Is that an answer that you stand by?
22 A. I stand by what I said. What I meant --
23 Q. So -- I am sorry, I do not want to interrupt you.
24 A. What I meant is what I have said, is that I thought
25 I was taking part in conversations in which journalists
1 were genuinely seeking insight which would help them try
2 to understand this tragedy. That was what I thought
3 I was doing.
4 Q. You were speaking on the telephone from No. 10?
5 A. I was.
6 Q. It was Mr Waugh who had telephoned to you?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. So that you were speaking, were you not, in your
9 capacity as the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman?
10 A. I was speaking in what I thought was a background
11 conversation in which both sides were trying to
12 understand the issues at the heart of this tragedy.
13 Q. Giving the Government's perspective?
14 A. Giving the perspective on the issues which would have to
15 be examined. Not giving the Government's perspective on
16 David Kelly, not giving my perspective on David Kelly,
17 examining the issues.
18 Q. Did you think, as you said to Mr Sumption, that this was
19 part of your attempt to reveal information in the right
20 way and not to pre-empt the situation?
21 A. I started the conversation by referring to Hutton, to
22 the Hutton Inquiry, precisely for that reason, to
23 underline that these were issues for the Inquiry.
24 Q. Finally on this topic, could you look, please, at
25 CAB/16/2, which is the statement which you issued.
1 That is your statement, is it?
2 A. Yes, it is.
3 Q. You see that in the longest paragraph, in the middle of
4 the page, you refer to the fact that you were trying, at
5 the request of several journalists, to outline the
6 questions facing all parties that the Hutton Inquiry
7 would have to address; right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. That was your intention, you say?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You will remember, no doubt, that you were responsible,
12 I think, for the drafting or the issue of the statement
13 made by the Prime Minister shortly after Dr Kelly's
14 death calling for restraint?
15 A. I do not remember being responsible for that statement,
16 but I was aware of that statement, yes.
17 Q. Perhaps you could just look at ISC/3/5, please.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Is that the document?
20 A. No, that is actually a briefing note I prepared for the
21 Deputy Prime Minister.
22 Q. I follow.
23 A. Before he appeared on the Frost programme.
24 Q. I apologise, I have misunderstood. But that is your
1 A. That is my document, yes, which I dictated on the
2 Saturday evening.
3 Q. That was on 19th July?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. About a week before you were speaking to journalists --
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. -- about the Walter Mitty slur?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Yes. Finally this: I wonder if you could look at
10 CAB/1/59, please.
11 That is an e-mail from Jonathan Powell to
12 Clare Sumner on 8th July. It is copied to
13 Prime Minister's Official Spokesman; right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did you see this?
16 A. I saw this very briefly. I must admit it was not one
17 I spent a lot of time looking at because the MoD were
18 answering the questions, not us.
19 Q. I appreciate that this is not your document, but could
20 you look on to CAB/1/61, which is the second page of the
21 document which accompanied this e-mail? I must make it
22 clear that this is not your statement.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. But what Mr Powell seems to have written is this:
25 "Does this not prove that John Reid was totally
1 wrong when he spoke about rogue elements in the
2 Intelligence Services?"
3 The answer suggested to that question:
4 "Yes. This rogue element was not part of the
5 Intelligence Services at all!"
6 First of all, that referred to Dr Kelly, did it not?
7 A. I do not know what it referred to because I did not read
8 this answer, this question and answer, until I was
9 preparing for this Inquiry.
10 Q. Was Dr Kelly regarded in No. 10 as a rogue element?
11 A. Categorically not.
12 Q. Well, can you give any explanation of how this
13 description comes to be applied by Mr Powell?
14 A. It is not my note and I think it would be wrong for me
15 to interpret Mr Powell's note.
16 Q. Another misguided opinion of Dr Kelly?
17 A. Dr Kelly was an expert and he should be regarded as an
18 expert. That is precisely why in my Lobby notes
19 I referred to him as a technical expert. That was how
20 I viewed him and I think how others viewed him as well.
21 Q. So there was no Government campaign to belittle, demean
22 or slur him?
23 A. I was not aware of any explicit or implicit strategy to
24 do so and I was not part of any strategy to do so.
25 MR GOMPERTZ: Thank you Mr Kelly.
1 Cross-examined by MR DINGEMANS
2 Q. Mr Kelly, before you briefed on 9th July, had anyone
3 told you that Dr Kelly did not want to make a public
4 statement and wanted time to brief his family?
5 A. I was aware that the idea of a press release had been
6 talked about with Dr Kelly from an early stage. I was
7 aware that he did not want his name in that statement,
8 so that he could have time to prepare his family. But
9 I was also aware that he accepted it was inevitable that
10 his name would come out.
11 Q. Who told you that he wanted time to warn his family?
12 A. It came up in conversations in No. 10 in which
13 Sir Kevin Tebbit took part and I believe it was
14 Sir Kevin Tebbit who said that.
15 Q. You say you wanted to deal with the discrepancy raised
16 by the BBC's statement issued on 8th July in response to
17 the Ministry of Defence statement. We have heard other
18 evidence that the Ministry of Defence press statement
19 had to be issued to ensure that there could be no
20 concern or allegation about a cover-up. But once it was
21 issued, why did you need to respond to the MoD
23 A. Well, because the immediate effect of the BBC statement
24 was to call into question the MoD statement. I knew
25 that from the calls I received on the Tuesday night;
1 I knew it from the calls I received on the Wednesday
2 morning. As I have said, during the morning and
3 afternoon briefings if you count up the number of times
4 it is put to me that the official could not be
5 Mr Gilligan's source because of the discrepancies, it
6 comes to something like seven times.
7 LORD HUTTON: Mr Dingemans, I wonder, could we have up on
8 the screen -- I am afraid I do not have a note in front
9 of me of that BBC statement on the 9th July.
10 MR DINGEMANS: My Lord, I am afraid I have not noted it.
11 I will no doubt be given it shortly.
12 LORD HUTTON: I think it might be helpful just before
13 Mr Kelly finishes his evidence.
14 MR DINGEMANS: BBC/3/25.
15 LORD HUTTON: Thank you very much. Perhaps we might just
16 look at that. If we could scroll back up. Is there any
17 particular part of that in particular?
18 A. It is the second paragraph, my Lord, in particular the
19 second sentence of that paragraph:
20 "Mr Gilligan's source does not work in the Ministry
21 of Defence and he has known the source for a number of
22 years not months", which is a direct contradiction of
23 the MoD statement.
24 LORD HUTTON: Yes, I see. Thank you.
25 MR DINGEMANS: But the Government wanted to issue the
1 Ministry of Defence statement, we have been told, to
2 avoid allegations of cover-up, sitting on information.
3 The Government's position, we have been told, is that
4 they were not sure Mr Dr Kelly was the source or not.
5 That was your understanding, was it?
6 A. It was my understanding.
7 Q. In which case, when the Ministry of Defence issue their
8 press statement and the BBC say: we do not know whether
9 he is the source either, why respond to it at all?
10 A. Because it had called into question the credibility of
11 the MoD statement; and the information I had by
12 Wednesday morning was that there were clarifications
13 which would be given to restore that credibility. If
14 I had stayed silent at the Lobby I would have allowed
15 journalists to believe that the MoD statement was
16 inaccurate when I knew it was not. That would have been
17 breaching my golden rule, which is that I cannot mislead
18 the Lobby.
19 Q. You have told us what your golden rule is. So did you
20 believe that Dr Kelly, who at this stage was saying
21 "I do not think I am the source", was wrong?
22 A. I believed that the Ministry of Defence, after the
23 second interview, believed it was possible and maybe
24 even likely that Dr Kelly was the source.
25 Q. Was not the fundamental question that needed to be
1 addressed how Mr Gilligan had got two pieces of
2 information not out in the public domain before, namely
3 that the 45 minutes intelligence was single source and
4 namely that it had come in late; and you did not seek to
5 address that at all?
6 A. What I sought to address, as I had done since 4th June,
7 was how come an allegation had been made which only
8 someone who was on the JIC who had the full intelligence
9 picture could have made with any credibility. That,
10 I thought, was the central issue.
11 Q. But I mean we can see Kate Wilson was getting phone
12 calls: how did this man know if he was so out of the
13 loop? How did he know those two pieces of information?
14 If we look at MoD/32/47 we can see her note of
15 a question that was put to her, raising exactly that
16 point. You were not dealing with that at all because it
17 was not a helpful thing to deal with, was it?
18 A. Well, I answer the questions which I am asked. That was
19 not one of the questions which I was asked. And if
20 I was asked it, all I could have said was well, that was
21 a matter which will have to be investigated. The
22 important point was that what I had been told
23 consistently from 4th June was that only someone with
24 the full intelligence picture could credibly make the
25 allegation that had been made.
1 Q. Mr Campbell wrote in his diaries at CAB/39/2:
2 "We kept pressing on as best we could at the
3 briefings but the biggest thing needed was the source
5 He told us yesterday that pressing on at the
6 briefings was not something that he did but you were
7 doing on that particular day. Is that right, so you
8 were pressing on in relation to the source?
