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Thursday, August 14, 2003
A close look at Hutton
One excellent features of the Hutton inquiry is the speed with which the dialogue appears on the web site. It is useful to be able to read a day's stuff when trying to decide whether No. 10 or Auntie is 'winning' or to look for nuggets that seem not to have made it into the news. This point about identification of sources is particularly interesting.
From time to time, I have blogged about the importance of protecting sources. It is therefore a little surprising to read this quote from Susan Watts:
Hutton Enquiry, Page 66, Wednesday Morning, 13th August. Click on 'Hearing Transcripts'.Now, I find this incredible. If a source of mine were to lie to protect himself, I would be even more circumspect in protecting him. However, she goes on to say
20 I wanted, somehow, to have that expressed in theAt another point, Susan Watts again tries to make it clear that she was not revealing Dr Kelly as her source just because he was dead. She seems to think she could reveal his identity simply because, it appeared, that Dr Kelly first misled then told a whopper to the Select Committee. (This is even more apparent from other parts of the transcript.)
Journalists, like politicians, are not highly regarded for their moral principles. Susan Watts’s evidence is unlikely to gain her many admirers. There's a fair likelihood that she'll be known as someone who, when the slightest pressure was applied, was all for 'outing' David Kelly, no matter what.
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