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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 13:38 GMT
'Iraq memo leak' accused in court
US soldiers in Iraq
The charges appear to relate to a memo discussing US tactics in Iraq
Two men charged under the Official Secrets Act over the alleged leak of a secret government memo have appeared before magistrates in London.

Civil servant David Keogh, 49, and former MP's researcher Leo O'Connor, 42, both from Northampton, were bailed to return in six weeks.

The case is believed to relate to the disclosure of details of a conversation between Tony Blair and George Bush.

The US President reportedly discussed bombing Al-Jazeera's studios in Qatar.

The contents of the memo were not discussed in court.

'Outlandish' reports

Mr O'Connor indicated he would be pleading not guilty.

Outside the court his lawyer Neil Clark called for the release of the papers to help his defence, saying it was "impossible" to defend otherwise.

The lawyer said that he did not know what was in the document, said BBC Home Affairs correspondent Jane Hughes.

The Mirror recently reported what it said was the contents of a memo showing Mr Blair had talked the US President out of the attack during a meeting in April 2004.

The White House has dismissed reports of the conversation as "outlandish".

Mr Keogh, a former communications officer at the Cabinet Office, is charged with making a "damaging disclosure of a document relating to international relations" without lawful authority.

'Heavy-handed' tactics

Mr O'Connor, a former researcher for the one-time Labour MP for Northampton South Anthony Clarke, is charged with having received a document "through its disclosure without lawful authority by a Crown servant".

It is alleged that Mr Keogh passed a memo to O'Connor between 16 April and 28 May 2004.

It is alleged Mr O'Connor knew, or had reasonable cause to believe, that the document was protected against disclosure by the Official Secrets Act.

The men were bailed on condition that they do not travel or attempt to travel outside the UK and they do not contact each other.

A government source earlier told the BBC that the document involved - the Foreign Office's Iraq in the Medium Term - referred to "heavy-handed" US tactics.

Its contents were reported in the Sunday Times in May last year.




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