29 February 2004

Whistle-blower tipped by Downing St mole

The collapse of the trial of GCHQ 'whistle-blower' Katharine Gun was caused by a tip-off to her defence team from within Tony Blair's government, it was claimed last night.

A source close to Gun's lawyers has told Scotland on Sunday that a government insider told them there were serious concerns within Blair's administration about the legal justification behind the decision to go to war.

Armed with this crucial information, the GCHQ translator's legal team planned to go into court and demand from the government highly sensitive documents on which the Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, based his advice.

The case against Gun, accused of breaking the Official Secrets Act by leaking confidential war-related information to the press, was dropped suddenly without a full explanation at the Old Bailey last week.

The revelation that the case began to unfold after a leak from within Westminster follows claims by former Cabinet minister Clare Short that UK intelligence services had eavesdropped on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Last night, sources close to Gun's defence team claimed Goldsmith had been 'duped' by inaccurate intelligence information into giving the legal green light for the Iraq conflict.

Despite the growing storm, the government made it clear last night it would not make public the Attorney-General's advice on the legality of the war.

Why cannot the opnion be released? It cannot possible threaten any form of security except that of tenure in the prime minister's office.

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