A civil servant was today found guilty today of breaching the Official Secrets Act after he leaked an “extremely sensitive” memo detailing talks on Iraq between George Bush and Tony Blair.
The Cabinet Office communications officer David Keogh passed the four-page document to Leo O’Connor, a researcher for the anti-war Labour MP Anthony Clarke.
An Old Bailey jury is still considering a further charge against Keogh and a similar single count against Mr O’Connor.
The contents of the document were considered so explosive that much of the trial was held behind closed doors so the public could not hear them.
Keogh, who believed the memo exposed Mr Bush as a “madman”, hoped it could be used to raise questions in the House of Commons and also wanted it to be passed on to the US presidential candidate John Kerry.
Mr O’Connor placed it in Mr Clarke’s constituency papers and the MP handed it in to Downing Street. An investigation was launched, leading to the London trial.
The researcher told the jury he left the memo for his boss so that he would return it to the appropriate authorities. Keogh, Mr O’Connor and Mr Clarke had all been members of a now-defunct political dining club in Northampton, where they all lived.
A jury today found Keogh, 50, guilty of making a damaging disclosure under the Official Secrets Act. After taking the verdict, the judge gave a majority direction to the jury on the outstanding charges.