A supporter of the war, swatted away 'like a fly'

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Indy Politics

David Kelly seemed to be an irritating dissident who became a casualty of Downing Street's ruthless and cynical defence of an increasingly porous case for invading Iraq. But what has emerged during the Hutton inquiry is that the scientist was actually an advocate for the war.

Dr Kelly, unknown outside a tight circle of colleagues and journalists, was almost deified in death, a reaction partly triggered by the denigration the Government subjected him to in his last days.

The scientist was a highly experienced and eminent authority on biological warfare: one set of officials was proposing him for a knighthood, another dismissed him as a middle-rank technician.

Because 59-year-old Dr Kelly was broadly "on message" on Iraq, he was authorised by the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office to brief the media on weapons of mass destruction.

His sister, Sarah Pape, said: "I thought he would agree there was no new indication for war. I was very surprised when he was absolutely and utterly convinced that there was no solution, other than regime change and, regrettably, [that] would require military action to enforce it."

Dr Kelly fell foul of his employers when he stopped singing from the common hymn sheet, in particular over the discredited claim that Iraq could launch weapons in 45 minutes. His views were shared by senior intelligence officials, including Dr Brian Jones, head of the branch investigating Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD arsenal.

Many of these officials were unhappy, feeling they were being used by the Government in the attempts to justify an attack on Iraq, and they opposed military action. Dr Kelly's view on the 45-minute threat appears to have been that it was technically impractical.

The concern of the intelligence staff was expressed vociferously in a meeting of the Defence Intelligence Staff, five days before publication of the September dossier. Dr Kelly did not share all their reservations.

Indeed, Dr Jones told the inquiry: "Dr Kelly had told me he thought the dossier was good, on the one hand, and my staff and, indeed, my own impressions of it were that it was not completely good ... I have a great deal of respect for David Kelly's input, and I was really worried about contradictions."

Dr Kelly's evidence to MPs was less than forthcoming. He denied talking to Gavin Hewit; failed to remember parts of his talk with another BBC journalist, Susan Watts, science editor of Newsnight, and he played down his role in the dossier.

Now we know he did speak to Mr Hewit; and in a conversation taped by Ms Watts, he told much more about Alastair Campbell's involvement with the dossier than he supposedly told Andrew Gilligan, who said on Radio 4's Today that the Government had manipulated the document.

But showing the extent of his knowledge about the dossier in front of the committee would have led to the suspicion that he really was Mr Gilligan's primary source.

The consequences could have been severe. The MoD had told Dr Kelly he did not face prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. But he may have felt it had reneged already on a promise that a line was drawn under the matter, after an interview and a reprimand.

The most poignant glimpse into the life of Dr David Kelly came in the testimony of his widow, Janice. She said he felt he was "betrayed" by the Government he had served all his life. Swatted away, he said, "like a fly". A psychological study done for the inquiry said these were the likely reasons for his suicide.