9 A. Sorry, I do not understand what --
10 Q. Let us look at the entry.
11 A. I know the entry. It is what lies behind your question.
12 Q. Do not worry what lies behind it.
13 "We kept pressing on as best we could at the
14 briefings but the biggest thing needed was the source
16 That rather suggests that the "we" -- Mr Campbell
17 says that is No. 10, including you -- are pressing on at
18 the briefings, getting nowhere and therefore the biggest
19 thing needed was the source out.
20 A. Well, my objective was to answer the journalists'
21 questions at the Lobby, balancing the competing
22 pressures which I have outlined. My objective was not
23 to get David Kelly's name out then.
24 Q. If you had given any thought to the matter, do you now
25 realise that providing the further information that you
1 did, which Mr Blitz said he used as the basis for his
2 research, was going to lead to Dr Kelly's
4 A. Firstly, I tried to minimise, in the ways I have
5 outlined, the amount of information that I did give out.
6 Secondly, while I have seen what Mr Blitz said, I cannot
7 actually identify, in the way that his journalists put
8 together the story, how my information helped. And
9 thirdly, having looked at the evidence of other
10 journalists, particularly the Times and the Guardian,
11 I note that they identified the name without using any
12 of the information given in the Lobby.
13 Q. On 9th July, did you want the name of the source out --
14 you, not Mr Campbell or anyone else. Did you want the
15 name of the source out?
16 A. I believed, as I have said, that there was a logic of
17 events, going back to 29th May or 22nd May, which was
18 unfolding. I regretted deeply that a chance had not
19 been taken to interrupt that logic.
20 LORD HUTTON: You regretted what?
21 A. Deeply that a chance had not been taken to interrupt
22 that logic by the BBC stepping back, in particular the
23 Governors' meeting, in particular the private
24 conversations I had had with members of the BBC. But
25 I believed that logic was unfolding; and I did not see
1 any need for us to escalate that logic -- to escalate
2 the process and I did genuinely want to give Dr Kelly as
3 much time as possible to prepare his family, because
4 I thought that was a humane thing to do.
5 LORD HUTTON: Could you just define a little more what you
6 mean by the logic unfolding, a logic unfolding to what
7 or leading to what?
8 A. I suppose a better way of putting it would be that there
9 was a chain of events, my Lord --
10 LORD HUTTON: Yes.
11 A. -- that in terms of the source, once a claim is made we
12 would challenge that claim. If the BBC did not address
13 that challenge in a way which allowed the public record
14 to be set straight, then we had to maintain the
15 challenge. Unless a way was found to diffuse the
16 situation, as all along I hoped it would be, then that
17 chain of events would continue; and the BBC statement --
18 LORD HUTTON: Yes, but continue to what, Mr Kelly?
19 A. Continue the process where the issue could only be
20 resolved in a public way. The BBC's statement coming so
21 quickly after the MoD's statement was part of that
22 process of escalation, rather than, as I hoped, to
23 diffuse the situation.
24 LORD HUTTON: When you say "resolved in a public way", do
25 you mean by that Dr Kelly's name becoming public?
1 A. Well, in terms of Dr Kelly having come forward,
2 I believed, and he I was told accepted, that it was
3 inevitable that his name would come out. How it came
4 out was a different matter; and having been a journalist
5 myself, I knew that once we said an official had come
6 forward that other journalists would regard it as
7 a matter of professional pride to find out who that
8 person was.
9 MR DINGEMANS: So once the statement had been issued,
10 everyone knew that his name was going to come out from
11 the professional press department side of things?
12 A. Well, that was my professional opinion and I believe
13 that Dr Kelly had accepted the inevitability of that.
14 Q. We have heard evidence on that. Can I just press you,
15 though, for an answer to my question, which was whether
16 you wanted, on 9th July, the source out; and you have
17 given us a long answer but I rather think it permits of
18 a yes or no.
19 A. The short answer is: no.
20 Q. You did not want the source out?
21 A. I did not want any of this to be happening. I wanted to
22 try and resolve this as a private matter; but I had to
23 do my job and my job was to do the Lobby that day and
24 address the discrepancies.
25 Q. So Mr Campbell got it wrong when he said:
1 "... the biggest thing needed was the source out.
2 We agreed we should not do it ourselves", and you were
3 keeping going at the press briefings?
4 A. What I did not want to do was to say anything at Lobby
5 which helped identify David Kelly; but what I did have
6 to do was address the questions which the BBC statement
7 made inevitable that I was going to have to address.
8 MR DINGEMANS: I will not deal with the Walter Mitty remark.
9 A. Thank you.
10 LORD HUTTON: Thank you very much. Mr Sumption, anything in
12 MR SUMPTION: No.
13 LORD HUTTON: Thank you very much, Mr Kelly. I will rise
14 now for five minutes.
15 (11.33 am)
16 (Short Break)
17 (11.38 am)
18 MR GODRIC WILLIAM NAYLOR SMITH (called)
19 Examined by MR KNOX
20 Q. Mr Smith, could you tell the Inquiry your full name?
21 A. Godric William Naylor Smith.
22 Q. Your occupation?
23 A. I am one of the Prime Minister's two Official Spokesmen.
24 Q. You have already given evidence to the Inquiry before,
25 and since then an email has come to light which I
1 understand was in fact found on your computer?
2 A. That is right.
3 Q. One can see that at CAB/25/4. I think this is the
4 e-mail in question. It is one that is sent from you to
5 Clare Sumner at 2.31 in the afternoon on 9th July; and
6 over the page you can see the contents of the
7 attachment, at CAB/25/5.
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. It starts:
10 "In the light of the new evidence from the MoD last
11 night and the BBC own statement in response we believe
12 we need to see AG, RS and source."
13 AG being presumably Andrew Gilligan?
14 A. Hmm, hmm.
15 Q. RS being Richard Sambrook?
16 A. Hmm, hmm.
17 Q. And source; and the document continues and I think it is
18 fair to say in the penultimate paragraph you will see:
19 "AG said in answer to John Maples Q422 that he had
20 only discussed the WMD Dossier with one source before
21 the story was broadcast. We now know from the MoD
22 statement that, if this individual is not the source,
23 that statement cannot be correct. This too would be
24 material to our Inquiry.
25 "Either way there are important questions that need
1 to be addressed in order for us to try and resolve this
3 On the face of it it looks as if this might be some
4 kind of press announcement on behalf of the Foreign
5 Affairs Committee where they are saying: in light of the
6 MoD's statement and the BBC's statement we, the FAC,
7 think we need to investigate the position. That is how
8 the e-mail appears to read.
9 Can you first of all explain the background to your
10 writing the e-mail before you come on to the meaning and
11 purpose of the e-mail?
12 A. Yes, certainly. As I said in my first statement to
13 the Inquiry, when I read Andrew Gilligan's evidence to
14 the Select Committee on Monday evening, Monday the 7th,
15 I thought his answers to John Maples were very
16 significant. I had just been reading if you like
17 a comparator between what the source had said and what
18 Mr Gilligan had said which had come from the MoD which
19 went into some detail, and came to a conclusion that
20 they thought that they were probably one and the same
22 Having read Andrew Gilligan's evidence to the Select
23 Committee on the train home that Monday evening, the
24 answer he gave to John Maples seemed to be more
25 significant than that analysis in as much as
1 Andrew Gilligan made crystal clear he only had one
2 source for his story.
3 Q. When you say for his story, that would be the story he
4 broadcast on 29th May?
5 A. Indeed. So if I can then come on to the genesis of this
6 e-mail. This follows a conversation which I had with
7 Clare Sumner on July the 9th. Miss Sumner and I have
8 worked together for four years and we often chat
9 informally over a variety of different issues. This was
10 obviously post Prime Minister's Questions and she had
11 obviously been involved in that.
12 I had started to explain to her why I thought that
13 Mr Gilligan's evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee
14 was so important. It was my personal view that the FAC
15 would inevitably wish to see those involved in this
16 development and to revisit this issue, but given the
17 complexity of the argument and the fact that I think she
18 had other things to do, I said I would put something in
19 writing to her. The e-mail is drafted in this way to
20 enable me to express my point more concisely and
21 succinctly to Miss Sumner.
22 At no stage was there any discussion between us
23 about taking any action. At no stage was any action
24 taken. At no stage was any contact made with anybody on
25 the FAC by either of us. In fact this e-mail was not
1 even opened by Miss Sumner until 22nd August.
2 Q. Can I just explore the background a little? We know
3 that on 8th July there was a mid-morning meeting at
4 No. 10 Downing Street at which it was agreed that the
5 ISC, not the Foreign Affairs Committee, should interview
6 Dr Kelly, and that Sir David Omand should write to the
7 ISC a public letter, copied to the FAC, informing them
8 that someone had come forward and offering to
9 communicate his name in private.
10 A. Hmm, hmm.
11 Q. I do not think you were at that meeting?
12 A. I was not, no.
13 Q. I take it you became aware of that?
14 A. I became aware of that at the meeting I attended after
15 lunch that day.
16 Q. One can see the draft letter to the ISC at CAB/18/68.
17 Were you aware that this letter had actually been
18 drafted or not?
19 A. No. The first I knew about the idea to contact the ISC
20 was when Jonathan Powell I think left the room to take
21 a call from the Committee saying that the plan as
22 discussed was not acceptable to them.
