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Inquiry into David Kelly's Death Takes Emotional Turn as Powerful UK Communications Director Alastair Campbell Resigns

September 02, 2003

Close relatives of British weapons expert David Kelly who died of an alleged suicide describe how he was anxious and upset after being caught up in a political firestorm over the government’s case for an invasion of Iraq. We speak with lecturer and columnist Glen Rangwala.

Britain’s inquiry into the death of leading weapons scientist Dr David Kelly took an emotional turn today.

Close relatives of Kelly described how he was anxious and upset after being caught up in political firestorm over the government’s case for an invasion of Iraq.

David Kelly is the British weapons expert who allegedly committed suicide after it was revealed that he had told the BBC the government had exaggerated Iraq’s arsenal. He was found dead slumped against the bottom of a tree with four cardio-electrode pads on his chest.

David Kelly’s wife yesterday took the stand and described her husband’s state of mind. She said Kelly felt betrayed by his employer, the Ministry of Defense, when he heard that it was planning to name him as the source for the controversial BBC report.

Meanwhile, David Kelly’s daughter said that her father turned pale at the mention of the name of the prime minister’s powerful communications chief, Alastair Campbell.

Campbell announced on Friday that he is to resign as Downing Street’s director of communications and strategy.

Campbell became the center of the Iraq dossier controversy when BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan wrote in his Mail on Sunday column that he had taken a hand in intelligence matters.

Gilligan said his source told him that a claim Iraq could launch chemical weapons within 45 minutes was inserted against the wishes of intelligence officials. He wrote "I asked him how this transformation happened. The answer was a single word: Campbell."

Campbell said Friday "I had intended to leave last summer but as the Iraq issue developed, the Prime Minister asked me to stay on to oversee Government communications on Iraq, and I was happy to do so."

Meanwhile British Prime Minister Tony Blair testified Thursday during a judicial inquiry that he did not exaggerate the threat Iraq posed before the invasion and he defended how his government handled the case of David Kelly.

  • Glen Rangwala, lecturer in politics at Cambridge University in Britain. He also writes a weekly column for the Independent of London. He was the researcher who discovered Britain’s Iraq weapons dossier was stolen from a doctoral student’s thesis.

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