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  • Saturday, December 18, 2004

    Embarrassing emails - how to deal with them

    First there was the email from Jo Moore, a political advisor to the transport secretary, Stephen Byers, sent within half an hour of the second plane hitting the twin towers in New York on the 11th September 2001, stating: "It's now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury." Then there was the email from a foreign office press officer, whom, on the issue of the dodgy dossier advised that: "The more we advertise that unsupported assertions... come from intelligence the better." Also there were those emails from Alistair Campbell, which spoke about "sexing up" the section on the so called nuclear threat from Iraq: Mr Campbell said he had shown the dossier to a woman in the office who found the nuclear section "confusing and unconvincing". She was quoted as saying: "It left me thinking there is nothing much to worry about." He went on: "Sorry to bombard on this point, but I do worry that the nuclear section will become the main focus and as currently drafted is not in great shape." There were also the rather telling emails from Campbell ordering a "substantial rewrite" of the dodgy dossier "as per TB's discussion", and from Jonathan Powell, Mr Blair’s chief of staff, warning "the document does nothing to demonstrate a threat, let alone an imminent threat from Saddam". More recently of course, there have been the many revelations about David Blunkett, the right wing former home secretary forced to resign over that visa application. An email came to light shortly before he resigned showing that he most likely has lied about the issue. So, when all these emails have assisted in tarnishing the reputation of Blair & Co, what do they decide to do? Well, the cabinet office has ordered that by the 20th December all emails more than 3 months old must be deleted from computer systems. Operatives will be able to use their own discretion as to which emails they delete according to this article.

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