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Two former UK officials facing April trial for Aljazeera 'bombing' memo leak

[JURIST] An April trial date has been set for former Cabinet Office spokesman David Keogh and former parliamentary researcher Leo O'Connor, accused of violating Section 3 of Britain's Official Secrets Act [text] by leaking a secret memo in which President Bush was said to have told Prime Minister Tony Blair [official profile] in April 2004 of a plan to bomb Arab broadcaster Aljazeera [media website] at the height of the US campaign against Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah. The Qatar-based satellite channel had aroused US ire by broadcasting pictures of Iraqi casualties and victims of the offensive across the Arab world. Media will be banned from the trial, according to a ruling [JURIST report] made by Judge Richard Aikens back in July.

Both Keogh and O’Connor have denied respective charges of making damaging disclosures of part of a government document and making a damaging disclosure of a document passed illegally. Keogh is said to have given the memo to O'Connor at some point between April 15, 2004 and May 29, 2004. Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper reported [text] in November 2005 that Blair resisted Bush's proposal to bomb Aljazeera, adding that sources disagreed as to the seriousness of Bush's suggestion. The White House has called the report "outlandish and inconceivable," while Blair has said he had no information about any proposed US action against Aljazeera. AP has more. BBC news has local coverage.

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