Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Friday | August 29, 2003

Campbell quits

This is shaping up to be a news-heavy day. Alastair Campblell, the man whose vendetta gainst the BBC led to David Kelly's suicide, has resigned because of his family yadda yadda.

While Campbell has denied allegations he "sexed up" the government's Iraq dossier, recent revelations had been damning, contradicting his assertion that he had nothing to do with the drafting of the document.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair's office authorised a "substantial rewrite" of the government's controversial dossier on Iraq, an inquiry into the apparent suicide of weapons expert David Kelly heard today.

Kelly's death is the subject of a parliamentary inquiry, amid allegations - reportedly based on the weapons scientist's evidence - that the Blair administration exaggerated the case for war on Iraq.

An email from Blair's director of communications Alastair Campbell to chief-of-staff Jonathan Powell, dated September 5, disclosed that the dossier was being substantially rewritten ahead of its publication on September 24.

Campbell, 46, is the man accused by BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan of personally beefing up Downing Street's controversial dossier on Iraq, aimed at justifying the case for military action ahead of the March war.

Campbell's resignation comes right after Blair's explosive testimony that he personally outed Kelly himself.
The prime minister admitted passing on details about Dr Kelly to the BBC chairman, Gavyn Davies, in an attempt to force the corporation to apologise for its controversial report that Downing Street had "sexed up" last year's arms dossier.
Note the lack of ambiguity. Blair didn't order his surrogates to out Kelly, he himself made the phone call.

This is in direct contradiction to earlier statements denying a role in the sorry saga, and pointing the finger at the Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon (who un-dutifully refused to take the fall when he testified Wednesday).

Campbell is Blair's Rove, considered by many to be the second most powerful man in the UK. The resignation is clearly designed to take the heat off Blair. But speculation persists that Blair may have to resign if Lord Hutton issues a damning report.

Posted August 29, 2003 07:22 AM | Comments (72)


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