- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2007

11:48 a.m.

LONDON (AP) — A British civil servant and an aide to a legislator were convicted today of leaking a classified memo about a meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush in a breach of the Official Secrets Act.

David Keogh, a cipher expert who was convicted on two counts, had admitted passing on the secret memo about April 2004 talks between the two leaders in which Mr. Bush purportedly referred to bombing Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera.

Keogh was accused of passing the memo to his co-defendant, Leo O’Connor, 44, who in turn handed it to his boss, Tony Clarke, then a legislator who voted against Britain’s decision to join the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Keogh, 50, told London’s Central Criminal Court he felt strongly about the memo, which he had to relay to diplomats overseas using secure methods, and hoped it would come to wider attention.

“The main person in my mind was John Kerry, who at the time was [an] American candidate for the U.S. presidential election in 2004,” Keogh testified.

He admitted holding “unfavorable” views on Mr. Bush but said he did not think publishing the document would hurt Britain’s security or international relations.

The Daily Mirror newspaper reported that the memo showed Mr. Blair arguing against Mr. Bush’s suggestion of bombing Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Doha, Qatar. The Daily Mirror said its sources disagreed on whether Mr. Bush’s suggestion was serious.

Mr. Blair said he had no information about any proposed U.S. action against Al Jazeera, and the White House called the claims “outlandish and inconceivable.”

The document, marked “Secret-Personal,” was intended to be restricted to senior officials. The memo’s contents are considered so sensitive that much of the trial was heard behind closed doors. Witnesses and counsel did not refer to the contents in open court.

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