23 Q. I am not going to ask you to read this letter, but in
24 general terms it contains a number of similarities with
25 the press statement that was eventually put out later
1 that evening but it is drafted in a slightly different
2 way to take into account the different context.
3 It seems that at about lunchtime on Tuesday
4 8th July, the Clerk to the ISC told Sir David Omand: we
5 do not want your public letter thank you very much, but
6 we will not object to a reference in a press statement
7 you might issue to the possibility of the ISC
8 interviewing the individual who has come forward.
9 You can see the press statement eventually drafted
10 at MoD/1/67.
11 A. That is right.
12 Q. At the foot of the press statement, I think, if you
13 could scroll down a little, you will see the reference
15 "The MoD, with the individual's agreement, intend to
16 give his name to the Chairman of the Intelligence and
17 Security Committee, in confidence, should they wish to
18 interview him..."
19 So that is the thinking by close of play on the
20 Tuesday. And it seems also that again on the Tuesday,
21 8th July, a letter is written to Mr Davies at the BBC by
22 Mr Hoon, I think he said in his evidence at the
23 suggestion of No. 10. You can see that letter at
25 I do not know if you are aware of this or not,
1 I imagine you were probably aware of this letter --
2 A. Hmm, hmm.
3 Q. -- when it was going out?
4 A. I was.
5 Q. You will see there that the name of the official has not
6 been given out but the fact that he has come forward is
7 mentioned to Mr Davies. It would seem, you might be
8 able to help us with this, that even by Tuesday 8th July
9 it had been decided in fact in No. 10 that you would
10 eventually give the BBC the name in confidence.
11 Could I ask you to look at CAB/1/50. This is --
12 I am sure you will have seen at least the printed
13 version of this before -- a copy of one of the proposed
14 draft press statements. It has someone's handwriting
15 on. Are you able to say whose handwriting this is? Is
16 it Mr Powell, or...?
17 A. I think it, yes.
18 Q. Over the page at CAB/1/51?
19 A. I may be wrong, I think it is.
20 Q. It does not matter much whose handwriting it is.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. On CAB/1/51 you will see some more handwriting which
23 appears to be the second page of this alteration to the
24 draft. At the top:
25 "We understand that Mr Gilligan has given his
1 employers the name of his source. We have, in
2 confidence, given the name of this individual to the
3 Chairman of the BBC..."
4 In fact that cannot quite be right at the time
5 because this obviously has been drafted on 8th July.
6 One imagines Mr Powell is not drafting on an old draft
7 on the 9th. It would look as if the intention on
8 9th July was the name should be given to the BBC in
10 A. I think the decision to do that was taken as a result of
11 their reaction at first instance.
12 Q. Their reaction having been communicated earlier on
13 8th July itself; is that right?
14 A. Indeed.
15 Q. One can summarise the position at the end of 8th July as
16 follows: you have not got Dr Kelly's name into the
17 public domain but you have decided, on the following
18 day, to give it in confidence to the ISC and to the BBC.
19 That is right, presumably?
20 A. Yes, I think that is right. I suppose the decision
21 taken in respect of the BBC was made the following
23 Q. The actual decision was taken?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. If we can move to 9th July. If one can look first of
1 all at Mr Campbell's diary entries at CAB/39/2, and the
2 entry under the heading "9 July 2003", do you have that
3 Mr Smith?
4 A. I do, yes.
5 Q. "BBC story moving away because they were refusing to
6 take on the source idea. There was a big conspiracy at
7 work really. We kept pressing on as best we could at
8 the briefings, but the biggest thing needed was the
9 source out. We agreed that we should not do it
11 Presumably, you had some discussions with
12 Mr Campbell on the morning of Wednesday 9th July?
13 A. Yes, I would have obviously had discussions at the
14 morning meeting.
15 Q. Does that reflect certainly what Mr Campbell's view was,
16 as he expressed it to you, at the morning of 9th July?
17 A. Yes, but I think there is a qualitative difference
18 between a desire for something to happen and actually
19 taking concrete steps to make it happen.
20 Q. Certainly. But when he says, "We agreed that we should
21 not do it ourselves", he is obviously referring to
22 himself but is he referring to you as well as far as you
23 are aware?
24 A. As far as I am somebody who speaks to the press on
25 behalf of the Prime Minister at Downing Street, then
2 Q. Certainly you did not disagree with him on that point?
3 A. No, absolutely not.
4 Q. Obviously it is thought by Mr Campbell that it is a good
5 idea to get the source out, it is the biggest thing
6 needed: we must get the name out.
7 If one goes to CAB/11/135, you can see some of the
8 thinking which appears to be going on; and I do not know
9 if you were copied in on these e-mails or if you knew
10 precisely what was happening, but it certainly seems
11 that one of the thoughts that was certainly in
12 Mr Campbell's mind was that it would be a good thing for
13 the source, Mr Gilligan and Mr Campbell all to give
14 evidence to the ISC. You can see that from the e-mail
15 at the foot of CAB/11/135:
16 "I'm wondering whether in the light of yesterday's
17 developments, there is not a case for me doing more with
18 the ISC than the half hour with a limited focus on
19 intelligence handling. If the BBC source situation
20 develops as it might, surely it is in our interest for
21 the ISC to delve deeply into this, by interviewing the
22 source, and Gilligan and myself, and for us all putting
23 over our concerns..."
24 You will see there is a reply from Clare Sumner, to
25 whom this is sent. You will see the subject matter of
1 this e-mail: "Re ISC/FAC". She says:
2 "I have not gone back to them yet -- we could offer
3 them 8.30 to 9.45 on 17 July."
4 Mr Smith, you may or may not know, but one draws the
5 inference from this that Clare Sumner is the person
6 responsible for liaising with the ISC on this matter; is
7 that right?
8 A. That is right, yes.
9 Q. Then there is a further e-mail at the top from
10 Jonathan Powell:
11 "We should certainly get them to interview Gilligan
12 and source, and best if you give evidence after both of
14 Certainly the thinking in the early morning of
15 Tuesday 9th is: let us get to the ISC and make sure that
16 the source is interviewed by the ISC and Gilligan is
17 interviewed by the ISC and then Mr Campbell can come
18 along and sweep up at the end. That presumably is the
19 thinking at that stage?
20 A. This is the Wednesday, not the Tuesday.
21 Q. Sorry, Wednesday 9th, I apologise. It would seem,
22 however, that the ISC are slightly difficult about the
23 matter. One can find that at CAB/1/87.
24 Again, I do not think this is an e-mail which you
25 are copied in on but it is sent to Clare Sumner --
1 rather Clare Sumner is involved in the e-mails. Looking
2 at the one at the end of the page, from Clare Sumner to
3 Alastair Campbell:
4 "I have confirmed that you will appear from 8.30 to
5 9.45 on 17 July and will have to leave promptly.
6 "I asked where they were with other interviews.
7 "The ISC Clerk told me that the Committee were not
8 interested in interviewing Andrew G as he could not say
9 anything more to them than the FAC.
10 "He said [that must be the ISC Clerk said] that on
11 the source they were waiting for David Omand to write to
12 them with the correspondence. He implied that he did
13 not believe it was the source so could not see the point
14 of the ISC seeing him and said they were not interested
15 in the BBC/Alastair Campbell row. The fact he rested
16 this on was that Gilligan said that he had known his
17 source for years whereas the MoD said months. I think
18 this point could be clarified in the letter from
19 David Omand to the ISC. I pointed out that the BBC had
20 not denied he was the source."
21 So it seems that certainly the ISC route has been
22 rather closed off on 9th July. They are not really
23 cooperating very much; and the difficulty that creates
24 is twofold. First of all, you cannot get Mr Gilligan
25 and the source to give evidence to the ISC, but
1 presumably it also makes it harder to get the name out
2 by having the ISC, I suppose, writing a letter which is
3 then publicised. The ISC simply are not prepared to
4 have anything to do with it. That seems to be the
5 position on 9th July?
6 A. I was not aware that there was any hesitation in respect
7 of the ISC, but yes.
8 Q. And likewise the BBC seemed to be slightly difficult,
9 because we know that they refused to name their source,
10 and I do not need to take you to that letter unless you
11 want to look at it. It seems by the early morning on
12 9th July it is actually decided that a letter must be
13 written to Mr Gavyn Davies at the BBC, actually naming
14 Dr Kelly in confidence. You can see that at CAB/11/10.
15 This is from Jonathan Powell to you and Tom Kelly
16 presumably, a joint e-mail address?
17 A. Correct, yes.
18 Q. "Geoff Hoon will write to Gavyn Davies with the name
19 this morning, whether the BBC want the name or not. You
20 should check with his private office that the letter has
21 gone before your 11 o'clock briefing."
22 Then there is more stuff about the source and so
23 forth. You reply a little later noting the point you
24 had spotted in the Telegraph that morning.
25 It seems No. 10 then helpfully drafted the proposed
1 letter that was going to be sent to Mr Davies. If you
2 look at CAB/11/136, this is a letter sent from the
3 Garden Rooms in the House to Director of News, that
4 perhaps is at the MoD, and then Defence Secretary, with
5 copies to the press office.
