A senior defence official criticised for his handling of the naming of Dr David Kelly – the Government scientist who committed suicide over claims that intelligence reports were ‘sexed up’ to justify the Iraq War – has been given a top honour by Tony Blair.
Dr Kelly, a Government weapons expert, was the source of a BBC report revealing that the Government knew its claims were wrong that Iraq could launch a chemical or biological attack within 45 minutes.
Martin Howard, the Ministry of Defence’s then Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence, was accused of breaking his duty of care after being involved in the decision to publicly reveal the scientist’s name.
The BBC’s politically explosive report claimed that a dossier from the Joint Intelligence Committee had been “sexed up” by Downing Street to support an invasion of Iraq and exaggerate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.
It was also Mr Howard who had advised the then Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, not to inform the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee that one of the MoD’s top scientists was concerned with some of the dossier’s claims.
Mr Howard has already been promoted to become the MoD’s Director General of Operational Policy on a salary of £100,000.
He becomes a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath – a top award reserved for senior civil servants and military officers – in the honours list.
He is the latest in a long line of officials implicated in the Kelly controversy to be rewarded with an honour by the Government.
During the Hutton Inquiry, which investigated Dr Kelly’s death, barrister Jeremy Gompertz QC questioned Mr Howard on the evolving drafts of guidelines being used by Government Press officers to answer questions from journalists until it was decided to confirm Dr Kelly as the source of the BBC story.
He likened it to a “parlour game for journalists”, but Mr Howard denied that it amounted to a game of Russian roulette that was certain to expose the scientist.
He did, however, reveal that Dr Kelly was not consulted on the question-and-answer guide that revealed his name and led to him being quizzed in Parliament and his eventual suicide.
Mr Howard said the complaints had been “dealt with in the line management chain and not pursued further”.
He denied political concerns had influenced his advice.
Reminder of other promotions from the Dr-David-Kelly blogspot…….
by Jonathan Oliver, Mail on Sunday
The politicians and officials at the heart of the David Kelly scandal have been showered with honours, promotions or lucrative retirement jobs in the three years since the scientist’s death.
While the Kelly family continue to mourn quietly in private, The Mail on Sunday today reveals how the men and women who share the blame for his demise have prospered.
On the eve of the third anniversary of the Hutton Report into the affair, an investigation charts the upward career paths of figures central to the inquiry who were called to give evidence or played a major part from behind the scenes.
The senior officials accused of covering up No10’s manipulation of the intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction have gone on to be rewarded with some of the most glamorous jobs in the public sector.
Meanwhile, the Labour chairmen of the Commons committees that failed to probe the bogus Government dossiers on Saddam Hussein have been placed in the House of Lords.
And Alastair Campbell, the spin doctor whom critics accuse of tampering with intelligence and whipping up the hysteria that led to the scientist’s alleged suicide, now stands to make an estimated £1 million from his memoirs.
Even junior and middle-ranking officials who were caught up in the political tornado have been recognised by the honours system and given significant promotions.
The research was carried out by Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who is probing the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr Kelly in July 2003.
Mr Baker said: “Nobody in Government came out of this episode with any credit or integrity. Yet, three years after the Hutton Inquiry, the principal players in the drama of the death of David Kelly – those who backed the Government or cravenly caved in to No10’s demands – have prospered handsomely.”
Meanwhile, the men who stood up to the Establishment have not fared so well.
In 2003, Kevin Marsh was the editor of Radio 4’s Today Programme and defended his reporter Andrew Gilligan’s right to report that Campbell had “sexed up” the WMD dossier. Now he is stuck in a relative backwater as head of the BBC’s journalist training school.
Greg Dyke, then BBC director general, was forced to quit following the Hutton Report and has struggled to find a new role.
And what of Lord Hutton? The ex-Law Lord, accused of colluding in an Establishment whitewash, has slipped back into obscure retirement in his native Northern Ireland and has said little on the affair. Last month he defended his report in an article for a legal journal.
The Air Marshal
Sir Joe French, 57, was Chief of Defence Intelligence.
Salary: up to £95,000.
Role: Testified before Hutton, defending the notorious – now disproved – claim that Saddam’s weapons could be launched within 45 minutes.
Now: Promoted this year to Commander-in-Chief of RAF Strike Command on £154,000 a year.
Ann Taylor, 59, Labour MP, was chairwoman of Parliament’s Intelligence Committee.
Role: She headed the committee that published a report which exonerated Downing Street over allegations of manipulating the Iraq intelligence.
Now: Ennobled as Baroness Taylor of Bolton. In her first year in the Lords she claimed more than £30,000 in tax-free “subsistence allowances”.
