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2004-01-30

Top Two BBC Heads Resign After "Whitewash" Hutton Report Clears Blair, Blames BBC

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The BBC issued an apology and its chairman and director general resigned following a judicial inquiry in Britain that cleared Prime Minister Tony Blair of exaggerating intelligence claims about Iraq in the lead-up to the invasion.

A judicial inquiry in Britain has cleared Prime Minister Tony Blair of exaggerating intelligence claims about Iraq in the lead-up to the invasion.

The inquiry headed by Lord Hutton blamed the BBC for airing what it described as unfounded allegations that the British government had sexed up intelligence about Iraq.

In response to the Hutton Report, BBC chairman Gavyn Davies submitted his resignation and the BBC issued an apology for inaccuracies in its original report. Following Davies’ resignation, BBC director general Greg Dyke also resigned.

The BBC’s original report on May 29 led to a chain of events that resulted in the apparent suicide in July of David Kelly. Kelly was a British weapons expert who was identified publicly as the source for the BBC story. The Hutton Report is being widely viewed as a whitewash by critics of the Iraq invasion.

Greg Dyke was harshly critical of former communications director Alastair Campbell who spent yesterday doing a series of interviews, stating he had always told the truth and that he had been vindicated by Lord Hutton. Dyke called Campbell "remarkably ungracious", and said Lord Hutton’s conclusions were "quite clearly wrong" on some points of law.

  • 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.
  • * Greg Palast*, investigative reporter with the BBC and author of the books 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy' and 'Democracy and Regulation'

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