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Hutton Inquiry: Who will be blamed?

By Robin Oakley
CNN's European Political Editor

David Kelly
Kelly is questioned by MPs in July, three days before he was found dead.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- The Hutton Inquiry has been an extraordinary affair.

We have had 22 days of evidence from an unprecedented roll-call of the great and the good at London's Royal Courts of Justice.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair was called, so was his defense secretary Geoff Hoon, and Sir Richard Dearlove, head of the MI6 intelligence service.

It has given us an unprecedented view of the inner workings of the British government -- e-mails, memos, messages and discussions have been scrutinized which otherwise would have been kept secret for 25 years.

The inquiry was called by Blair to investigate the events surrounding the apparent suicide of scientist David Kelly in July.

But the scope has widened to include the associated question of how the government made its case for war on Iraq, particularly in the controversial September 2002 dossier.

Did it, as the BBC reported, "sex up" the dossier by inserting information against the wishes of intelligence officials?

The whole affair has done the government considerable harm.

It has shown there were reservations from some people in the intelligence services about the kind of language used as the government made its case.

It has discredited some of the claims it made, like that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction it could unleash at 45 minutes' notice. That was discredited even by the boss of MI6.

So it has far wider implications than the question of Dr. Kelly's death.

And on that subject we are waiting to learn from Lord Hutton about who is going to be held most to blame.

Was it the government, for putting Kelly's name into the public domain after he had talked to BBC reporters?

Was it the televised grilling he got from a House of Commons committee?

Or was it the way the BBC reported his comments made to one its journalists?

These are questions which will not be solved until we get a report from Hutton, in November at the earliest.


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