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The Daily TelegraphのHutton Inquiryまとめ記事(Opinion)
投稿者 YOS 日時 2003 年 9 月 27 日 01:21:49:4OWBUIpC78RHA


What Hutton must judge
(Filed: 26/09/2003)

The Hutton Inquiry yesterday concluded its examination of evidence, with the exception of a special hearing next week for Sir Kevin Tebbit, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence. Lord Hutton has promised to deliver his report if possible by November and not later than December. His is now the loneliness of the longdistance inquisitor.

His tribunal has provided an unprecedented revelation of the inner workings of government: a cathartic experience for the country in general, and the political, administrative and media elites in particular. Lord Hutton has conducted his inquiry with the utmost dispatch, and the public has been treated to an impressive display of the forensic skills of the legal profession. The process vindicates the Prime Minister's decision to focus the inquiry on the circumstances leading to David Kelly's death. A judicial inquiry would not have been appropriate for a purely political question, such as whether it was right to go to war. Hutton had the tools to do the job that needed doing.

Any assessment must still be provisional, but it is already clear that Hutton has cost the Government dear in popular esteem. It is the style rather than the substance of government that is most unedifying. An unpleasant regime of bullying and toadying across Whitehall has emerged. Perhaps the most abject example is Geoff Hoon, who seems to have been guilty of both vices. This impression lowers public respect for our manner of government, because it suggests that the evasion of responsibility has become institutionalised over the past six years. A Defence Secretary who appears positively relieved to be ordered about by unelected Downing Street officials merely invites ridicule.

Alastair Campbell is less contemptible than Mr Hoon, but in many ways more appalling. His lack of self-control was all too obvious throughout the inquiry, and his brutality - though doubtless necessary on occasion - skewed the entire conduct of government. The use of the f-word in the Campbell diaries summed up everything that was slipshod and nasty about the way Dr Kelly was caught up in the campaign to refute Andrew Gilligan's allegations. Mr Campbell's overzealous pursuit of his cause has done it great harm and undermined the discipline that he himself imposed on New Labour in former times. What has now been firmly established in the public mind is an atmosphere in government not of calm deliberation, but of wild aggression and vendetta.

The Prime Minister comes out of the inquiry better than his ministers and courtiers, but he cannot escape the charge that he tolerated this hysterical culture in Downing Street. Whether he encouraged it or failed to prevent it, he is ultimately responsible for the consequences. Mr Hoon must carry the can for the odious behaviour of senior officials, notably Martin Howard, Richard Hatfield and Pam Teare of the MoD. The cynical strategy for outing Dr Kelly shows both the Civil Service and the politicians in a very poor light.

The inquiry has also proved, however, that Dr Kelly himself was not above reproach. He ought never to have briefed against his own Government, as he did in meetings not only with Andrew Gilligan but also Susan Watts, and he was not entirely frank with his employers. The resulting conflict of loyalties led him to mislead the Foreign Affairs Committee and created the unbearable situation that apparently ended with his suicide. He may have chosen to kill himself: in doing so, one suspects, he felt not only exterior pressure, but some burden of guilt.

Nor do the intelligence services come out of this with much credit. John Scarlett seems to have been rather too amenable to political pressure, notably in his admission that last-minute changes were made to the September dossier at Jonathan Powell's behest. There are even more serious questions to be asked about the quality of the intelligence itself, which seems to have been defective in ways that might never have been properly scrutinised had it not been for the risky decision to publish the dossiers.

Hutton has, though, shown that the most unambiguously guilty party was the BBC. Even by the most charitable interpretation, Andrew Gilligan twisted and exaggerated what he had been told by Dr Kelly, in a manner that was unprofessional and irresponsible. His actions disclosed his source. Even worse was the dereliction of duty by the BBC's most senior executives: Richard Sambrook, Greg Dyke and Gavyn Davies. None of them ever seems to have considered drawing a clear distinction between what they could and could not stand up, then standing by the former while correcting and apologising for the latter. Dr Kelly's death made no difference to their self-righteous intransigence.

Mr Sambrook and Mr Davies appear to have misled the governors about the elements in the story that they knew to be dubious. But the buck stops with Mr Dyke, as director-general. It was up to him to ascertain whether he was on solid ground to fight a duel with Downing Street. By failing to do so, he showed that he is not doing his job as editor-in-chief of the most prestigious broadcasting network in the world.

The scales are finely balanced for Lord Hutton. There are two main charges: that the Government drove Dr Kelly to his death and that it took the country into war with Iraq on the basis of a lie. The Government was indeed culpable in its treatment of Dr Kelly, though his decision to kill himself cannot be blamed on anyone else. But the Government is emphatically not guilty of declaring war on the basis of intelligence that it knew to be false. This is the gravamen of the BBC's accusation, repeated countless times with fatal effect on public opinion. The Hutton Inquiry has demonstrated that charge to be certainly untrue, and probably malicious.

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