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Iraq whistleblower found guilty of breaching UK secrets act

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, May 10, IRNA
UK Trial-Iraq Memo
A civil servant has been found guilty Wednesday of breaching Britain's Official Secrets Act by leaking a memo about talks between Prime Minister Tony Blair and US George W Bush on the Iraq war.

Few details of the memo, dated April 16 2004, have been made public, but reports have suggested it included sensitive discussions about carrying out a possible bombing raid on al-Jazeera Arabic television premises in Qatar.

Cabinet Office civil servant David Keogh, who was charged with handing over the memo to political researcher Leo O'Connor, was found guilty at London's Old Bailey central criminal court, where the press was excluded from some of the proceedings.

During the trial, Keogh's barrister Rex Tedd said his client had wanted to seek to reveal the truth of what was happening in Iraq while others were trying to conceal that truth, according to the BBC.

Defending O'Connor, John Farmer, said the war in Iraq was "the most controversial foreign affairs involvement of this country since Suez 50 years ago."

But prosecuting lawyer David Perry argued that the unauthorised disclosure of information was "likely to prejudice the capability of the armed forces either to carry out their tasks or lead to the loss of life or the possibility of loss of life or injury."

Charges laid include clauses in the Act, which prohibit the "damaging disclosures" of information relating to defence and covers disclosing information which endanger the interests of the UK abroad and the safety of British citizens abroad.

The jury was said to be still considering a verdict on O'Connor and on a second charge made against Keogh.

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