British Attorney General moves toward re-opening investigation into mysterious death of Iraq weapons inspector
Thursday, September 2nd, 2010 — 10:35 am
The United Kingdom’s top law enforcement official has taken possession of secret files surrounding the death of a prominent WMD researcher who was found dead in the months after the invasion of Iraq.
David Kelly, once employed by the British Defense Ministry, was a former UN weapons inspector who had been previously deployed to Iraq. He was found dead in July 2003 about a mile from his home, having ingested more than two dozen pain-killers and with a cut in his left wrist.
A "Blue Ribbon" inquiry ruled the death a suicide, but skeptics — including several prominent doctors and coroners — challenged the inquiry’s conclusion. They said Kelly could not have taken his own life through such a small cut.
Others noted that Kelly had been in touch with BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan that month about Britain’s dossier on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. He’d also emailed then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller the day before he was found dead. Miller was instrumental to selling the war in the United States, as one of the Times’ top reporters on WMDs. Some elements of Miller’s reporting later turned out to be patently false.
According to Thursday’s Daily Mail, UK Attorney General Dominic Grieve has assumed possession of "secret files which could trigger an inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly."
Lord Hutton, who led Britain’s formal inquiry, had previously ordered that post-mortem reports be kept secret for 70 years. Hutton was appointed to lead the inquiry by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2003.
"For the first time," the Mail reports, "Mr Grieve is actively seeking the evidence required to hold a new inquiry into the weapons inspector’s death."
But, the paper says, "Whitehall sources say the fact that Mr Grieve has requested the files does not mean an inquest will definitely take place. However, it will speed up the decision-making process."
Grieve "took possession of the files earlier this week, according to Whitehall insiders. The Mail revealed last month that, as Attorney General, he was entitled to see the papers, regardless of whether Mr Clarke rules they are suitable for public release."
More details on the story can be read at The Daily Mail.