Reuters: Body matches the missing UK weapons inspector who exposed lies
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Fri Jul 18 09:38:28 MDT 2003
Body Found in Woods Matches UK Weapons Inspector
Fri July 18, 2003 10:37 AM ET
By Gideon Long
LONGWORTH, England (Reuters) - British police found a body Friday matching
that of a mild-mannered scientist who disappeared after unwittingly becoming
embroiled in a furious political dispute about the Iraq war.
The softly spoken 59-year-old had been thrust into the limelight by a row
over whether the British government hyped the threat from Iraq in order to
justify joining the U.S.-led war.
The political fallout was almost immediate. Prime Minister Tony Blair's
government promised an independent judicial inquiry into events leading up
to the death of Dr David Kelly, if it is confirmed.
Blair has refused previous calls for a wider inquiry into the government
case for war in Iraq.
Kelly's family reported him missing overnight after he went for a walk in
the Oxfordshire countryside Thursday with no coat and stayed out despite a
rainstorm. Police found a body in a wood near his home Friday.
"We can confirm that the body matches the description of Dr Kelly. The body
has not been formally identified," a police spokeswoman said.
Kelly, a microbiologist at the Defense Ministry who had worked for U.N.
inspectors in Iraq, had been grilled by parliamentarians Tuesday after
admitting he spoke to a reporter for Britain's BBC radio.
The reporter, Andrew Gilligan, said in May a senior intelligence source had
told him the government "sexed up" data to emphasize the threat from Iraq.
That report sparked parliamentary hearings into how the government made the
case for war, put Blair in the defensive and pitted government officials
against the broadcaster in a heated war of words.
Blair spoke to top officials about the case from aboard a flight to Tokyo
"The prime minister is obviously very distressed for the family of Dr
Kelly," a spokesman said aboard the flight.
If the death is confirmed the Defense Ministry would hold an independent
judicial inquiry, presided over by a judge with access to all government
papers, he added.
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