The Select Committee Chairman
Donald Anderson, 67, was Labour chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.
Role: Caved in to Government request not to ask David Kelly awkward questions about Iraq’s WMD. Kelly was found dead two days after he appeared before Anderson’s committee.
Now: Elevated to Lords as Baron Anderson of Swansea. Claimed £25,000 last year in tax-free attendance allowances in return for attending Lords on a total of 94 days.
The Defence Secretary
Geoff Hoon, 53, was Defence Secretary.
Role: Accused of neglecting his duty of care towards MoD employee David Kelly by sanctioning the release of his name to the media. Hoon admitted he could have done more to help the scientist.
Now: Demoted to Europe Minister on £99,000 but considered lucky to keep his Government job. Insiders claim Blair decided against sacking him because of the Iraq secrets he could spill.
The PM’s mouthpiece
Godric Smith, 41, was one of the Prime Minister’s two Official Spokesmen.
Role: Announced Kelly’s death to reporters on the PM’s plane as it arrived in Tokyo – responsible for many subsequent briefings.
Now: Honoured with CBE. Sports-mad Smith landed dream job as chief spin doctor for the 2012 London Olympics. Paid £120,000 a year.
The spin doctor
Alastair Campbell, 49, was Blair’s Director of Communications and Strategy.
Role: Allegedly masterminded the “sexing up” of the official report on Iraq’s WMD, author of the second so-called “dodgy dossier”, and was the man behind the strategy that led to the public naming of David Kelly.
Now: Quit No10 but new work more lucrative. Charged Labour £40,000 plus VAT for a few weeks as a consultant during 2005 Election. Sports writer for Rupert Murdoch’s Times newspaper. Stands to make £1 million for his memoirs.
The PM’s other spokesman
Tom Kelly, 51, was the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (joint post).
Role: Briefed reporters that David Kelly was “Walter Mitty” character.
Now: Promoted to chief spokesman on £100,000.
The Whitehall intelligence chief
Sir John Scarlett, 58, was chairman of Whitehall’s Joint Intelligence Committee.
Role: Accused of acting as “human shield” for Alastair Campbell. Scarlett insisted he had “overall charge and responsibility” of the Iraq intelligence report – No 10 had not meddled.
Now: Promoted in 2005 to the most glamorous job in British intelligence: Chief of MI6. Known as “C”. Salary up to £200,000.
The deputy intelligence chief
Martin Howard, 52, was Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence.
Role: Insisted Downing Street had no knowledge that 45-minute claim was wrong.
Now: Still at MoD as Director General of Operational Policy on a salary of £100,000.
The Chief of Staff
Julian Miller, 51, was Chief of the Intelligence Assessment Staff, Cabinet Office.
Role: Defended Alastair Campbell, suggested David Kelly was too junior to have had access to crucial intelligence.
Now: Made Companion of the Order of the Bath. Director-General of Resources and Plans in the MoD on £100,000.
The Inquiry Secretary
Lee Hughes, late 40s, was Secretary to the Hutton Inquiry.
Role: Managed day-to-day logistics of the hearing.
Now: Made CBE. Promoted to senior role in Department of Constitutional Affairs, on £60,000.
The MoD Press Officer
Kate Wilson, late 30s, was chief Press officer at MoD.
Role: Responsible for strategy that led to Kelly’s “outing”. Journalists were told in advance that if they gave the correct name, the MoD would confirm it.
Now: Honoured with an OBE “in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in connection with operations in Iraq”. Still chief Press officer at MoD. Salary around £60,000.
The PM’s top foreign adviser
Sir David Manning, 57, was Tony Blair’s chief foreign policy adviser.
Role: Present at all Downing Street sofa summits leading up to the war.
Now: Promoted to Washington Ambassador, the most sought-after job in the diplomatic service. The post comes with armoured Rolls-Royce and sprawling residence. Basic salary £130,000 plus tax-free allowances of £90,000.
The top civil servant
Sir Kevin Tebbit, 60, was Permanent Under Secretary of State at MoD.
Salary: up to £264,250.
Role: Sir Kevin admitted “responsibility” but not “culpability” for Kelly’s death.
Now: Enjoying comfortable semi-retirement as non-executive director of the Smiths Aerospace group on £60,000 a year and is also a visiting professor at Queen Mary College, London.
The MI6 supremo
Sir Richard Dearlove, 61, was Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service – MI6.
Salary: up to £200,000.
Role: Insisted to Hutton he was not aware of any unhappiness within the intelligence community over the 45-minute claim.
Now: Living in genteel retirement as Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge, on Civil Service pension of up to £100,000.