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UK civil servant cleared in CIA rendition secrets leak case

[JURIST] UK prosecutors Wednesday dropped charges against Dennis Pasquill, a civil servant in the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office [official website] who was accused of leaking secret documents about CIA rendition flights [JURIST news archive] to the New Statesman and the Observer [media websites] newspapers in violation of the Official Secrets Act [text]. Pasquill's lawyer said the decision to drop charges showed that Pasquill's actions were in the public interest. The Foreign Office said that leaks are "absolutely contrary" to good government and indicated that Pasquill may still face internal discipline. BBC News has more.

In 2006, former Cabinet Office spokesman David Keogh and former parliamentary researcher Leo O'Connor were ordered to trial for allegedly violating Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act by leaking a secret memo in which US President George W. 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. 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 called the report "outlandish and inconceivable."

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