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British Papers Gagged Over Leak Memo


Three British newspapers say the government has threatened them with legal action if they print details of a leaked memorandum allegedly containing a conversation between President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The Daily Mirror, The Times and The Guardian reported Wednesday that the order comes 24 hours after the Mirror published a front-page story allegedly based on the top secret document's contents.

The article said during an April 2004 meeting, Mr. Bush suggested bombing Arabic television channel al-Jazeera's headquarters, which are based in U.S.-allied Qatar, but that Mr. Blair talked him out of it.

The Bush administration has frequently accused al-Jazeera of being a mouthpiece for terrorist propaganda.

The Associated Press Tuesday quoted a White House spokesman as saying the Bush administration will not respond to "something so outlandish and inconceivable."

Al-Jazeera says if the memo is authentic, "it would cast serious doubts" on U.S. insistence that two previous bombings of its offices in Iraq and Afghanistan were accidental. An al-Jazeera reporter was killed in the Baghdad bombing.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.

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