Thursday, May 10, 2007

When Bush wanted to bomb Al Jareeza's offices...

...and told Blair so in their meeting, notes were taken, then leaked:

From International Herald Tribune:

2 guilty in leaking of Blair-Bush memo
By Alan Cowell
Wednesday, May 9, 2007

LONDON: A British court found a civil servant and a legislator's aide guilty Wednesday of breaking the Official Secrets Act by leaking a classified memorandum concerning a conversation at the White House between Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush.
Much of the trial was held behind closed doors and details of the four-page memorandum were not publicly disclosed.

Shortly after the leak, David Keogh, a government communications officer, and Leo O'Connor, a researcher in the office of a Labour Party legislator, appeared in court, accused of breaking the Official Secrets Act.

Keogh, 50, was accused of passing a copy of the memorandum to O'Connor, 44, who worked in the offices of Anthony Clarke, who opposed the war in Iraq.

During the trial, Keogh testified that he had hoped the leaked memorandum would attract broader interest. "The main person in my mind was John Kerry, who at the time was American candidate for the U.S. presidential election in 2004," Keogh said. "It was to help my country."

When Clarke found a copy of the memorandum among his papers, he called the police and the prime minister's office.

Rex Tedd, an advocate representing Keogh, said his client had "acted out of conscience. No doubt he did so misguidedly, and he did so in a way that was likely to cause damage."

"He did not act out of political motive or financial gain or personal advantage," Tedd said.

But the main prosecutor, David Perry, described Keogh as a rogue. "Diplomacy is a delicate and sensitive act, and it cannot be properly carried out in our interest when what one government says to another cannot be kept secret or confidential," Perry said.

A witness in the case, Nigel Sheinwald, Blair's chief foreign policy adviser, said the contents of the document had a "direct bearing" on the presence of British troops in Iraq. Other witnesses said the document referred to the activities of British secret agents in Iraq.

Keogh and O'Connor were found guilty of making a damaging disclosure. Both had denied the charge. They are to be sentenced later this week. Both the defendants said they and Clarke had met at a dining club in the central English town of Northampton, where they lived.

John Farmer, representing O'Connor, said O'Connor had not sought out the document.
"It comes to him on the unfortunate basis that he was employed by a man who had a certain reputation," Farmer said. "He places it with a member of Parliament. He does not promiscuously disperse it amongst the press or a foreign power, or anything of that sort."


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