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BBCでは「説明できない死として処理されている」(treated as an "unexplained death")と報じており、検屍と法医学的調査が始まるとしている。
The Kelly affair: The weapons
Death deals devastating blow to Iraq arms hunt
Sunday July 20, 2003
David Kelly was about to lead the British hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and had contacted former UN inspectors as recently as two weeks ago to sound them out about a new mission.
He was acting as the senior British scientific adviser to the Iraq Survey Group, the body set up by the US Government at the end of May to replace the United Nations weapons inspection regime.
One former UN inspector, who worked with Kelly on two missions to Iraq in the Nineties, said he had received an email from the scientist two weeks ago asking him join the survey group mission. Kelly was working directly under Brigadier John Deverell, the British second in command of the survey group.
The unit was set up in May and is led by Major-General Keith Dayton, director of operations for the US Defence Intelligence Agency. With offices in Iraq, near Baghdad airport, and a logistics base in Qatar, the survey group has a staff of around 1,400 people drawn from the US, Britain and Australia.
Former inspectors said the death of the British Government's most senior chemical and biological weapons scientist would be a devastating blow to the survey group.
'Everybody very much deferred to him. Other experts turned to him, he was a leader and people always listened when he spoke,' one former inspector who had worked with Kelly said.
The news that Kelly was to play a central role in the coalition's search for WMD will provoke further questions about the Ministry of Defence's decision to identify him and place him at the centre of a row between Downing Street and the BBC.
His prominence also contradicts briefings from the MoD that the man they believed to be the source of BBC reports that the Government had 'sexed up' its claims about Saddam Hussein's arsenal was a junior figure.
The survey group has already seized thousands of documents, computer records and reports that are believed to have informed the Government's view that some evidence of WMD programmes would be found, if not the weapons themselves.
His death was described as a devastating blow to the search for WMDs by colleagues who had worked with him in Iraq. 'All his knowledge died with him,' a former soldier who worked with him in Iraq said.
A UN nuclear inspector said Kelly was present when he was debriefed by the intelligence services on his return from Iraq. 'He was the boffin who used to sit in the background and ask questions. He was very senior on the weapons team in the Nineties and was very trusted by the MoD.'
Colleagues said they were appalled that such a senior and respected scientist has been treated so disrespectfully by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. 'I found that particularly unpleasant,' one said.
'It was nasty and unprofessional. The people who were doing the interrogation were not fit to sharpen his pencils.'
The work of hunting for weapons of mass destruction after the war was originally carried out by the 75th Exploitation Task Force of the US army.
Despite international demands for the job to be passed to the UN the allies set up the survey group with the aim of combining the work of US, British and Australian intelligence under one roof.
Although the US Government refused to allow the post-war inspections to be run under UN auspices, most of the senior staff are former UN weapons inspectors with many years of experience searching for Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.
Iraq: Observer special
Iraq: more from Guardian Unlimited
Special report: politics and the media
Special report: the BBC
20.07.2003: Kelly's family: 'Events made David's life intolerable'
20.07.2003: Blair ally blasts BBC's 'obsession'
20.07.2003: Iraq row over fate of seized scientists
20.07.2003: A haunted man - but did he have to die?
20.07.2003: Who's who - and what they said
20.07.2003: The unanswered questions
The Kelly affair: the fallout
20.07.2003: The media: Beleaguered BBC prepares to strike back
20.07.2003: The weapons: Death deals blow to Iraq arms hunt
20.07.2003: The politics: No ordinary summer
20.07.2003: Leader: A casualty of our disdain for truth
20.07.2003: Peter Mandelson: BBC has put self-regard ahead of truth
20.07.2003: David Aaronovitch: Such blatant bias
20.07.2003: Peter Preston: The high court of media opinion
More Observer Iraq comment
Body 'matches' Iraq expert
A body matching the description of Dr David Kelly - the weapons expert at the centre of the Iraq dossier row - has been found at a beauty spot close to his home in Oxfordshire.
The government says an independent judicial inquiry will be held into the circumstances of his death if the body is confirmed to be that of the MoD adviser.
The discovery was made at 0920 BST by a member of the police team searching for Dr Kelly in a wooded area at Harrowdown Hill, near Faringdon.
Dr Kelly, 59, had been caught up in a row between the BBC and the government about the use of intelligence reports in the run-up to the war with Iraq.
