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CNN SUNDAY MORNING

BBC Reveals Kelly as Source of 'Sexed Up Intelligence' Report

Aired July 20, 2003 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN CO-HOST: We begin this hour at the center of a story involving death and allegations of government deceit. Just over an hour ago, the British Broadcasting Company revealed the source of its charge that British government, quote, "sexed up" intelligence about Iraq's weapons program to justify the war. That source, the BBC says is a former government scientist who was found dead on Thursday.
CNN's Jim Boulden is in our London bureau now with the very latest on all of this.

Good morning to you, Jim.

JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good morning. I have to say this is a stunning development, indeed. Dr. David Kelly when he appeared before Parliament on Tuesday said he did not think he was that main source of information. But just an hour ago the BBC said that, in fact, they say he was the main source.

Of course, Dr. Kelly went missing on Thursday from his home. His body was found on Friday and yesterday the police confirmed it looks indeed to be a suicide.

Let me read you the BBC statement. It says," We can confirm that Dr. Kelly was the principal source for both Drew Gilligan's report;" he's the BBC reporter who broke that story, "and Susan Watts reports on 'News Night'. The BBC believes we accurately interpreted and reported the factual information obtained by us during the interviews with Dr. Kelly."

Now the reason that is important is because Dr. Kelly admitted he was a source for the BBC, but it was always believed that the BBC had a more senior source. The government but this man up because they said he indeed was not senior. So therefore, the BBC could not claim the government in fact, sexed up those reports about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

The BBC also made a statement on television just a few moments ago. Let's hear from Richard Sambrook of the BBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD SAMBROOK, DIRECTOR, BBC NEWS: We continue to believe we were right to place Dr. Kelly's views in the public domain. However, the BBC is profoundly sorry that his involvement as our source has had such a tragic end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOULDEN: So, so far the BBC is not admitting that it was wrong to use Dr. Kelly's information though his name never did come up from the BBC. It was the government who put Dr. Kelly up as the source, saying of course, that he could not be a senior source; so therefore, he would not know this.

Now, Tony Blair is not here to answer a lot of these questions because he is traveling in Asia. And this morning in South Korea he had this to say about the death of Dr. Kelly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY BLAIR, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: I do think this is a time for respect and restraint. Not for recrimination of any sort. In addition, I would say that, of course, there are things that I will talk about to the inquiry, as will others.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOULDEN: What he was talking about there is an inquiry that will be held by an independent judiciary person. They will look into all the aspects leading up to the death of Dr. Kelly. Now, the Opposition Party here wants to look at the whole issue of weapons of mass destruction and why the government made so many claims about the weapons as did, of course, George W. Bush. And of course, as we know, none of those weapons have been found.

Back to you.

COLLINS: Jim Boulden, live from London this morning. Thanks so much, Jim.

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