Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 160-179)

15 JULY 2003


  Q160  Sir John Stanley: If I may say so, I think you have behaved in a very honourable and proper manner by going to your departmental line managers in the circumstances you describe. That does not get away from the key issue, which is why did you feel it was incumbent upon you to go along with the request that clearly had been made to you to be thrown to the wolves, not only to the media but, also, to this Committee?

  Dr Kelly: I think that is a line of questioning you will have to ask the Ministry of Defence. I am sorry.

  Sir John Stanley: I am grateful.

  Q161  Chairman: Do you feel any concern at the way the Ministry of Defence responded after you volunteered your admission?

  Dr Kelly: I accept what has happened.

  Q162  Andrew Mackinlay: The feeling I have, and you might be able to help me with this, was that there was no serious attempt by the security or intelligence services or the Ministry of Defence Police to find out Gilligan's source. Did they come knocking at your door or that of your colleagues, to your knowledge at all, to discover that?

  Dr Kelly: I have no knowledge of that whatsoever.

  Q163  Andrew Mackinlay: Since you wrote to your superiors in the way you have done, have you met Geoff Hoon?

  Dr Kelly: No.

  Q164  Andrew Mackinlay: Any ministers?

  Dr Kelly: No.

  Mr Pope: Any special advisers?

  Q165  Andrew Mackinlay: Any special advisers?

  Dr Kelly: No.

  Q166  Andrew Mackinlay: Do you know of any other inquiries which have gone on in the department to seek the source—to clarify in addition to you or instead of you or apart from you? None whatsoever?

  Dr Kelly: No.

  Q167  Andrew Mackinlay: I reckon you are chaff; you have been thrown up to divert our probing. Have you ever felt like a fall-guy? You have been set up, have you not?

  Dr Kelly: That is not a question I can answer.

  Q168  Andrew Mackinlay: But you feel that?

  Dr Kelly: No, not at all. I accept the process that is going on.

  Q169  Chairman: I am sorry. You accept . . . ?

  Dr Kelly: I accept the process that is happening.

  Q170  Mr Hamilton: Dr Kelly, I am sorry to go back to something that I know you have already answered or partially answered, but I just want to clarify. My colleague, Mr Ottaway, did refer to this earlier. I just want to come back to this question of Alastair Campbell and Mr Gilligan. The MoD statement states that when Mr Gilligan asked about the role of Alastair Campbell with regard to the 45 minute issue "he made no comment and explained that he was not involved in the process of drawing up the intelligence parts of the dossier"—that is you, of course. Just for the record, can you tell me absolutely whether you named or otherwise identified Alastair Campbell or did you say anything which Mr Gilligan might reasonably have interpreted as identifying Mr Alastair Campbell as wanting to change the dossier or "sex it up" in any way or make undue reference to the 45 minute claim?

  Dr Kelly: I cannot recall that. I find it very difficult to think back to a conversation I had six weeks ago. I cannot recall but that does not mean to say, of course, that such a statement was not made but I really cannot recall it. It does not sound like the sort of thing I would say.

  Q171  Sir John Stanley: One final point on the timetable. What was the date on which you went to your line managers expressing the concern that Mr Gilligan might have drawn on his conversation with you?

  Dr Kelly: I wrote a letter on Monday 30 June.

  Q172  Sir John Stanley: How do you explain the reasons for the delay between the letter you wrote on 30 June and the release of the Ministry of Defence statement throwing you to the wolves?

  Dr Kelly: I cannot explain the bureaucracy that went on in between. I think it went through the line management system and went through remarkably quickly.

  Q173  Sir John Stanley: Did you get any impression that the statement was delayed by the Ministry of Defence in order to ensure that it went out only after our report was published?

  Dr Kelly: I cannot answer that question. I really do not know.

  Q174  Mr Olner: You work for the MoD, Dr Kelly, but work obviously very closely with the intelligence and security services. Did you suggest to anyone at all that the intelligence and security services were unhappy about the September dossier?

  Dr Kelly: Unhappy? I do not think they were unhappy. I think they had confidence in the information that was provided in that dossier.

  Q175  Mr Olner: So there was no, if you like, feeling within the security services that this was a piece of work that had been "sexed-up" and it was going to be rubbished at the end of the day?

  Dr Kelly: I think there were people who worked extremely hard to achieve that document and the calibre of the document that was produced.

  Q176  Mr Pope: When you met Mr Gilligan on 27 May did you feel at the time that you were doing anything untoward, that you were breaching the confidence that is expected of you within your job?

  Dr Kelly: No. I think it has been agreed by the Ministry of Defence there was no security breach involved in the interactions I had.

  Q177  Mr Pope: Do you think, in your experience, that there is a widespread culture in the MoD and, perhaps, in the intelligence and security services of people speaking in an unofficial capacity to journalists? Certainly the impression I got from Mr Gilligan was that that was a widespread culture that journalists would have a number of contacts in the MoD or in the security services. Is that your experience?

  Dr Kelly: It is not my experience but I think you have to recognise that I have a strange background in the sense that I operated for ten years internationally interacting with the international press and was well-known to the press and had quite a lot of contact. I think I am somewhat unusual in terms of the people who have an interest in that situation.

  Q178  Mr Pope: Finally, were you aware of any widespread unease about the accuracy of the September dossier, at the time it was published, amongst people who were involved in providing information for it?

  Dr Kelly: I do not believe there was any difficulty over the accuracy of that document.

  Q179  Chairman: Dr Kelly, Sir John has properly said that you acted honourably. When you thought that you might have been the source you wrote a letter volunteering the fact of your meeting. Given what has subsequently happened, do you feel used in any way?

  Dr Kelly: You have already asked that question. I accept the process that I have encountered.

  Chairman: May I thank you on behalf of the Committee. You have been most helpful.

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