'No consent' to name leak

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair's "homeland security" chief admitted yesterday that Downing Street had not been given David Kelly's consent to make his name public. But Sir David Omand, the Government's security and intelligence co-ordinator, said that the scientist had "an obligation" to drop his anonymity because he had caused "very great damage" to the Government's credibility.

Sir David told the Hutton inquiry that it was his idea to give Dr Kelly's name to the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, the first step in identifying Andrew Gilligan's source. Mr Blair accepted the proposal at a meeting of his senior advisers and civil servants in his private study on 8 July, the inquiry heard. Sir David also insisted that he had not been aware of any dissent within the intelligence community about the Government's September dossier on the Iraqi threat. He denied that he had had any arguments with Alastair Campbell over the dossier and stressed that the document was a "faithful reflection" of underlying intelligence assessments.

Sir David, who is a member of the Joint Intelligence Committee which drew up the dossier, said that the JIC was "anxious to produce as strong a document as possible" within the bounds of intelligence. Lord Hutton asked him why so many senior officials - what he called "a galaxy gathering" - were involved in discussions about Dr Kelly's coming forward as one possible source for Mr Gilligan's BBC report.

Sir David replied: "I think the explanation was the front pages of the newspapers. This was an issue that had dominated political debate and showed no signs of diminishing.

"It was a matter of intense interest and concern to the Prime Minister in view of the nature of the allegations being made. It was a matter of concern to me because it was directly challenging the integrity of the process for which I was responsible."