6 A. Hmm, hmm.
7 Q. "Alastair's note of 9 July."
8 Then over the page at 137 you can see a draft
9 letter; and you will see that this is going to be
10 a draft letter to Mr Davies which, at the foot of the
11 letter, actually names the source.
12 Can I just ask you to look at three paragraphs from
13 the end, beginning:
14 "It is surely therefore helpful for me to give you
15 the name of this person, so that it can be established
16 whether this is the name of the person given to his
17 employers by Mr Gilligan. If it is not, fine. If it
18 is, then clearly there are major discrepancies between
19 the real status of the individual and that claimed by
20 Mr Gilligan and Mr Sambrook. Equally there are major
21 discrepancies between the account of the meeting
22 on May 22 given the source, and the account given by
23 Mr Gilligan on air, in print and to the Foreign Affairs
25 "I can tell you that the person is named XX and he
1 is employed as YY."
2 Eventually that letter is sent at I think lunchtime
3 on Wednesday 11th.
4 I think it is fair to say that the purpose of this
5 letter that is being sent to the BBC is to see if the
6 BBC is prepared to confirm that Dr Kelly is indeed the
7 person who has come forward, and the point of that is if
8 that happens then it will be open to you, at No. 10, to
9 put Dr Kelly's name to the public, safely, if I can put
10 it that way, without any risk of the BBC turning round
11 and saying: aha, you have got the wrong man.
12 A. I think the point is that we are at pains to resolve
13 what is a very difficult issue for the Government.
14 There is a stain against the Government's integrity and
15 obviously there is an opportunity to try and correct the
16 public record here. And I think if I can just come back
17 to the point about the Select Committees, I did not
18 really give a huge amount of thought to the issue of
19 whether the source who we know now obviously to be
20 Dr Kelly should appear before the Committees on the
21 Monday because I was more interested in the fact whether
22 the comparison between the two accounts was, you know,
24 But clearly during the course of Tuesday I learnt
25 more about our contacts with the Committees and
1 I thought it was both inevitable that the Committees
2 would want to see the source and I thought it desirable,
3 in the public interest that they do so.
4 Q. Just returning to my point, can I ask you to look at
5 CAB/1/214? This is part of the Official Spokesman's
6 briefing at 11 o'clock that Wednesday. This I think was
7 being given by Mr Kelly.
8 A. Hmm, hmm.
9 Q. If you go to the second paragraph, about ten lines down
10 on page 214, halfway across the page there is the
12 "Asked to give one good reason why the BBC should
13 accede to Downing Street's request when doing so would
14 mean revealing its source, the PMOS said that all we
15 were asking the BBC to do was confirm whether our name
16 was the wrong one or not. If it was the right man,
17 there would be no problem about revealing the identity
18 of a source because he had already come forward
19 voluntarily. Questioned as to whether the man had been
20 pressurised into coming forward, the PMOS said that he
21 did not recognise the scenario..."
22 Certainly the inference one draws from that is it
23 was intended -- if the BBC said yes, it is Dr Kelly,
24 then No. 10 would have felt at liberty to give out
25 Dr Kelly's name. Do you recall that being the thinking?
1 A. Well it was certainly the case that part of our thinking
2 was what Dr Kelly himself had said, namely that he
3 recognised that his name would emerge and come into the
4 public domain, but that he wanted some time to prepare
5 his family and friends for that eventuality. So I do
6 not think anyone was under any impression other than
7 that this was inevitable and that Dr Kelly recognised
9 Q. Yes. But I think Mr Campbell obviously wanted to get
10 the name out. We know that. On Wednesday morning he
11 wants to get the name out. Certainly looking at this
12 extract here, one way in which No. 10 will be able to
13 get the name out is if the BBC say: yes, it is indeed
14 Dr Kelly.
15 A. Hmm, hmm.
16 Q. But the difficulty is that the BBC refused to help and
17 they reply on 9th July, I think, saying: we are not
18 prepared to give the name out.
19 So you have a problem by midday on Wednesday. First
20 of all, the ISC is not being very helpful, so it is
21 going to be difficult to get the name out through the
22 ISC route. It is going to be difficult, by midday on
23 the Wednesday, to get the BBC to agree anything because
24 they seem to be slightly obtuse about coming forward,
25 saying who the source is.
1 And is there not a further problem, you might be
2 able to help on this: that certainly according to some
3 of the extracts from this briefing note here, even the
4 public was getting a bit bored with the whole issue?
5 Can I just ask you to go to CAB/1/215? Near the
6 foot of the page, in fact really right at the foot of
7 the page -- I should say this again is the briefing,
8 I think, at 11 am in the morning. Near the foot of the
9 page, three lines from the end:
10 "The PMOS [that would be Tom Kelly] said he
11 understood that people were bored with this story and
12 that the BBC wanted to move on. We all did. However,
13 given the seriousness of the allegations and the fact
14 that they had been defended from the very top of the
15 BBC, we believed that it was right for us to put our
16 perfectly legitimate questions into the public domain."
17 You see Mr Kelly repeating this point at CAB/1/220
18 at the top of the page:
19 "Questioned as to whether Geoff Hoon had written his
20 letter to the BBC in green ink given Downing Street's
21 apparent obsession with the whole issue, the PMOS said
22 that on the day Mr Gilligan had made his charge, people
23 had said that the allegation went right to the heart of
24 the integrity of the Government ... we recognised that
25 people were bored with this story. So were we."
1 Then he continued that it is a very serious
3 Certainly if one, as it were, puts together the
4 chronology, the background at 2 o'clock on Wednesday
5 afternoon was the ISC was not particularly interested in
6 helping, the BBC is not particularly interested in
7 helping, and the public is getting rather bored with the
8 story. But on the other hand it is very important to
9 get the name of the source out.
10 Just bearing in mind that background, what as it
11 were a neutral observer, not having heard your evidence,
12 might think looking at your e-mail is this: it is
13 decided at No. 10, whether on your own instigation or
14 perhaps someone else's, that one way you might be able
15 to get the name out, although it was not really your
16 preferred route, was to see if someone could interest
17 the Foreign Affairs Committee in the issue; and so
18 someone perhaps suggested to you: we might have to
19 interest the Foreign Affairs Committee, why do we not
20 write them a helpful letter just to make life easier if
21 that is what we have to do? What would you say to that
23 A. The first point, in relation to the ISC, the e-mail that
24 you showed me actually comes after the one that I sent
25 to Clare Sumner. So I was not aware that the ISC were
1 ever expressing any concern in relation to seeing the
2 source. I always thought it was inevitable. What
3 I would say is this: I understand why on first sight
4 this looks curious and that it looks as though it has
5 been oddly drafted. I think if I was to look at this
6 without any explanation, I would think the same.
7 However, as I say, given that there was no intention
8 that any action should be taken and no action was taken,
9 no contact was made, as I have said, you know, I hope
10 people recognise that it is benign.
11 But coming back to this point in respect of, you
12 know, where I was at that particular moment in respect
13 of the Select Committees, I assumed that it was both
14 inevitable and indeed desirable, in the public interest,
15 that Dr Kelly appeared before them. That was my view
16 then. I have to say it changed later in the week but
17 that was my view then.
18 Q. Just on that point, I mean obviously the first thing one
19 might say is it is rather curious that this is written
20 as a draft press release. If your concern was to
21 explain to Clare Sumner why it was important that -- or
22 rather your thoughts were important, why do you actually
23 choose to draft it as a draft press release rather than
24 simply write a short note saying to Clare Sumner: well,
25 this is what the point is?
1 A. Well, my recollection of precisely what was going
2 through my mind at this particular juncture is fairly
3 vague. I have to say, most of what I write is written
4 from a media perspective, ie either a press statement or
5 a briefing note which I can use at a briefing. That is
6 my normal, if you like, style.
7 Q. This is a press statement which you are writing, so to
8 speak, in someone else's name which seems a slightly
9 unusual way of doing it.
10 A. I have accepted that it looks curious, absolutely. All
11 I can say, and I repeat, is that it was totally benign
12 and the explanation is as straightforward as wanting to
13 explain more concisely to a colleague what I had been
14 struggling to explain on the telephone and this is
15 a device that allows me to do that.
16 Q. I think it is fair to say, if you look at the top
17 paragraph on CAB/25/5, it does rather pick up precisely
18 the same point that was being made earlier in the day in
19 the e-mails I showed you about going to the ISC, namely:
20 "In the light of the new evidence from the MoD ...
21 and the BBC own statement in response we believe we need
22 to see AG, RS and source."
23 It does seem to reflect exactly the same concerns as
24 were being expressed earlier in the day in relation to
25 the proposed attendance in front of the ISC. Is that
1 purely coincidental?
2 A. Well, the ISC as I say I think came later that day. But
3 in respect of at this point, I mean this is not -- this
4 is not a new point, if you like. It is a point that
5 I thought was extremely important on the Tuesday, which
6 is why I think if you remember in my first appearance
7 before the Inquiry I thought it was important that it
8 was in the first statement, namely the answer that had
9 been given by Andrew Gilligan at the Select Committee.
