BBC accuses gov’t of war push

Committee to rule on whether premise was false

LONDON — U.K. pubcaster the BBC will hear this week whether it was right to run a report on May 29 on Radio 4’s “Today” program that accused the U.K. government of “sexing up” an intelligence dossier about Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.

The BBC has come under heavy attack for its allegation that the government and Prime Minister Tony Blair’s communications chief Alistair Campbell deliberately inserted claims that Hussein could deploy chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes.

BBC director general Greg Dyke and his director of news Richard Sambrook have defended defense correspondent Andrew Gilligan, the reporter at the center of the tussle. Sambrook said the source, described as a senior official in charge of drawing up the dossier, was credible and the BBC stands by it.

The Foreign Affairs Select Committee will publish its first report on the contents of the dossier this week and will pass judgement on whether the government led the U.K. to war with Iraq on a false premise. If the committee sides with the government, it’s not clear whether it will call for an apology from the BBC.

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