Government weapons expert David Kelly was warned that his name had been confirmed to the press in a telephone call lasting just 46 seconds, the inquiry into his death was told today.
Dr Kelly's line manager at the Ministry of Defence, Bryan Wells, said he had passed on the warning by mobile phone while on a train travelling home from work.
He told the Hutton Inquiry that the line had been so bad that he called back a few minutes later to make sure he had got the message.
The two calls together had lasted less than two minutes.
Dr Wells also disclosed that Dr Kelly was not told that his name was likely to be made public until just two days before it was confirmed by the MoD press office to journalists.
He admitted that evidence he gave to the inquiry last month that Dr Kelly had been warned at his first interview with MoD officials that he was likely to be named at some stage was wrong.
The inquiry is investigating how Dr Kelly apparently came to take his own life after being identified as the source of a report by BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan claiming the Government had "sexed up" its Iraq weapons dossier.
Dr Wells told the inquiry that at the first interview which he and MoD personnel director Richard Hatfield conducted with Dr Kelly on July 4 about his contacts with Mr Gilligan, they had discussed the possibility that a press statement would have to be issued.
At that stage it had simply been suggested it would refer to an unnamed official.
Dr Wells said it was not until the second interview, on July 7, that the issue of his name "emerging" in public was raised with Dr Kelly.
The inquiry has previously heard evidence from a series of senior Government witnesses – including Tony Blair and Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon – that by that stage the assumption in Whitehall was it was "inevitable" that he would be named at some point.
By that time MoD officials had also begun working on the "question and answer" material which gave press officers the go–ahead to confirm Dr Kelly's identity to journalists if they came up with the right name.
Counsel to the inquiry James Dingemans QC asked Dr Wells if Dr Kelly had ever been informed of the plan.
Dr Wells replied: "At no point did David discuss the mechanics of his name emerging with me."
Mr Dingemans asked: "This is fair, is it not... at no point did anyone discuss with Dr Kelly the mechanics by which his name might emerge?"
Dr Wells replied: "I can only answer for myself, sir, in that I did not."
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