Three Who Spilled Official Secrets

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The Independent Online
SARAH TISDALL

A CLERK in the Foreign Secretary's private office, she leaked memos from Michael Heseltine, the Secretary of State for Defence, on the timing of Cruise missiles arriving at Greenham Common. She sent documents to The Guardian which, in effect, named its source under pressure from the courts. She was charged under the Official Secrets Act and was jailed for six months in March 1984. She served four months.

CLIVE PONTING

THE FORMER assistant secretary at the Ministry of Defence was prosecuted for leaking documents which showed that Conservative ministers had misled the Commons about the sinking of the `Belgrano' in the Falklands War. He was charged under the Official Secrets Act and admitted sending papers to the Tam Dalyell, the MP. He was acquitted in February 1985 by a jury despite a direction by the judge to convict him.

PETER WRIGHT

The Government failed to ban his book, Spycatcher. It said MI5, which employed him for 20 years, had plotted to oust Harold Wilson as prime minister and that MI5 chief Sir Roger Hollis was suspected of helping the KGB. In 1987 the Government obtained injunctions against British newspapers reporting the contents. Wright was living in retirement in Australian and the courts there refused an injunction.

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