NO “HARD EVIDENCE”….One of the issues addressed by the Hutton report was whether BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan was wrong to accuse the Blair government of “sexing up” its Iraq dossier on the Today program. And if Gilligan’s report was flawed, why did the BBC back him up? The Guardian has this tantalizing news to report today:

A second leaked document prepared by the BBC for Hutton also reveals crucial details of why executives stood by its controversial Today report, detailing a lunch between the head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, and Kevin Marsh, the editor of the Today programme.

In a witness statement prepared by Marsh and BBC legal representatives, it is claimed that Dearlove suggested that ‘hard evidence of WMD in Iraq would never be found’.

This is maddening. When was this document prepared? And when was the lunch held? Was it (a) Before the war? (b) After the war but around the time that Gilligan’s report aired? Or (c) sometime after that?

Presumably the answer is either A or B, since it would hardly be big news if Dearlove said this anytime in the past couple of months. But it would be really big news if he said this before the war.

So I suppose the answer is probably B. But doesn’t the Guardian think they ought to give us this information? I’d sure be interested in knowing just when the head of MI6 came to this conclusion.