10 Now, this was my personal view, as I say, that it
11 would be desirable, in the public interest, for the
12 Committees to look at this issue. I also thought, as
13 I say, that it was something that there was a natural
14 dynamic to. I think if you look at -- in respect of the
15 Foreign Affairs Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee
16 Chairman virtually acknowledged to Andrew Gilligan and
17 indeed to Alastair that the inquiry in the first
18 instance was set up as a direct result of that
19 broadcast. So it did not seem to me, you know, anything
20 out of the ordinary to presuppose that they would want
21 to see people again about this.
22 Q. If you thought it was perfectly natural for the Foreign
23 Affairs Committee to want to see Mr Gilligan, why on
24 earth should you not, in the position you found yourself
25 in, want to draft a short letter on behalf of the FAC
1 which might speed the process up if the FAC were indeed
2 approached on that point?
3 A. Because that would be a wholly inappropriate thing to
4 do. Whilst I thought it was inevitable, it is not for
5 me in any way, shape or form or anybody else to exert
6 pressure on the Committee to make that judgment, and nor
7 did I seek to.
8 Q. Can I just turn to a different subject for a moment?
9 Could you go please to CAB/39/2? If you scroll to the
10 last entry on the page, under the heading "15th July",
11 this is an extract from Mr Campbell's diary:
12 "Looking forward to Kelly giving evidence, but GS,
13 CR and I all predicted it would be a disaster and so it
15 Can I just ask you why certainly Mr Campbell appears
16 to have got the impression that you predicted it was
17 going to be a disaster?
18 A. Certainly. As I said earlier, by the end of the
19 following -- sorry, the previous week, I had essentially
20 come to the view that although it was inevitable that
21 Dr Kelly would have to appear before the Committees,
22 I thought they would generate more heat than light. The
23 reason why I say that is that the BBC, when Dr Kelly's
24 name had come out, had essentially said they were not
25 going to say anything more about the issue. I therefore
1 thought that Dr Kelly would have to appear but unless
2 the BBC were prepared, if you like, to say something
3 positively different, and I did not believe that they
4 would, that, as I say, nothing would come of this in
5 a way of helping to correct the public record.
6 I think as Alastair said yesterday, and I would not
7 disagree with this, although we felt that we were
8 throughout the wronged party, and that very serious
9 allegations had been made against the Government, which
10 were untrue, at every stage that we had tried to correct
11 them, be it through a statement by the Prime Minister,
12 a statement by the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence
13 Committee, things had not transpired as we would have
14 liked and that it was a case of, if you like, one step
15 forward, two steps back. I think this was a sort of
16 rather chance comment predicting that we were unlikely
17 to be in a better place after this than before.
18 Q. You see the way the sentence reads is the evidence was
19 a disaster:
20 "Looking forward to Kelly giving evidence, but GS,
21 CR and I all predicted it would be a disaster and so it
23 That rather suggests that you had your concerns, you
24 all had your concerns about Dr Kelly going forward to
25 give evidence. Is that not really what the position
2 A. I said when I first appeared before the Inquiry that
3 I was surprised by how Dr Kelly had appeared before the
4 Committee, that I had expected him to be much more
5 confident. What I had expected him to do was to go
6 before the Committee and essentially say what he had
7 said to the MoD, namely that he had not said all the
8 things that he was reported to have said, and indeed
9 I believed that because he was not in a position to make
10 those judgments. Now, that had not happened. No,
11 I cannot account for that, but I suppose, in terms of
12 the prediction that I was making, it was more one of
13 weary resignation.
14 Q. It was not that you all feared that perhaps Dr Kelly had
15 not been candid with the MoD and that that was in the
16 back of everyone's mind?
17 A. No. As I said, certainly from my perspective I believe
18 that Dr Kelly had told the truth to the MoD; that he had
19 come forward voluntarily, that he had had two extended
20 interviews with them and, as I say, the most important
21 point insofar as supporting my view was the fact that he
22 was not in a position to make the judgments that he was
23 reported to have made; and I was convinced that he was
24 the source for the reasons that I have stated in terms
25 of Andrew Gilligan's answer. I was also convinced that
1 the account had been embellished.
2 Q. I ask you finally to clarify one point at CAB/1/56.
3 This is a draft of the press statement. Someone has
4 written in hand at the top of the copy we have been
6 "Saved on Godric's machine 8/7/2003 16:35 (created
8 First of all, do you know who wrote those entries in
9 hand at the top?
10 A. I do not.
11 Q. One understands "created 12.35", that suggests that is
12 the time you started drafting the statement on your
13 computer, is that right, on Tuesday 8th?
14 A. There is actually a computer explanation that shows this
15 document being created three times. Essentially there
16 was one document which I created which we subsequently
17 worked on, and that was the one which I created at
18 something like 8 o'clock in the morning. In respect of
19 the saving time, that indeed would be correct.
20 I should point out, and my recollection of this is
21 very strong, that the meeting that we had in my office
22 lasted something like half an hour/three quarters of an
23 hour. It concluded 3 o'clock/3.15. I would then have
24 gone to do the briefing over at the Palace of
25 Westminster and would have saved the document on my
2 Q. When you left, did you leave people behind?
3 A. No, absolutely not. My recollection of this, again it
4 is strong, is that a copy was printed out and
5 Kevin Tebbit took it back to the Ministry of Defence.
6 Q. So Kevin Tebbit would have taken that back at about
8 A. Something like that, yes.
9 Q. Then you finally close the document down at 4.35 when
10 you get back, is that right?
11 A. Exactly. Precisely.
12 LORD HUTTON: Thank you very much, Mr Smith. Thank you.
13 A. Thank you.
14 MR JOHN SCARLETT (called)
15 Examined by MR SUMPTION
16 Q. Mr Scarlett, you have given evidence before and I am not
17 going to go over more than some of the matters that you
18 covered on that occasion and some further matters.
19 When you undertook to oversee the preparation of the
20 September dossier, what did you, at that stage,
21 understand to be its purpose?
22 A. My clear understanding, at that stage, was that it --
23 the purpose of the assessment was to put into the public
24 domain and share, as far as was possible, taking account
25 of security, the intelligence assessment which was
1 available to the Prime Minister and the Government about
2 Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.
3 Q. How did the task of preparing the dossier compare with
4 the task of preparing formal JIC assessments?
5 A. Well, there were very strong similarities. We were
6 using the same procedures, the same coordinating
7 machinery, the same people who would draft normal JIC
8 assessments; and we were following the same basic
9 approach, that there would be a substantial body of text
10 containing analysis, drawing on a wide range of sources;
11 and then there would also be judgments, which would be
12 at the front; this is the procedure which is used for
13 JIC assessments.
14 Of course there were differences. The big
15 difference was this was clearly not a straightforward,
16 normal JIC assessment. It was for the public domain.
17 It was therefore for a different audience; and it was
18 designed to bring together existing standing JIC
19 assessments. It was not planning to formulate new ones,
20 although it was also planned, and indeed the instruction
21 of the JIC was on these lines, that new intelligence or
22 recent intelligence should be incorporated.
23 Q. How did the fact that it was for a public audience
24 affect the process?
25 A. The main point there was how were points and issues to
1 be expressed for an audience which was, first of all,
2 not used to reading intelligence assessments, and would
3 not be familiar with some of the material.
4 Q. You have already described, in earlier evidence, how the
5 decision was made that you should have ownership of the
6 dossier. What did you see as the purpose of appointing
7 you to do that and how did you see your own personal
9 A. Well, I was very clear, from the beginning, about this.
10 I think I explained this when I gave evidence before,
11 that a proposal of this kind, and a project of this
12 kind, needed to have strong central control in one
13 person and in one body, in this case the JIC. That
14 person, and it was me, would then be in a position to
15 put in place a robust drafting process which would
16 ensure that the body concerned, the JIC, had proper
17 editorial control, which would allow the assessment to
18 stay in line with existing JIC assessments, would enable
19 sources and methods to be properly protected, at the
20 same time as intelligence to be brought forward and used
21 if it was safe to do so.
22 Q. Did you, at any stage of the drafting process, consider
23 whether there was any tension between the Government's
24 purpose in publishing the dossier and your purpose in
25 objectively presenting the available intelligence?
1 A. No, I did not. I did not see that tension there. And
2 if there had been any tension, I was confident that it
3 could be handled because we were using the standard
4 procedures and the authority of the JIC.
5 Q. You mentioned this a moment ago, but I wonder if you can
6 expand on it slightly: can you explain the structure of
7 a formal JIC assessment and tell us how it compares with
8 the structure of the dossier as published?
9 A. Well, a formal JIC assessment, its purpose is to address
10 certain questions, which are placed before the JIC. And
11 the assessment itself, the text of the assessment, seeks
12 to answer those questions or at least discuss them, as
13 far as possible, drawing on all sources. JIC
14 assessments drawing on all sources, including the most
15 secret sources, that is their particular feature. So
16 there is a lot of analytical work which goes into the
17 preparation of the text of the assessment.
18 An essential part of a JIC assessment are the key
19 judgments, as they are called, which appear at the
20 front. The key judgments represent the formal view of
21 the JIC on the central questions which are being
22 considered in the assessment itself. They are not
23 a summary of the main points in the text. They are
24 bringing together and drawing on existing JIC
25 assessments, a wide body of information which may be
1 outside, much of it open source, secret intelligence, in
2 addition, and other relevant factors, such as past
3 behaviour, past actions and so on. And those come
4 together to form JIC judgments.
