Hypothetical Joke Leads to Real Prior Restraint

Saving Half FaceIt's bad enough when your national media is divided on whether a foreign leader is kidding when he talks about bombing a TV station in a faraway land. But now the British government has announced that any news outlet will be in violation of the Official Secrets Act when reproducing the contents of the memo detailing said ambiguously humrous bombing threat. A news outlet such as, oh, let's say the London Daily Mirror, which first broke the news, courtesy of a researcher for former Labour MP Tony Clarke, that George Bush reportedly bandied with Tony Blair the notion that a well placed bomb might shut those Arab Al Jazeera types up but good. This marks the Blair government's first effort to prosecute newspaper editors for publishing a leaked document, and the invocation of the Secrets Act means that the British Attorney General, as the London Times reports, "intends to hold part, if not all, of the trial, behind closed doors." And you know what that means: Look for Jose Padilla to be deported any day now as a material witness. Man, does the president ever love to play a practical joke on that guy.

[REUTERS/Jason Reed]

Editors Are Threatened Over TV Station Bombing Claim [London Times]


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