Wednesday, September 17
The BBC reporter who claimed the Blair government "sexed-up" its dossier on Iraq's WMD - a claim which led his confidential source, government analyst David Kelly, to kill himself - has admitted that he made mistakes. It's a pretty tepid admission:
Andrew Gilligan, testifying before a public inquiry, also acknowledged that he had failed to correct several false statements made by the BBC in defense of his reports. And Gilligan apologized for sending an e-mail message to two members of Parliament that identified the confidential source of another BBC journalist's report on Iraq's access to weapons of mass destruction.
"It was quite wrong to send it and I can only apologize," Gilligan told the inquiry, which is investigating the apparent suicide of weapons expert David Kelly, Gilligan's confidential source for his original report. "I was under an enormous amount of pressure at this time and I simply was not thinking straight."
Others have made more serious criticisms of the BBC's handling of the affair, which I won't rehash here. And it must be said that the Blair government is not emerging from the official inquiry with totally clean hands. Still, The BBC's actions were atrocious, and an apology is a good start.