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UK police warning to media over diplomat's leaked memos stirs anger

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By Michael Holden

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Basu is an idiot. You cannot prosecute a newspaper for publishing a story, you prosecute the ones who gave them the story, if that breaks the law. Who ever gave Darroch's reports to the Mail on Sunday has broken the Official Secrets Act and will get prison time.

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Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer, Neil Basu... warned journalists and publishers they too could be in breach of the law if further documents were leaked.

George Osborne... called it a "very stupid and ill-advised statement from a junior officer who doesn't appear to understand much about press freedom".

So the most senior counter-terrorism officer in the UK is, according to Osborne, merely a junior officer? Isn't Basu an Assistant Commissioner, ranking third in the Met Police? His seniority makes Basu's comments/threats more ominous, not less - there's nothing to be gained by trying to discredit him by claiming he's a supposedly junior officer who doesn't understand the issues.

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I don't know the legal details of this kind of thing, but the newspaper in question seems somewhat selective in its freedom to publish. It holds two potentially juicy stories, the secret opinions of an ambassador about the US president and the name of someone in government who revealed state secrets. Which is more in the public interest to publish? This is not a normal whistleblower situation where someone is revealing illegal or wrongful behavior. The reveled secret was of a guy doing his job as expected. Is there any need to protect the person who leaked the secret?

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Wikileaks

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