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Timeline: The David Kelly affair

David Kelly
The interview with Kelly was recorded in October 2002.

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SPECIAL REPORT
special report

LONDON, England -- Here is a timetable of events surrounding the David Kelly affair:

September 24, 2002: Downing Street publishes its long-awaited 50-page dossier on Iraq's weapons capabilities. It says Iraq can deploy a chemical or biological weapon within 45 minutes. It also says Saddam has sought to acquire "significant quantities" of uranium from Africa, despite having no civil nuclear program that could require it.

May 22, 2003: David Kelly meets BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan in central London's Charing Cross Hotel.

May 29: During his report on the BBC Radio 4 Today program, Gilligan says a source -- a senior British official -- informed him that last September's dossier on Iraq was "sexed up" to make a more convincing case for war.

June 1: In an article in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, Gilligan says UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's director of communications, Alastair Campbell, was responsible for adding the claim that Saddam's weapons of mass destruction could be launched within 45 minutes to the dossier.

June 2: BBC Newsnight science editor Susan Watts broadcasts a story also using Kelly as a source, and also expressing concerns about the 45-minute claim.

June 6: Campbell complains to the BBC about Gilligan's original story.

• Gilligan faces the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) to defend his reports and argue that his source was closely involved in compiling the dossier.

June 25: Campbell appears before the committee and denies he was responsible for adding the disputed information to the dossier, demanding an apology from the BBC.

June 27: The BBC rejects call for apology and defends the integrity of the Today report, while Campbell says the BBC has "not a shred of evidence for their lie."

June 30: Kelly writes a letter to his line manager Bryan Wells at the Ministry of Defence to say he had unauthorized contact with Gilligan.

July 3: Sir Kevin Tebbit, the most senior civil servant in the MoD, sees Kelly's letter.

July 4: Richard Hatfield, head of personnel at MoD, interviews Kelly for the first time and concludes he is probably not the source.

July 7: After discussions over the weekend involving No 10, Hatfield interviews Kelly for a second time. The weapons inspector is told his name will probably be made public and is shown a draft MoD press statement.

• The FAC clears Campbell of "sexing up" the dossier. Campbell repeats his calls for an apology from the BBC, which stands by its story.

• Government minister Ben Bradshaw challenges the BBC's director of news Richard Sambrook to a televised debate on the issue.

July 8: A meeting is held at No. 10, which Tebbit said was chaired by Blair, where it is agreed Kelly's name will be confirmed to any journalist who puts it to the MoD.

• The MoD releases press statement saying a "middle-ranking official" has come forward. In the statement, the official denies ever mentioning Campbell. This is accompanied by a detailed Q&A for press officers instructing them to confirm the name to any journalist who comes up with it.

• BBC says the MoD's description of official does not "match" Gilligan's source.

• Blair tells MPs it is "totally false" to suggest anyone inserted information into last September's dossier against the wishes of intelligence agencies.

July 9: Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon writes to BBC chairman Gavyn Davies demanding to know whether official is the source of the original Iraq dossier story.

• Kelly's name is confirmed to Financial Times journalist Chris Adams at 5:30 p.m. by the MoD.

• Nick Rufford, a Sunday Times journalist, arrives at Kelly's house and tells him he will be publicly named that night.

July 10: Tebbit, permanent under secretary at the MoD, recommends Kelly should not appear before the FAC, but is overruled by Hoon. Kelly is summoned to appear before the committee.

July 15: Kelly tells the FAC he believes he was not the main source for the "sexed up" dossier report. BBC refuses to discuss their source, prompting the MoD to describe its reticence as "suspicious." Gilligan is told he will have to return to give evidence to committee.

July 16: Blair tells MPs the BBC should say whether or not Kelly is the source for their report.

• Kelly gives evidence before the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC).

July 17: Gilligan is recalled to private session of FAC after Kelly's denials. Chairman Donald Anderson later said the reporter was an "unsatisfactory witness."

• At 3 p.m., Dr Kelly leaves his house in Abingdon in Oxfordshire, telling his wife he is going for a walk.

• At 11:45 p.m., his family contacts police when he fails to return home.

July 18: Thames Valley Police appeal for help to find Kelly and disclose details of his disappearance.

• At 11 a.m., police hunting for Kelly say the body of an unidentified man has been found at Harrowdown Hill, five miles from Dr Kelly's home.

• Just before 2 p.m., police say they believe the body is that of Kelly.

• Blair, abroad on a marathon diplomatic tour, announces an independent judicial inquiry into the death headed by Lord Hutton.

July 19: Then-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith demands the recall of parliament and a widening of the inquiry's terms.

July 20: BBC confirms Kelly was the "prime source" for its report that Downing Street "sexed up" the September dossier.

• Gilligan insists he did not misquote or misrepresent the scientist.

• Blair rejects recalling parliament, urging "respect and restraint" ahead of the inquiry.

July 21: The inquest into Kelly's death is officially opened and adjourned.

July 23: Hoon -- facing questions about his future over the way Kelly's name became public -- visits the weapons expert's widow at her request.

July 28: Lord Hutton pays his own visit to Kelly's family.

August 1: Lord Hutton opens the inquiry, confirming Blair will be among those called to give evidence.

• The peer also revealed previously unknown details of Kelly's final minutes.

August 4: Downing Street is accused of mounting a smear campaign after a "senior Whitehall source" tells The Independent newspaper that Kelly was a "Walter Mitty" like fantasist.

• No. 10 insists the phrase did not originate there but later admits briefing did come from one of its unnamed officials.

August 5: The prime minister's official spokesman Tom Kelly confirms he used the phrase and apologizes "unreservedly" to Kelly's family.

August 6: Kelly's funeral takes place at St. Mary's Church in the Oxfordshire village of Longworth.

August 12: Gilligan gives evidence at the inquiry and produces notes of his meeting with Kelly.

August 19: Campbell appears before Lord Hutton to discuss his role in the drawing up of the September dossier.

August 20: Tebbit gives his first evidence to the inquiry.

August 27: Hoon takes to the stand and denies he was part of a "conspiracy" to name Kelly.

August 28: Blair gives evidence and insists all decisions regarding Kelly were taken by "consensus".

August 29: Campbell announces his resignation as director of communications at No 10. He denies his move is linked to the Hutton inquiry.

September 1: Janice Kelly, the widow of the weapons inspector, gives evidence at the inquiry and describes the "betrayal" felt by her husband.

September 4: The first phase of the Hutton inquiry draws to a close with the revelation that Hoon was present at the meeting where it was decided Kelly should be named.

September 15: The second phase of the inquiry begins with an appearance from Greg Dyke, the BBC Director General.

• Sir Richard Dearlove, the shadowy head of MI6, makes an unprecedented appearance at the public inquiry -- and is shielded from view by a screen.

September 16: Jeremy Gompertz, counsel for the family, accuses the MoD of playing "Russian roulette" with Kelly.

September 17: Gilligan makes his second appearance at the Hutton Inquiry.

September 22: Hoon and Campbell also go before the inquiry for a second time.

September 25: Official proceedings in the Hutton inquiry draw to a close.

October 13: The Hutton inquiry was re-opened to allow Tebbit to return to the stand. He reveals Blair chaired the "decisive" meeting which led to Kelly being named.

January 28, 2004: Hutton publishes his much-anticipated report, which clears Blair's government of any direct involvement in Kelly's death and criticizes the BBC for Gilligan's report, which the judge said was "unfounded."


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