Sunday, August 24, 2003

There You Go

I haven't been parsing the minutiae of the BBC vs. Blair case, but this doesn't look particularly good for Campbell:

A STAGGERING 6000 pages of documents released yesterday afternoon by the Hutton Inquiry include e-mails from Number 10 and briefing papers that confirm Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s communications chief, had been actively involved in discussions on the compilation of the Iraq dossier with John Scarlett, chairman of the joint intelligence committee (JIC). Campbell wrote: “I had many discussions with the chairman of the JIC on presentational issues arising from the dossier and, in common with other officials, made drafting suggestions as the document evolved through various drafts.”
That contradicts the evidence he gave to the inquiry last week, when Campbell had been at pains to play down the role he and other officials played in compiling the dossier, stressing that it was essentially the work of the JIC. He had said that he had “no input, output or influence” on the dossier at any stage and that his own contributions had been “observations” rather than “suggestions” while e-mails from other officials commenting on the dossier had been no more than “office chatter”.