Analyst faces discipline for doubting Blair's influence

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The Independent Online

The State Department is considering disciplinary action against the analyst at its intelligence unit who delivered a scathing assessment of the so-called "special relationship" between Britain and the US, describing it as "a sad business", and "totally one-sided, with no payback, no sense of reciprocity".

Kendall Myers, a veteran specialist on British and European affairs, has been summoned to explain his remarks by his superiors at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Tom Casey, the department's deputy spokesman, said yesterday. The remarks were "ill-informed, and I think, from our perspective, just plain wrong", said Mr Casey.

Mr Myers' comments - at an open discussion of British/US relations on Tuesday at the Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies - have caused much embarrassment in Washington.

However, Mr Myers contended that the war had left Britain in a diplomatic no-man's land, and "ruined" the reputation of the Prime Minister. "What I think and fear is that Britain will draw back from the US without moving closer to Europe. In that sense, London's bridge is falling down," he said.

He unfavourably compared Blair's participation in the Iraq war with Harold Wilson's skilful performance more than a generation ago, when he maintained decent relations with the US while refusing to send British troops to Vietnam.

But Mr Casey flatly rejected those assertions. The two countries "have worked together to successfully deal with some of the most difficult issues before the international community".

In London, the Foreign Minister in charge of Iraq policy, Kim Howells, told Sky News: "I don't know if Kendall Myers is trying to sell a book or not. These individuals in Washington have got a great sense of self-importance, they try to lay off this impression that they have got the ear of the President, that they've got this great role."

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