The Hutton Enquiry started on August 1 2003 after the death of Ministry of Defence scientist Dr David Kelly.

There is an immense body of evidence (a lot of it freely available on the enquiry website in the form of PDFs of emails and such) to suggest that the dossier produced by the government to support the case for a war in Iraq was altered/contrived to make its case more convincing. Central to this dossier was a claim that Saddam Hussein could use weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes, a claim which is now thought to be completely baseless. Some parts of the dossier were also taken from a 12-year-old PHd thesis, freely available on the internet.

After the dossier's publication, BBC Newsnight editor Susan Watts called Dr Kelly, who stated that the document put forward the facts in "a very black and white way" (a full transcript of the call is available at Meanwhile, Andrew Gilligan from the BBC Today programme (now revealed to be a major rival of Newsnight, even within the same company) spoke to Dr Kelly, and then reported that a senior official (as yet unnamed) had said the dossier was "sexed up". He expanded this in an article for the Daily Mail on Sunday (

The government, understandably pissed off by this, started a tit-for-tat battle of words between the Beeb and the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. Eventually, after much deliberation inside the government and after lots more tit for tat, three newspapers (The Times, The Guardian and the Financial Times) released Dr Kelly's name as the source of the "sexed up" claim on July 10. By the 18th, after one final request from Tony Blair to cite their sources and plenty of verbal mudslinging, Dr Kelly was dead and his body was found around 9.20am. He apparently committed suicide by slashing his wrists after taking some powerful painkillers, although government orchestrated murder is a possibility that has been bandied about by conspiracy theorists. Thus, the Hutton Inquiry began on August 1, chaired by Lord Hutton (hence the name) to investigate the circumstances around the man's death.

If you would like to learn more, I highly recommend browsing the official website, which contains lots of documents and plenty of incriminating stuff. The Smoking Gun has nothing on this. Jump to
OK, Hutton has released his verdict. Summed up succintly, Hutton found the BBC to blame for Kelly's death and acquitted the Government. 3 BBC staff have resigned, including director general Greg Dyke. See for more on the report, and for the BBC resignations.