Friday, July 18, 2003
According to reports in this morning’s London Guardian and on the BBC web site, a lifeless body, matching the description of Dr. David Kelly, a British Ministry of Defense official, former Iraq weapons inspector and possible source for the BBC’s original claim that WMD intelligence had been “sexed up”, was found this morning lying face down in a wooded area within 5 miles of Dr. Kelly’s home in Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Kelly arriving to testify before
a committee of the House of Commons
The British government has announced that if the body is formally identified as Dr. Kelly an independent judicial inquiry will be held to examine the circumstance surrounding the death.
According to the Guardian:
The 59-year-old went missing from his home in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, at 3pm yesterday afternoon after telling his wife he was going for a walk, according to a Thames Valley police spokesman. The body was discovered lying face down at 9.20am by a police search team at Harrowdown Hill, about five miles from Dr Kelly's home in Abingdon. No note has been found either at the scene or at Dr Kelly's house. Responding to questions about whether the dead man had died of gunshot wounds, the spokesman said that Dr Kelly was not a licensed firearms holder.
Dr Kelly, who volunteered to give evidence to the foreign affairs select committee (FAC), admitted to MPs last week he had met the BBC defense correspondent, Andrew Gilligan, on three occasions since September 2002…But Dr Kelly said he did not believe he could be the primary source of the report at the center of a bitter row between the BBC and No 10. "I believe I am not the main source. From the conversation I had with him I don't see how he could make the authoritative statements he was making from the comments that I made," Dr Kelly said. Committee members were critical of the government's handling of Dr Kelly, saying he had been the "fall guy" and had been "poorly treated" by the defense minister. Sir Richard Ottaway, a Tory member of the FAC, told Sky News that if the body was Dr Kelly, it "threw into stark relief the actions of the spin doctors within Downing Street and the Labor government". He added, "An innocent scientist used in this way demands an inquiry at the highest level".
The BBC, whose sourced investigation discovered that the documentary evidence detailing Iraq WMD had been “sexed up” and resulted in major political scandals on both sides of the Atlantic has been a bit more circumspect but essentially parallels the Guardian’s reporting.
Has the other shoe fallen?