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Lord Hutton "reasonably satisfied" with Butler Report
14 July 2004 by Malcolm DruryLord Hutton has generally endorsed the Butler Report, saying he is reasonably satisfied with it. The report has identified serious shortcomings in the quality of intelligence cited by Prime Minister Tony "Teflon" Blair as justification for invading Iraq, but has found no evidence to question Mr Blair's good faith or of any deliberate attempt on the part of the government to mislead the public.
However, Lord Hutton, whose report earlier this year into the death of Dr David Kelly absolved Mr Blair of any wrongdoing, ever, and put the blame squarely on the BBC, is understood to be of the view that Lord Butler's report falls short in casting blame. According to an assistant, who asked to remain anonymous, his lordship is very pleased that his colleague has also exonerated the Prime Minister, but is disappointed that his report does not delve sufficiently deeply into identifying where the ultimate blame for the intelligence failures resides.
He added that Lord Hutton felt that the possible role of the BBC in the failures should be examined. Without prejudice, he said, the question to be addressed is: did British intelligence officials get much of their information from the BBC news services, which the Hutton Report showed to be faulty in almost every aspect? He said that in view of this Lord Hutton was considering offering to conduct an inquiry into that aspect of the Butler inquiry.
Asked for a comment on this possibility, Lord Snooty, political correspondent for The Beano, told our reporter that he did not find it surprising. He noted that conducting an inquiry on behalf of the government is a highly sought-after activity among the nation's lords, who generally have little else to do. "It's considered real gravy train stuff," he said. "You get your expenses; if you're lucky you get to do a bit of travelling, and you have people to do the actual work; all you have to do remember who commissioned it and 'find' accordingly."
"And you get on the telly," added.
Mark Thompson, the recently appointed director general of the BBC, could not be reached for a comment.
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