Government promising inquiry if death is confirmed

The British government is pledging to act if police confirm that a key defense adviser has died.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Blair says the government will hold an independent judicial probe if police determine a body found in central England is that of David Kelly.

The defense adviser's family reported him missing yesterday. Kelly had been caught up in a controversy over Britain's pre-war intelligence on Iraq.

Police haven't formally identified the body, but say it matches Kelly's description. Speaking to reporters on Blair's flight from Washington to Japan, his spokesman says it could take a day to make a formal I-D. He adds the prime minister is "very distressed" for Kelly's family.

Blair's government had pointed to Kelly as the possible source of a B-B-C story that the government had doctored intelligence reports on Iraq. Kelly had denied making such allegations.

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