Word was spreading tonight in Whitehall and Westminster that it’s only a matter of time before the classified Bush/Blair correspondence is in circulation on the internet.
The Slog has learned that maverick ethical elements in the Foreign Office and MoD are already cooperating with a small coterie of journalists and investigators to ensure a de facto declassification of the Bush/Blair correspondence from 2001 to 2003. Following at least two major leaks today, we understand that three key exchanges of letters are being lined up for leaked release.
When asked if he had given President Bush a cast-iron pledge of support to topple Saddam Hussein, former PM Tony Blair told the Chilcot panel, “Of course not”. During today, it has now been made clear to our satisfaction that Blair felt able to say this because of security service assurances that the letters would remain Top Secret.
Meanwhile, at least one tabloid daily is trying to stand up the Blair/Straw pressure on Goldsmith and his legal team . The obvious censoring by Straw of Goldsmith’s ‘varying views’ memo in Cabinet has persuaded several editors to try and break the very real conspiracy that is increasingly clearly in play. “A five year-old could see that they’re lying” said one senior broadsheet journalist, “It’s only a matter of time before somebody makes it stick”.
Said a senior FCO source tonight, “If enough people want the truth to emerge, there’s nothing any Official Secrets Act can do. I think the game’s up for Straw at least – and Goldsmith. After that, it has to lead to Blair”.