BBC summit on Iraq dossier storm

A top-level meeting of BBC management and the corporation's board of governors is taking place on the eve of the publication of the Foreign Affairs Committee report into the Iraq war.

Governors asked for a full briefing to take place before the contents of the report was published on Monday, the corporation said.

They will discuss the attack by Downing Street's director of communications Alastair Campbell on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme report, which claimed the Government's first dossier on Iraq's weapons was "sexed up".

Those attending will want to agree a common position for the corporation. The meeting is taking place because the BBC's principles and integrity are at stake, a BBC spokeswoman says.

"BBC governors will be meeting to be briefed by BBC management about the issues arising from the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and Alastair Campbell's attack on BBC journalism," she said.

"They are meeting because it the BBC's principles and integrity are in question."

BBC governors and management held such ad-hoc meetings regularly on issues relating to the corporation's journalism, she added.

"Obviously this is important to the BBC."

There has been speculation that the committee report will back Mr Campbell's evidence that the story, by defence correspondent Andrew Gilligan, was wrong.

Mr Gilligan's report quoted an unnamed intelligence source who alleged that Downing Street, to the dismay of the secret services, had inserted a claim that Iraq could launch a biological or chemical weapons strike within 45 minutes into the September 2002 dossier.

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