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なお、記事の最初の段落にある、「the apparent suicide 」の
The vendetta's victim
Crisis for the Blair government
Michael White, Richard Norton-Taylor, Steven Morris and Matt Wells
Saturday July 19, 2003
Tony Blair's government was last night shaken to its foundations
by the apparent suicide of Dr David Kelly, the backroom Whitehall
scientist caught in the lethal crossfire over weapons of mass
destruction between Downing Street and the BBC.
Though No 10 moved quickly to concede a judicial inquiry, chaired
by Lord Hutton, into the official handling of Dr Kelly during the
last week of his life, the latest tragedy arising from the Iraq
war looked set to cast an ever-longer shadow over Mr Blair's
already troubled second administration.
The prime minister's Boeing 777 was high over the Pacific en route
to Tokyo from his triumphant address to a joint session of
Congress in Washington when news emerged at breakfast time of Dr
Kelly's disappearance from his Oxfordshire home. The timing evoked
Greek tragedy: triumph followed by disaster.
Within hours a body, still officially unidentified, was found
shortly before Mr Blair's flight landed in the Japanese capital on
what was meant to be routine trade and political business.
Alastair Campbell, the No 10 communications director, who is the
main target of opposition and media attacks, had earlier flown
home from the US and was busy last night organising the
Mr Campbell has no intention of resigning over the tragedy. And
some senior and well-informed backbench MPs believe that the
report of the intelligence and security committee (ISC), expected
in September around the same time as Lord Hutton's narrower
investigation is published, will exonerate him from the BBC-
promulgated charge of "sexing up" the key Iraq intelligence
Far from home, on the kind of week-long foreign trip which many
voters mistrust, Mr Blair was caught in the wrong place at the
wrong time, his "history will forgive us" claim for the invasion
of Iraq instantly overshadowed by the body discovered on
Harrowdown Hill, near Abingdon.
The muted reaction to the tragedy of politicians on all sides is
unlikely to last and there was immediate criticism of the way No
10 and the Ministry of Defence had, in the view of some MPs,
allowed Dr Kelly to become the "fall guy" in the affair.
A Labour MP, Donald Anderson, chairman of the Commons foreign
affairs committee (FAC), was also forced to defend his panel's
conduct, despite concluding that Dr Kelly was "most unlikely" to
be the BBC's mole and complaining in writing to Jack Straw, the
foreign secretary, that the contract scientist had been "poorly
treated by the government" since voluntarily admitting an "
unauthorised" media contact.
The FAC interrogated the soft-spoken Dr Kelly on Tuesday, six days
after he was outed as Whitehall's most likely source for the BBC
reporter Andrew Gilligan. It was a rough session. Next day he
endured a gentler grilling by the more senior intelligence and
security committee of MPs and peers, who extracted "nothing new"
Amid genuine distress expressed by Mr Blair and echoed by Iain
Duncan Smith and Charles Kennedy, some MPs backed complaints that
Dr Kelly was unfairly roughed up - a complaint Gilligan also made
on his own behalf after a second FAC grilling on Thursday.
The FAC has already reported, though it has belatedly concluded Mr
Gilligan is an "unsatisfactory witness". The reporter is unlikely
to face ISC interrogation, though the committee will see
transcripts of his and Dr Kelly's private testimony. So will Lord
Hutton if he so wishes.
A key question facing the judicial inquiry is the pressure put on
Dr Kelly by the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, in the attempt to
flush out the BBC's source. Mr Hoon is potentially as much in the
frame as Mr Campbell. He and his senior officials will be crucial
witnesses at the inquiry.
Crucial to the inquiry will be the circumstances surrounding Dr
Kelly's admission to senior MoD officials that he might have been
a source for Gilligan's claim that No 10 had inserted, against
intelligence advice, the claim that Iraq could ready its banned
weapons in 45 minutes.
The MoD says Dr Kelly volunteered that he had met Gilligan after
reading the reporter's evidence to the FAC, as he later told MPs
himself. Five days later, the MoD issued a carefully worded
statement, agreed with Dr Kelly but drafted in a way that made it
relatively easy for him to be identified.
Mr Hoon, like Mr Campbell, was convinced Dr Kelly was the BBC's
source and relentlessly pursued the corporation in an effort to
expose him. The corporation defied calls to confirm or deny that
claim, insisting on protecting its source.
Both sides dug in, leaving Dr Kelly in no-man's-land. No 10 is
adamant that it played no part in the process, but confirms he was
warned that his agreed anonymity might not last. He was even
offered secure accommodation and faced no disciplinary action
other than a mild reprimand, officials said last night.
Dr Kelly left home, a three-storey 18th-century farmhouse in the
south Oxfordshire village of Southmoor, at around 3pm on Thursday.
When he failed to return after a few hours, friends and
neighbours began to hunt for him. They called the police at 11.
45pm. The force helicopter was scrambled and sniffer dogs were
brought in. By morning more than 70 officers were involved and a
body was found at about 9.30am in a wood on Harrowdown Hill, about
two miles from Dr Kelly's home.
Though the body will not be formally identified until today,
police are certain it is that of Dr Kelly. Clothes on the body
matched those the scientist had been wearing.
The manner of his death remained unknown last night but it is
understood investigators quickly ruled out natural causes.
Suggestions that Dr Kelly, a father of three daughters, suffered
shotgun injuries or that a rope was found at the scene were
discounted by police sources. No suicide note has been found at
the scene or at Dr Kelly's home.
Police sources said the family did not report the disappearance
more quickly because they were so sure that, despite the pressure
he was under, he would not be driven to take his own life.
However, when Dr Kelly's wife, Janice, spoke to a close friend of
her husband's, the television journalist and author Tom Mangold,
before the body was found she conceded that her husband had been
furious at how he had been treated over the last two weeks.
Mangold said: "She said he was very stressed and unhappy about
what had happened. This was really not the kind of world he wanted
to live in."
She told Mangold her husband had felt physically sick after he
left the foreign affairs committee.
The BBC was reeling from the news, appearing unsure how to react.
It put out a short statement, which said: "We are shocked and
saddened to hear what has happened and we extend our deepest
sympathies to Dr Kelly's family and friends."