5 Q. You have explained the relationship between the key
6 judgments section of a formal assessment and the main
7 text. What did you see as the relationship between the
8 executive summary in the dossier and the main text of
9 the dossier?
10 A. The executive summary in the dossier contained a number
11 of paragraphs which pointed to the main themes being
12 covered in the text of the dossier as a whole; and they,
13 of course, included matters relating to the past, to
14 weapons programmes in the past, to the activity and
15 history of the inspections, and the nature of the regime
17 Paragraph 6 in the executive summary explicitly
18 stated that it contained a number of points which were
19 judgments, the key phrase was "we judge that", and then
20 it went into the judgments. And that was a parallel
21 with the approach taken in a normal JIC assessment.
22 Q. I would like to turn to the relationship between you, as
23 JIC Chairman, and the JIC and its assessment staff. How
24 does the JIC operate in relation to other parts of the
25 Government? Can you give us a description of its place
1 in the structure of Government?
2 A. Okay. Well, the JIC is an integral part of the
3 intelligence and security machinery of the Government.
4 It does not have an independent sort of statutory status
5 or basis of its own, it is answerable to the Government,
6 and the work it undertakes is in response to tasking
7 from the Government. It also has a long tradition of
8 providing independent, objective advice, drawing on all
9 sources, including the most secret sources, to the
10 Government and is valued for that purpose. It would not
11 be much use if it was not able to do that.
12 Its independence is also, of course, strongly
13 supported by the composition of the Committee, and maybe
14 just to remind you that the composition of the Committee
15 is the heads of the three intelligence and security
16 agencies, the Head of SIS, the Director of GCHQ, the
17 Director General of the Security Service, the Director
18 General for Defence and Intelligence at the Foreign
19 Office, the Policy Director at the Ministry of Defence,
20 the Director General equivalent in the Home Office, and
21 the Chief of Defence Intelligence, the Deputy Chief of
22 Defence Intelligence and senior officials in the DTI and
23 the Treasury. That is the standard composition. This
24 represents a very wide range of Government Departments,
25 senior people, used to exercising independent judgment.
1 Q. Turning to the relationship between you, as Chairman,
2 and to the JIC as a Committee. What, if any, authority
3 do you personally have on the JIC's behalf?
4 A. My authority is drawn from the JIC as a whole. I have
5 no sort of independent, separate authority. When
6 I speak with authority it is with the authority of the
7 Committee or the authority delegated to me by the
8 Committee. I do not drive the Committee as that kind of
9 Executive Chairman.
10 Q. Are you talking about authority given by the Committee
11 on an ad hoc basis or about some permanent authority?
12 A. If I am presenting to the Prime Minister, for example,
13 an assessment, an intelligence assessment of a given
14 situation, then when I present it I am not speaking just
15 as John Scarlett, I am speaking as the JIC Chairman and
16 I am speaking on the authority of that assessment. It
17 is not for me to speak off that assessment. But in the
18 day-to-day activity in managing the affairs of the JIC,
19 and managing the work of assessment staff which supports
20 the JIC, I have a substantial degree of delegated
22 Q. Can you explain the working relationship between the
23 JIC, as a committee, and its assessment staff?
24 A. Well the assessment staff form part of the Intelligence
25 and Security Secretariat in the Cabinet Office of which
1 I am the head, and therefore they report to me as the
2 head of the Intelligence and Security Secretariat.
3 Their function is to prepare coordinated assessments,
4 working in close conjunction with representatives of the
5 departments which are -- and agencies represented on the
6 JIC. Draft assessments which are then for consideration
7 by the JIC itself, in one form or another.
8 They also have the task, after the JIC has
9 considered an assessment, to take account of the points
10 raised and agreed by the JIC, to amend the draft
11 accordingly and to issue it under my authority as
13 Q. You have already described how the actual drafting was
14 done by the assessment staff under your supervision and
15 the process by which you reviewed successive drafts.
16 Can you tell us what the procedures were by which other
17 members of the JIC had input into the dossier?
18 A. Well, there were three key mechanisms. The first was
19 the drafting group, senior drafting group, an
20 interdepartmental drafting group which I set up -- well
21 I arranged for it to be called together, on
22 5th September it actually met, and on 9th September.
23 This was chaired at the very senior level of Chief of
24 Assessment Staff, Mr Miller. But it was based on the
25 concept of and way of working of the Current
1 Intelligence Groups who normally support the work of the
2 JIC, and on that drafting group there were
3 representatives of SIS, DIS, MoD, FCO, GCHQ.
4 The drafting group had two meetings, but very
5 importantly it was in constant contact with itself, as
6 it were virtually, through e-mail and by telephone. And
7 so that was a key mechanism from the beginning, based on
8 established JIC procedures.
9 LORD HUTTON: Mr Scarlett, was that a separate group than
10 the assessment staff that usually draw up the
11 preliminary assessments for an ordinary JIC meeting?
12 Did it have a wider representation on it?
13 A. My Lord, that was the standard representation from those
14 Departments, as would normally occur in a CIG dealing
15 with that subject. Two differences: one is it was
16 chaired at a more senior level, because normally a CIG
17 would be one of Mr Miller's deputies. Secondly, at the
18 two meetings which took place on 9th and 17th September
19 there were representatives, cleared representatives
20 present from the News Department of the FCO and the
21 press office at No. 10. They, however, did not form
22 part of the discussions which took place out of those
23 two meetings. They were not part of the sort of day by
24 day, hour by hour work of drafting. So that was
25 a difference.
1 LORD HUTTON: Yes. But was that basically the same sort of
2 group as would have prepared a preliminary assessment to
3 go to the JIC for an ordinary JIC assessment, which
4 would have nothing to do with the dossier?
5 A. Yes, it was, in essence, my Lord and it was following
6 the same working practices; and the drafting group
7 followed the same working practice as a CIG.
8 MR SUMPTION: You said there were a number of mechanisms by
9 which JIC members had input into the drafting process.
10 You described one of them, the representation of the
11 various organisations on the drafting group. Were you
12 going to identify others?
13 A. Yes, I was. Two others. Secondly, and a key mechanism,
14 was the circulation of drafts of the text to JIC members
15 themselves. This happened throughout this process on
16 three occasions, three drafts on 11th September,
17 16th September, 19th September. This is three times
18 more than happens in a normal process. In a normal JIC
19 process the senior members, the principals would receive
20 one draft quite shortly before the meeting itself. So
21 this was to try to ensure that there was very full
22 visibility for JIC members throughout this process.
23 Then thirdly, of course, there were the meetings of
24 the JIC at which the draft dossier itself, you know, was
25 a question. The most important of those meetings was on
1 11th September. And if it is helpful, I will just
2 describe what happened there.
3 On 11th September, a draft had been circulated to
4 JIC members first thing that morning. At the meeting
5 itself I, as the Chairman, invited them to comment on
6 the content of the draft, that was after we had had an
7 initial discussion about the concept of the proposal
8 itself, that the JIC had given its formal agreement to
9 take this work on and the work, of course, had already
10 been under way, and stressed the importance of ensuring
11 editorial control. I invited comment on the content.
12 The JIC responded with several important points.
13 One was that it wanted the instructions of the --
14 instructions of the -- one was that it wanted the
15 drafters to convey the rising level of concern on which
16 the JIC took its view about Iraq's programmes and
17 development of weapons of mass destruction. It wanted,
18 in particular, to highlight, or wanted the drafters to
19 highlight the progress which was being made since 1998,
20 despite sanctions. It wanted the drafters to make it
21 clear the JIC assessment that Iraq was ready to use
22 these weapons. It also wanted the drafters to take full
23 account of the recent intelligence which had been coming
24 in. These were clear instructions to the drafters from
25 the JIC.
1 LORD HUTTON: What time was the meeting of the JIC on that
2 date, Mr Scarlett?
3 A. My Lord it was at the normal time of 3 o'clock in the
5 LORD HUTTON: 3 o'clock. Thank you.
6 MR SUMPTION: Would you like to describe the process of JIC
7 members' involvement going forward from that date?
8 A. Right. That was on 11th September. And the JIC
9 concluded by saying that it would, of course, wish to
10 see further progress on the draft before authority was
11 given for it to issue.
12 On 16th September, a new draft was issued by the
13 assessment staff to the members of the drafting group
14 and -- I am just trying to remember the dates -- that
15 was circulated, in fact, by me to JIC members. In the
16 instruction or in the note that I sent out covering that
17 draft, I asked members to ensure that their
18 representatives would come fully armed to the drafting
19 group meeting which had been called for the following
20 day at 0900 hours on 17th September, armed with
21 proposals, amendments, suggested changes and so on. So
22 that was highlighted for them, that there was going to
23 be a meeting and that they should ensure their
24 representatives were properly equipped for it.
25 On 17th September there was the meeting of the
1 drafting group, which took place in the morning at
2 0900 hours under the chairmanship of Julian Miller.
3 That lasted for about two hours.
4 Then after that, the assessment staff took away, as
5 it would normally do after a CIG, a number of points
6 which needed to be worked on in the text.
