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MoD gave clues to David Kelly's identity

Neither I nor the BBC "betrayed" David Kelly. Neither I nor the BBC ever revealed him as my source – either in public or in an email to an MP – until after his death.

It was the Ministry of Defence press office that gave journalists a number of clues to his identity, confirming him as the source to any who guessed correctly. One newspaper put about 20 names to the press office before it confirmed David's. Once his name was in the public domain, the Government successfully pushed a reluctant Foreign Affairs Committee to reopen its inquiry and interview David.



Although, as I have always said, I was quite wrong to email a member of the committee saying that I thought David had spoken to Newsnight's Susan Watts, that email made no difference: questions prepared by the clerks for members of the committee show that they always intended to ask him about his contacts with Watts.



Watts told the Hutton inquiry that David's "less than frank" answers to the committee about his contacts with her "relieved me of my obligation to protect his identity as a confidential source". But she cannot be blamed for his death, since she states that she did not see the transcript of David's testimony until after he died.



No one involved in this sorry business, least of all me, behaved perfectly. But the people in the best position to know who David blamed for his predicament are those with whom he spent the last few days of his life – his widow and daughters. Mrs Kelly did say that her husband felt "betrayed" – by the MoD. In several hours of testimony to Hutton, his family made it quite clear who he and they blamed for his plight, and it wasn't me or the BBC.



Andrew Gilligan via email

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