… smells like whitewash to me.

As I watched the details unfold on the The Guardian‘s website yesterday, I began to get a bad feeling about it; and now the details are out, I ask myself this: Hutton is already a lord; what is he getting out of making the government look squeaky-clean?

Now, it’s clear the the BBC screwed up: Gilligan’s first report was overstated, and the management and governors could have investigated its accuracy while still supporting him. A correction, or even retraction, and an apology in the first day or two, and it might all have blown over.

But none of that explains or excuses the dodgy dossier.

Maybe Blair didn’t know the intelligence was bad (can intelligence be stupid? Discuss). But it was bad, there’s no doubt about that; and Hutton seems to have just excused himself from looking at that area at all. True, his brief was to investigate David Kelly’s death; but that death was inextricably linked with the evidence that was used to justify Britain going to war, and by failing to look at that, Hutton has let us all down.

It’s such a shame, especially since the enquiry itself seemed such a model of openness for the Internet Age.