7 On 18th September, there was the further sort of
8 regular weekly meeting of the JIC at which the state of
9 play on the draft was discussed and I communicated to
10 the Committee where we had got to on the drafting,
11 following the draft put on the 16th and the meeting of
12 the 17th of the drafting group. I warned them that
13 a new draft would be circulating very shortly. I was
14 not quite sure when, but that we needed to have it ready
15 and complete by the end of the following day. The
16 Committee also noted that some new intelligence had come
17 in on nuclear matters which would need to be
18 incorporated in the draft.
19 The Committee raised no particular point -- no
20 points of further debate or contention. As promised,
21 the new draft was circulated very first thing on
22 19th September. Comments were asked for by 3 o'clock
23 that afternoon. Comments were received from the DIS,
24 from the GCHQ, from SIS. They were incorporated or not
25 by the assessment staff, as was their delegated
1 authority; and the final draft was put out on the 20th,
2 on the Friday.
3 Q. Right. What was done with the final draft? Was there
4 any further input after the 20th by members of the JIC?
5 A. There was no further input by members of the JIC into
6 the draft which was circulated early on Friday the 20th.
7 The procedure which had been followed the previous day
8 was the standard established JIC procedure for
9 circulating a draft before issue, under the silence
10 procedure; and the JIC members understood, very clearly,
11 that this was their chance to comment. If they did not
12 take it, then no comment meant assent.
13 Q. In your experience of this procedure, do you tend to get
14 comments coming back from people who feel that something
15 needs to be modified?
16 A. Well, it varies. Very often members will not comment at
17 all at this stage of the process but quite often they
18 do. But those comments are then considered by
19 assessment staff, who are not obliged automatically to
20 take them because they have to judge them against
21 standing assessments and also the other intelligence
22 which is available before the Committee. And they will
23 then, or the final draft will then issue under a normal
24 process under my authority.
25 Very rarely, or rarely a JIC member or members may
1 say that they do want to consider the draft again in
2 full Committee before it issues; and if so, that is
3 fine, then we do so. But I should say that almost never
4 does a JIC look at a draft word for word, line by line,
5 and issue it with no further changes. That is not the
6 way that the Committee operates.
7 Q. Yes. Were there any comments received when the 19th
8 draft was circulated?
9 A. Yes, there were comments, particularly from DIS. I had
10 asked, in the covering note, for essential comments by
11 3 o'clock in the afternoon. I had three pages of
12 largely nonessential comments from DIS, in addition to
13 a few comments from GCHQ and SIS. The majority of the
14 detailed comments from DIS were incorporated. It is an
15 efficient system, it is used to working like that.
16 LORD HUTTON: May I ask you, dealing not with the dossier
17 but with a normal JIC assessment: if after a JIC meeting
18 at which is discussed a draft assessment and it approves
19 it, the assessment staff does further work on the draft
20 and it is then circulated to JIC members, do
21 I understand the position to be that if a JIC member
22 raises some objection, that is brought back to the
23 assessment staff and the assessment staff themselves may
24 decide whether or not to accept the point made by the
25 JIC member in the light of their knowledge of all the
1 intelligence; is that what happens?
2 A. Well, not quite, my Lord, because it would not normally
3 be necessarily an objection.
4 LORD HUTTON: Well a comment then.
5 A. The point that may be raised would much more likely be
6 a comment, a comment of detail or maybe the shading of
7 a point or shading of a judgment. And the Chief of
8 Assessment Staff and ultimately I myself have to
9 consider those against, because they will come from one
10 particular member, have to consider them against the
11 overall community attitude, standing assessments and
12 intelligence which is available. That is a delegated
13 authority which the assessment staff under my
14 Chairmanship have and has actually worked very well.
15 LORD HUTTON: Yes, but whether or not you would be made
16 aware of a particular comment, would that depend on its
17 weight or how important it was? Are there circumstances
18 where if some comment on a minor matter was made,
19 Mr Miller might deal with it himself without placing it
20 before you?
21 A. Yes, he would, certainly, my Lord.
22 LORD HUTTON: Yes, thank you.
23 MR SUMPTION: Are there ever matters arising from comments
24 which require a more radical approach, for example
25 reference back to the Committee?
1 A. That does happen or it can happen but it is very rare;
2 and almost always, certainly in my experience, if the
3 Committee is going to want to see a draft again it will
4 say so when it is discussing it at the meeting on the
5 day in question. So probably because there have been
6 some substantial discussions, substantial changes, some
7 complicated new intelligence or something like that
8 which requires it really to have further discussion that
9 will be flagged up by the Committee when it meets and
10 say: can we look at this next time and in the meantime
11 look at the draft. That is a very unusual occurrence.
12 Q. I want to ask you about the input of non-JIC personnel
13 into the drafting of the dossier. What if any input do
14 you expect the Prime Minister and his staff to have in
15 the drafting process?
16 A. The Prime Minister of course had commissioned this
17 dossier, and I knew that he regarded it as important and
18 I expected him to be interested in the way in which the
19 assessment was presented and explained.
20 As regards his staff, I expected his senior staff,
21 reflecting the interests of the Prime Minister, to be
22 ready to offer advice on a range of presentationally
23 linked points regarding the dossier, because this was an
24 unusual project; it was not a normal JIC assessment, it
25 was being prepared for the public domain.
1 Q. Just stopping you there, when you refer to the
2 Prime Minister's senior staff, who are you talking
4 A. Well, I am thinking in that respect of
5 Alastair Campbell, Sir David Manning, Jonathan Powell.
6 Q. Sorry, go on.
7 A. So I was expecting that. Indeed, I made it clear that
8 I was open to such advice and that I was likely to find
9 it useful, because these were points on which the JIC
10 itself did not have standing expertise.
11 Q. We have seen a number of e-mails containing comments
12 from No. 10 staff on drafts of the dossier, many of
13 which you said when you previously gave evidence you did
14 not yourself see at the time.
15 A. That is right.
16 Q. Can you please summarise for us from whom and in what
17 form you received comments from the Prime Minister or
18 his staff on drafts?
19 A. Yes. Well, I received a small number of comments from
20 the Prime Minister which were communicated to me through
21 Alastair Campbell in a memo of 17th September.
22 I also received points and comments from
23 Alastair Campbell in the memo of 17th September and in
24 three, I think, subsequent e-mails between 18th and
25 19th September, and I received two e-mails from
1 Jonathan Powell.
2 Q. Yes. Now, were you told about anyone else's comments or
3 actually given anyone else's comments, for example
4 Mr Pruce or Mr Bassett?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Right. Could we have, please, CAB/11/66, which is the
7 17th September memo that you have just mentioned. It
8 will come up on the screen in a moment.
9 On the first page we have the comments of the
10 Prime Minister which you have referred to.
11 A. Hmm.
12 Q. On the second page, and over to the top of the third
13 page, we have 16 numbered points made by
14 Alastair Campbell.
15 A. That is right.
16 Q. Could I ask you, please, with this document in front of
17 you, just to go through the points and explain what your
18 reaction was to each of these points and what if
19 anything you thought or did about them?
20 A. Right. Well, taking the first point here, this is
21 a reference to the fact that in the day before it had
22 been announced that Iraq would allow inspectors to
23 return from the UN; and in the light of that, we looked
24 again at what we were saying in the draft about Iraq's
25 concealment plans and activities -- what the
1 intelligence was saying, and also how we were expressing
2 the success or otherwise of sanctions and the policy of
4 This, of course, was a point that we had been
5 expressly asked to highlight by the JIC at its meeting
6 of 11th September.
7 We amended the draft both in the executive summary
8 and in the text to take account of intelligence which
9 had become available, which was very clear about Iraq's
10 confidence that it could learn lessons from its past
11 experience with the inspectors, and pursue effective
12 concealment plans. And we also made it clear in the
13 executive summary, I think I am right in saying, that
14 the intelligence showed clearly that progress was being
15 made despite actions and a policy of containment. As
16 I said, that was something we had been asked to look at
17 by the JIC. So I was quite clear on this point that the
18 amendments that I have referred to were very strongly
19 based in recent intelligence and in JIC instructions.
20 Q. Point 2.
21 A. Point 2 was an interesting one. This referred to the
22 fact that in the executive summary of the 16th September
23 draft there was a firm statement that Saddam's sons had
24 authority to authorise the issue of CBW. That was an
25 important point, of course, because it related to the
1 likelihood or not of it actually being used. In the
2 main text it was less clear and there was a degree of
3 uncertainty. That was correct. The intelligence did
4 not support what was in the executive summary and so we
5 changed the executive summary accordingly to reflect the
6 state of the intelligence.
7 I should add there that subsequently, so in the
8 19th September draft, the wording reflected that
9 uncertainty. I should add that in the final version
10 which was put out, the wording of that point was as it
11 were caveated even further to make it clear that there
12 was intelligence that Qusay, the second son, may have
13 that authority, but it did not have certainty.
14 Q. Point 3.
15 A. This related to the reporting about uranium from Africa.
16 The intelligence did not say that it had been secured,
17 it only supported the point that it was being sought.
