Several days before his death, David
Kelly was revealed as a source of a BBC story claiming that evidence of Saddam
Hussein's weapons had been exaggerated to justify an invasion. He blew the
whistle, reportedly claiming that accounts of Iraqi weaponry had been
Kelly became caught in the crosshairs of a battle between the BBC, British Ministry of Defense, and the Office of the Prime Minister when his name was announced as a source for the story. Kelly had blown the whistle confidentially, and some claimed Prime Minister Tony Blair "used a [public] battle with the BBC to divert attention from the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." The Ministry of Defense also chose to confirm his name to journalists, despite a normal policy of not identifying civil servants. The head of the BBC, for its part, has been accused of hinting strongly to Kelly as the source of the story, in order to confirm that the source was high-placed in the preparation for the invasion of Iraq.
Kelly allegedly killed himself at his home on July 17, 2003, after suffering immensely following the publication of his name. Despite public knowledge that he was the whistleblower, the BBC finally publicly identified him as their source soon after.
The new order to keep
information pertaining Kelly's death secret follows a 2003-2004 inquiry of the
circumstances surrounding his death that cleared the British government of all
wrongdoing and harshly criticized the BBC. However, several national newspapers
accused the inquiry of participating in an "establishment
whitewash," and not delivering the truth.
The chairman of the inquiry has not given any explanation for his order, nor has he commented on it publicly. The order means "vital evidence, including the results of Dr Kelly's post-mortem examination – which have never been made public – will remain under wraps until 2073, by which time anyone involved in the case will almost certainly be dead."