SEARCH FOR DAVID KELLY
1500 BST: Told wife going for a walk near their home
2345 BST: Police informed he is missing
On Tuesday he told the Foreign Affairs select committee he had spoken to BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan but denied he was the main source for a story about claims that a dossier on Iraq had been "sexed up".
Dr Kelly left his home in Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, at about 1500 BST on Thursday and his family reported him missing at 2345 BST the same day.
The body was found lying on the ground, around five miles from Dr Kelly's home, a police spokeswoman said.
Acting superintendent Dave Purnell said formal identification would take place on Saturday and the case was being treated as an "unexplained death".
"We will be awaiting the results of the post mortem and also waiting while the forensic examination continues at the scene at Harrowdown Hill," he added.
A hearse left the scene shortly before 2000 BST on Friday.
The government announcement of an inquiry if the body is Dr Kelly's came from the prime minister's plane as he flew for a visit to Tokyo.
He is not used to the media glare, he is not used to the intense spotlight he has been put under
Mr Blair's spokesman said: "The prime minister is obviously very distressed for the family.
"If it is Dr Kelly's body, the Ministry of Defence will hold an independent judicial inquiry into the circumstances leading up to his death."
Officials stressed the inquiry would not be the wide-ranging investigation into the run-up to the war urged by opposition MPs.
It will be headed by a law lord - Lord Hutton - but it is expected to take a matter of weeks not months.
Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said Mr Blair should consider cutting short his trip to the Far East.
Robert Jackson, the Conservative MP in whose constituency Dr Kelly lived, said the "responsibility of the BBC should not go unmentioned" in the case.
"The pressure was significantly increased by the fact the BBC refused to make it clear he was not the source," he said.
A BBC spokesman said: "We are shocked and saddened to hear what has happened and we extend our deepest sympathies to Dr Kelly's family and friends.
"Whilst Dr Kelly's family await the formal identification, it would not be appropriate for us to make any further statement."
Earlier this week, Dr Kelly denied being the BBC's main source for the story claiming Downing Street had "sexed up" the dossier about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
MPs on the Commons foreign affairs committee, which questioned Dr Kelly earlier this week, reacted with shock and disbelief at news of his disappearance.
Huge media attention has been on Dr Kelly since the Ministry of Defence said he had come forward to admit meeting Andrew Gilligan, the BBC correspondent behind the controversial Iraq story.
Mr Gilligan said a source had told him that the dossier on Iraq had been "transformed" by Downing Street.
The BBC correspondent has refused to name his source, but the MoD said Dr Kelly had come forward to say it may have been him.
Supt Purnell said a police family liaison officer is with Dr Kelly's family. He is married to Janice and they have three daughters, Sian, 32, and twins Rachel and Ellen, 30.
Ann Lewis, a neighbour of Dr Kelly, told BBC News Online she was "devastated".
She said: "He was a quiet man. He was a man who showed great care and concern for others."
Craig Foster, 36, landlord of the Blue Boar public house in nearby Longworth, said Dr Kelly was "a very well liked gentleman".
A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "We are aware that Dr David Kelly has gone missing and we are obviously concerned."
The ministry said Dr Kelly had at no point been threatened with suspension or dismissal for speaking to Mr Gilligan.
It was made clear to him that he had broken civil service rules by having unauthorised contact with a journalist, but "that was the end of it", said a spokesman.
There must be more to this than we had thought. I do not know what that means, I just think there is
Foreign affairs committee
Downing Street says "normal personnel procedures" were followed after Dr Kelly volunteered that he might have been the source of Mr Gilligan's report.
It was made clear to Dr Kelly that his name was likely to become public knowledge because he was one of only a small number of people it could have been about, a spokesman said.
After questioning Dr Kelly earlier this week, the Commons foreign affairs select committee said it was "most unlikely" he was the main source for the BBC story.
And they said Dr Kelly, who has worked as a weapons inspector in Iraq, had been "poorly treated" by the government - a charge strongly rejected by the MoD.
Committee chairman Donald Anderson told the BBC his "heart went out" to Dr Kelly's family as the search for the official went on.
Another member of the committee, Tory John Maples said he was "speechless" after hearing of the discovery of a body.
"If it is (Dr Kelly), it is just awful. What can you say? Nothing," he said.
Tory MP Richard Ottaway, another committee member, said: "He is not used to the media glare, he is not used to the intense spotlight he has been put under."
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2003/07/18 19:54:14 GMT