<em>Al-Jazeera</em> and George Bush: Was this All Blair’s Design?


Besides holiday gift shopping, which I still do too much of on foot rather than on-line, I have been digging into as much detail as possible on the so-called “Bush Bombing Memo” that recounts George Bush’s conversation with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair about bombing Al-Jazeera‘s headquarters.
TWN is going to be posting more about this in the first week of January. The Brit’s prosecution of two bureaucrats involved in the leak of the memo’s contents will resume on January 10th. This is one of the first — and perhaps the very first — serious prosecution of an individual under Britain’s “Official Secrets Act.”
The Official Secrets Act sounds to most Americans like it is trotted out all the time; maybe it has something to do with our James Bond fetish. But in fact, it’s rarely actually applied in real legal terms — and is used more as threat.
I have spoken with several senior American intel officials who think that if Bush did say something to Blair — despite Scott McClellan’s basic denial — that it would have been in jest.
Would the Brits be prosecuting two guys over a joke? I don’t think so.
There are ten lines that refer to this Al-Jazeera bombing topic in a 5-page memo on the Bush-Blair meeting.
Tomorrow I’ll have more on this subject, but still trying to confirm one piece of this fascinating story.
Thus far, it is looking increasingly like the one who most benefited from the leak of this story was Tony Blair himself. Did he set things into motion? TWN is running some of this down.
And those in the right places know that TWN is prepared to run the relevant ten lines from the broader secret session, which dealt with Fallujah, if that material is leaked. It’s not out of the realm of possibility.
More soon.
— Steve Clemons