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BBC journo exposed

Hutton probe discloses suspect email

This article was updated at 9:00 p.m. PT on Aug. 21, 2003.

LONDON — Journalist Andrew Gilligan could face BBC disciplinary action for not disclosing that he sent an email to a member of Parliament naming weapons expert David Kelly as the source for the story into the “sexing up” of a government document about Iraq’s weapons capability.

The bombshell emerged Wednesday during the High Court hearing into Kelly’s suicide, led by Lord Hutton. Gilligan had not revealed the information to the court earlier despite the fact that all witnesses are obliged to maintain full disclosure.

The email also suggested questions that the MP could ask Kelly during Parliament’s own probe into whether Iraq could ready weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes.

Isolated status

On Thursday BBC staffers refused to take any questions on Gilligan’s increasingly isolated status at the pubcaster. A spokesman would say only that the journalist is on leave and “we are looking at the email and will deal with it in the context of the Hutton inquiry.”

It was Gilligan’s report on the BBC’s influential “Today” radio program that created the acrimonious split between the Tony Blair-led government and the BBC.

Prime Minister Tony Blair is scheduled to give evidence to the inquiry on Thursday, followed by the BBC chairman of governors Gavyn Davies, and Tom Mangold, a former journalist on the BBC’s current events program “Panorama” and one of Kelly’s close friends.