Wednesday, August 13, 2003
The Stone Tape - 13th August 2003, 23.31

The comments that we have seen today show that neither the Blair administration or the BBC will obtain vindication from Hutton's inquiry for their actions. The editorial actions of the BBC were found wanting with the evidence of Gillian Watts, science reporter on Newsnight. Her executives were more interested in upholding the BBC's reputation than in reporting the story in a neutral and impartial manner, especially concerning their own role. Watts was so alarmed she had to appoint her own legal counsel.

"I felt the BBC was trying to mould my stories so they reached the same conclusions [as Gilligan]. That's why I sought independent legal advice. I'm most concerned about the fact there was an attempt to mould [my stories] so they corroborated [Gilligan's stories] which I felt was misguided and false," Watts said.

When one reads the transcript of the tape, the dossier was altered in order to enhance its political utility and put forward a case for war. The role of No. 10 is clear.

SW: But on the 45 minutes.

DK: Oh that I knew because I knew the concern about the statement. It was a statement that was made and it just got out of all proportion you know someone...

They were desperate for information, they were pushing hard for information which could be released that was one that popped up and it was seized on and it was unfortunate that it was which is why there is the argument between the intelligence services and cabinet office/number 10, because things were picked up on, and once they've picked up on it you can't pull it back, that's the problem.

What is hidden from sight under the narrow remit of Hutton's investigation is Kelly's own doubts about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The process has only just started I think one of the problems with the dossier - and again I think you and I have talked about it in the past is that it was presented in a very black and white way without any sort of quantitative aspects.

The only quantitative aspects were the figures derived essentially from Unscom figures, which in turn are Iraq's figures presented to Unscom - you know the inaudible litres anthrax, the 4 tonnes VX - all of that actually is Iraqi figures - but there was nothing else in there that was quantitative or even remotely qualitative - I mean it was just a black and white thing - they have weapons or they don't have weapons

That in turn has been interpreted as being a vast arsenal and I'm not sure any of us ever said that, people have said to me that that was what was implied.

That was the real concern that everyone had, it was not so much what they have now but what they would have in the future. Again we discussed it, and I discussed it with many people, that my own perception is that yes they have weapons but actually not inaudible [not problem] at this point in time

One of Britain's leading experts on the situation in Iraq was stating that Hussein could have the potential to manufacture WMDs; implying that no arsenal existed when the coalition went to war. No wonder certain quarters wished to sully this man's reputation, and portray his statements as fantasy.


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