SOL: Hutton Inquiry - Monday 15th September

Published: Wed 17 Sep 2003 01:02 PM
From the Streets of London with William Moloney
Hutton Inquiry: Monday 15th September
Greg Dyke BBC Director General
Mr. Dyke said that if the BBC made mistakes they should apologize for them and gave examples of where this had happened before.
Mr. Dyke asked BBC controller of editorial policy, Stephen Wittle, to look into Andrew Gilligan’s report.
Mr. Dyke agreed with the assertion that the charge that the govt. had used information, the 45-minute claim, when it knew it to be false was “pretty serious”.
"But there is a distinction between a charge made by the BBC and a charge made by a source to the BBC. They carry a different degree of gravity."
Mr. Dyke said of Alistair Campbell, that the attack on the BBC contained within his evidence to the Commons committee was "pretty near unprecedented". Mr. Dyke said that this attack was not only concerned with Mr. Gilligan’s report, but he was asserting that the BBC had been "running an agenda against the war".
"He had launched a broadside against the whole of BBC journalism and by this time it seemed to me an external attack, and we had to take some action,"
Both he and Richard Sambrook, Head of BBC News, thought that Mr. Campbell’s attack was a diversionary tactic, to draw the media away from his role in the dodgy dossier.
He said he wished he had referred the open letter Mr. Campbell sent Mr. Sambrook to the BBC complaints procedure rather than dealing with it himself.
He said of Andrew Gilligan’s contact with members of the FAC committee before Dr. Kelly gave evidence; it was “not acceptable”.
Sir Richard Dearlove- Head of MI6 (Evidence by secure audio link)
Sir Richard was “rather amused” by the fact that the 45-minute claim was from a single source caused so much concern.
"Much high quality intelligence which is factual or proved to be factual is single source material."
He admitted that some of the criticism of the 45-minute claim was valid.
He said that this was due to the fact that the intelligence around the 45-minute claim was misinterpreted.
"I think what subsequently happened in the reporting was that it was taken that the 45 minutes applied, let's say, to weapons of a longer range, (not) just battlefield material,"
He stated that he thought that Dr. Kelly’s portrayal of a row between Number 10 and the intelligence services over the 45-claim was not a true reflection. He was not aware of any officials expressing concerning over the dossier.
Air Marshall Sir Joe French- Former Head of the Defense Intelligence Staff (DIS)
Sir Joe said the role of the DIS was to gather and analyze intelligence for use by those deployed on operations.
He defended the 45-minute claim.
Sir Joe said that the source for the 45-claim was long established and reliable.
He stated that he had no problem with the language in the dossier.
He said that he did not know Dr. Kelly.
Tony Cragg- Former Deputy Head of DIS under Sir Joe French
He stated that in his view the dossier was prepared and produced through a rigorous process of drafting.
“I and my senior manager were satisfied with the outcome…. If I had not been satisfied I would have said something”.
He said that concerns within the DIS around the dossier cantered on the executive summary of the dossier and its “discontinuity” with the main text.
"I put this down to the fact that the executive summary pulled together or reflected not merely recent intelligence which was being - which was contained - in the main text but also the general context of the new intelligence which had been received."
He said any staff concerns were dealt with properly.
**** ENDS ****

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