18 In fact, in the wording -- and that is what the
19 16th September draft said; and in the 19th September
20 draft we anyway amended that further, nothing to do with
21 these comments here, to take out the reference to
22 compelling evidence that it had sought uranium in
23 Africa, firstly because we had received further
24 intelligence between the two drafts which indicated that
25 it was being sought but no more; and anyway the word
1 "compelling" is not a word that we would normally use
2 unless we had a very high -- in fact, we would never use
3 it in a JIC assessment, and we took it out. So there
4 was softening of that point too, but that was nothing to
5 do with the point made here.
6 Q. So the answer to Mr Campbell's question, "Can we say he
7 has secured uranium from Africa"?
8 A. No we could not.
9 Q. It was no. Point 4?
10 A. In the executive summary on the 16th there was
11 a reference to the purchase of aluminium tubes which
12 were thought to relate to centrifuge manufacture for
13 production of fissile material, and 60,000 was indeed a
14 figure that they had been trying to purchase. We
15 initially thought that we would put that in, in fact we
16 did not, in fact we took out the whole reference in the
17 executive summary to that point and in addition in the
18 19th September version we caveated the reference in the
19 text to the tubes, making it clear that there was no
20 definitive intelligence that they were related to
21 nuclear matters. That was a reflection of the state of
22 the intelligence.
23 Q. Point 5?
24 A. That was a point of detail which we were able to
1 Q. 6?
2 A. That was clearly not the right language and we took it
4 Q. 7?
5 A. Another point of detail which we addressed.
6 Q. How did you address it?
7 A. We put in -- we stated that it was illegally gained.
8 Q. On what was that based?
9 A. That was based on a range of information, none of that
10 3 billion was within the initial UN funding
12 Q. Point 8?
13 A. No, we could not give those quantities.
14 Q. 9?
15 A. This is a reference to the summary of the two -- of
16 a March 2002 JIC assessment which had included
17 a reference to intelligence about VX, that is a nerve
18 agent, an extremely dangerous nerve agent, production by
19 the Iraqis, and "might" was indeed the most that the
20 intelligence would support. In fact, that whole passage
21 from the JIC assessment which was being summarised at
22 that point was taken out in the final version because we
23 believed that the intelligence did not quite support
24 that statement.
25 Q. Did you go back to the intelligence for the purposes of
1 dealing with questions like 9? There are other examples
3 A. Yes, we did. That was quite an important decision, to
4 take that whole reference out, because the state of
5 their capability and, in particular, production and
6 weapons filling with VX was a very important one. It
7 was referred to as a capability at a later point in the
8 assessment; and we did not feel that it was right to
9 refer to it in those terms in that particular section,
10 it was giving too much weight to the point.
11 Q. Point 10 is about the 45 minutes point.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. What do you say about that?
14 A. Right. Well, that is a reference to the fact that in
15 the text as drafted on 16th September there was a clear
16 inconsistency between the way in which the 45 minutes
17 point was expressed in the executive summary, where for
18 the first time in the drafting it was being expressed as
19 a judgment, not as a reference to recent intelligence;
20 the way it was expressed in the conclusions, the main
21 conclusions in that part of the dossier dealing with
22 chemical and biological weaponry, and also in the body
23 of the text for that part, and then in the main
24 conclusions, a box, which at that stage was in the draft
25 at the end; and in the executive summary at the
1 beginning and in the conclusion at the end it was stated
2 that the chemical and biological weapons could be ready
3 for use within 45 minutes; and in the body -- in that
4 main conclusions part in the body of the text and also
5 in the text it was "may". This was clearly an
6 inconsistency which was unbalanced and needed to be
8 As it happened, completely separate from this point,
9 the DIS had raised the question in advance of the
10 drafting meeting which was taking place under
11 Julian Miller's Chairmanship at 0900 hours on
12 17th September, had raised the wording in the
13 16th September draft of the executive judgment, and had
14 said that they thought it was rather strong. They did
15 not think that the point should not be in the dossier,
16 they thought that judgment was rather strong.
17 So that was the subject of discussion at the
18 17th September meeting before this memo was received.
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. It was decided that, after the end of the discussion,
21 that the assessment staff would go away and look at the
22 9th September classified assessment and also at the
23 intelligence and bring the wording of the text, the two
24 middle sort of points, into line with what the
25 assessment and the intelligence said.
1 The assessment staff also pointed out that the
2 executive summary was worded in the form of a judgment,
3 which was a different point, and the DIS proposal had
4 been it should be qualified "intelligence suggests
5 that". The assessment staff view was you could not do
6 that with a judgment, a judgment is either a judgment or
7 it is not there at all. It is not possible to qualify
8 it with "intelligence indicates" or "intelligence
9 suggests" or whatever. So that was their -- that was
10 how they left it. Subsequently --
11 Q. Just pausing there, were those decisions you have just
12 described made before or after those involved learned of
13 this comment?
14 A. Yes, that discussion took place before this comment was
15 received; and that work was undertaken before this
16 comment was received. As I now know, and we did not at
17 the time, the matter was discussed within the DIS at
18 a meeting chaired by Tony Cragg in the afternoon of the
19 17th September when it was decided not to pursue the
20 point raised by DIS any further. So the action that was
21 taken by assessment staff, consistent with what they had
22 said at the morning meeting, was to amend the draft, and
23 when the new draft was circulated it had been amended to
24 take account of the action that they had taken. This
25 had absolutely nothing to do with any of this.
1 When I replied on this point on the 18th, I said
2 that I think the wording had been tightened. What that
3 meant, quite clearly, was that the wording had been
4 brought into line so the inconsistency had been removed,
5 and it had been brought into line with the underlying
7 Q. It has been suggested, on behalf of the BBC, that if
8 there is an inconsistency you should tone down the
9 executive summary rather than tone up the text.
10 A. But as of course I have explained, the executive summary
11 for the dossier, in paragraph 6, which is the relevant
12 part, took the form of a judgment. It was not a summary
13 of the main points in the text, it was a judgment.
14 Q. Point 11.
15 A. Yes, sorry. That was a reference to the way in which
16 I think it was material which was being procured,
17 I think that is it, was either being used or capable of
18 being used; and the suggestion was one for clarity of
19 language. We thought it was clearer and we accepted it.
20 Q. 12.
21 A. We separately, the DIS had raised this point thinking
22 that the intelligence was not strong enough about the
23 purpose of the vaccine plant and its relationship to the
24 BW programme to merit its mention and so we took it out,
25 quite separately from this.
1 Q. 13.
2 A. This was a date correction. It was a right correction,
3 so we accepted it.
4 Q. 14.
5 A. This was interesting. This related to the most
6 important and complex issue which was under discussion
7 throughout the process of preparing the dossier, the
8 draft dossier, which was the question of how to express
9 the points relating to Iraq's nuclear ambitions. This
10 was quite a complicated matter of different levels of
11 activity, and it was a subject of ongoing discussion.
12 This, here, is a reference to the fact that
13 Alastair Campbell was concerned about the way in which
14 this was being expressed, but work was under way on that
15 anyway and had been for some days involving assessment
16 staff, SIS and, mainly, DIS, and it was eventually
17 resolved. In fact, although Alastair Campbell was kept
18 informed of this issue because it was something which he
19 was legitimately interested in, we had to be doing this
20 anyway because the United States and the IISS, the
21 strategic studies institute, had already publicly said
22 what they believed Iraq's capability to produce
23 a nuclear warhead, if it obtained illicitly from abroad
24 fissile material, would be. Their assessment was
25 markedly less cautious than ours so we knew we would
1 have to be careful about how we expressed this, that
2 work was underway anyway. Alastair Campbell himself had
3 no input into it but he was kept informed of our
4 developing work.
5 Q. Point 15?
6 A. This was really as to how I was going to explain in the
7 overall dossier the history of previous JIC assessments.
8 I did that in a separate way, not as proposed there.
9 Q. I am not going to trouble you with point 16, the number
10 of bullet points.
11 Can I ask you, generally: did you think that it was
12 appropriate for you, as JIC Chairman, to take account of
13 comments like these coming from non-JIC personnel?
14 A. I -- yes, I did. I saw no problem with it at all, as
15 long as the advice that I was receiving or the comments
16 that I was receiving and the points that were being
17 raised in no way impinged on my judgment or questioned
18 my judgment and the judgment of the JIC and the
19 editorial control of the JIC. In one way or another all
20 these points had a presentational angle to them; there
21 were questions of clarity of language, the way things
22 were being expressed; and I welcomed advice on those
23 points. At no point did I feel that there was an
24 attempt to question the editorial judgment or the
25 intelligence judgment that was coming, so I had no
1 problem with it. And none of my JIC colleagues had any
2 problem with it either; and they knew, they did not see
3 this exchange, but they knew that these exchanges were
4 taking place.
5 Q. Some documents were provided to the Inquiry on
6 29th August, after you gave evidence at phase 1. Could
7 we have CAB/27/2, please?
8 LORD HUTTON: Mr Sumption, it is now 1 o'clock, would this
9 be a convenient time?
10 MR SUMPTION: Yes, I think I shall probably have a further
11 10 or 15 minutes. I am sorry to be taking a bit longer
12 than I should, my Lord.
13 LORD HUTTON: No, very good. We will adjourn now.
14 (1.03 pm)
15 (The short adjournment)