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January 21, 2004
Dead Scientist Believed Iraq Had WMDs

Months after the suicide of a British government scientist threw into doubt Anglo-American claims of WMD possession by the Iraqis and touched off accusations of a murder conspiracy to silence the analyst, the BBC admits that it has an unbroadcast interview with the late David Kelly in which he insists that Iraq had WMDs and posed an immediate threat:

The weapons expert slashed his wrists near his home in Oxfordshire, southern England, in July 2003 after being exposed as the source of a claim by a BBC reporter that the prime minister's team inflated the threat posed by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, to justify war.

One week before senior judge Lord Hutton delivers his report on Kelly's death -- a judgment that could be critical of ministers -- the BBC said it would broadcast later Wednesday an interview it recorded with Kelly in October 2002, which it has never shown. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said in September 2002 that Iraq's weapons could be deployed within 45 minutes.

In one excerpt of the interview seen by CNN, Kelly was asked if "they" posed an "immediate threat." It was not entirely clear if the reporter was referring to Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.

Kelly replied: "Yes they are. Even if they are not actually filled and deployed today the capability exists to get them filled and deployed within a matter of days or weeks. So yes, they are a real threat."

The BBC had this interview for fifteen months and never released it until now, while the British news service printed allegations of fraudulent intelligence analysis. Don't you think that knowing Kelly's position on WMDs before the start of the war might have some bearing on the hysterical interpretations of his suicide? It certainly establishes that Blair and his government were honestly given and used the specific intelligence on which they publicly based their arguments for military action and didn't make it up out of thin air.

So now do we get to hear an apology for the past several months of protesters making Kelly out to be a martyr who was killed by the Bush/Blair crime family for threatening the omerta of warmongers? Nah. You see, even though the Tinfoil Hat Brigade was wrong this time, it doesn't mean that Bush and Blair aren't still evil incarnate.

Addendum: The BBC notes that this will not shower glory on Auntie Beeb:

BBC correspondent Nicholas Witchell said the programme made "very uncomfortable" viewing for the BBC.

"What the BBC will be hoping is that the best way to demonstrate the strength, and it would say the integrity, of its journalism, is to be seen to be reporting very robustly, very fully and very candidly, on a story which does in some respects reflect badly on it," he told BBC News at 10.

UPDATE: Sullivan had it first, which I just found out.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 21, 2004 10:17 PM

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