The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Saturday, November 29, 2003

The Frank Koza Story: British leaker in court

The converse of the wise old saw that All that glisters is not gold: sometimes, the cheapest-looking costume jewellery may be 24 carat!

To cut a long story short, in the run-up to the war, a memo was leaked which had ostensibly been sent out by the afore-mentioned Koza (a senior National Security Agency (NSA) guy) and dealt with a USG plan to eavesdrop on UN Security Council members, to provide the inside dope for US diplomats negotiating for the mythical second resolution on Iraq.

It sounded pretty unlikely, but turned out to be true. Or, at least, generally accepted - which is far from the same thing, natch!

The UK security boys have come up with a body [2] - in the shape of a Ms Katharine Gun of GCHQ (the UK equivalent of the NSA) - and she's appeared in court (Guardian November 28) charged under the Official Secrets Act [3].

Apparently, Gun will be admitting the leak, but arguing the defence of necessity, the law on which, in the context of the OSA, was clarified in 2001 by the (English) Court of Appeal in the case of David Shayler [4].

Watch this space (but don't expect action any time soon!).

  1. For the full story, track back from the March 6 piece.

  2. In this sense, cognate with usual suspects: in crime dramas, the copper's copper salt-of-the-earth detective in charge of the case is told by his superior to Get me a body! - any likely candidate without an alibi for the relevant time will do. The temptation is to be bent for the job - to fabricate evidence against this candidate in order to secure a conviction - or fit him up.

    Does this happen in real life? The continuing stream of miscarriage of justice cases upheld on appeal rather suggests as much...

  3. In a preliminary hearing at Bow Street Magistrates Court. The jury trial is a good way off.

  4. Para 42ff of the single judgement. In summary, the defence was, as a matter of principle, held to exist in OSA cases, but the particular facts of the Shayler case did not entitle him to succeed on it.

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