The Katharine Gun Case


Katharine Gun, a British former government employee, faced two years imprisonment in England for the “crime” of telling the truth. She was charged with leaking an embarrassing U.S. intelligence memo indicating that the U.S. had mounted a spying “surge” against U.N. delegations in early 2003 in an effort to win approval of the Iraq war resolution. The leaked memo was big news in parts of the world.

England has no First Amendment that might have protected Ms. Gun. It does have a repressive Official Secrets Act, under which she was being prosecuted by the Blair government.

Background on the Gun case is provided below:

IPA News Releases

Iraq War Lies Exposed by Official Secrets Heroine Influenced by Author” (9/9/19)

Official Secrets Highlights Lies of Iraq War” (7/18/19)

15 Years Later: The Whistleblower Who Almost Blocked the Iraq War” 2/21/18 — See video of panel discussion with Katharine Gun and other whistleblowers by ExposeFacts.

Chilcot Report Avoids Smoking Gun” (7/6/16)

10 Years Ago: ‘The Most Important Leak’ Aimed at Stopping the Iraq War” 4/4/13

With Charges Dropped in U.N. Spying Case, Bush and Blair Governments Face Scrutiny” (2/25/04)

Scandal on Pre-War U.N. Spying by U.S. Now Mushrooming in Mexico and Chile” (2/17/04)

New Support for British Whistleblower Katharine Gun” (2/12/04)

Prominent Americans Support British Whistleblower” (1/29/04)

New York Times Column Today Shines Light on British Whistleblower” (1/19/04)

Former British Cabinet Minister Decries Prosecution of Whistleblower” (12/17/03)

Ellsberg on Whistleblower Arrest in U.S. Spying on U.N. Scandal” (3/10/03)

Tough Questions for Bush on Iraq Tonight” (3/6/03)

U.S. Spying on UN Delegates: Fallout” (3/4/03)

Top Secret Document Reveals U.S. Spying on U.N. Delegates” (3/3/03)

Selected News Reports

Case Against Iraq Whistle-Blower Dropped,” Reuters, 2/25/04

GCHQ Translator Cleared Over Leak,” BBC News, 2/25/04

British Spy Op Wrecked Peace Move,” Observer, 2/15/04

Mexico Asks Britain, United States for Answer to Spying Accusations,” Associated Press, 2/12/04

Chile Says Its UN Mission was Spied On,” Associated Press, 2/10/04

Britain Spied on UN Allies over War Vote,” Observer, 2/8/04

Official Secrets” by J.F.O. McAllister, Time, 2/2/04

Ellsberg Backs British Leaker,” Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (from Baltimore Sun), 2/1/04

Woman’s Lawyers Fight to Lift GCHQ Gag,” Guardian, 1/20/04

U.S.Stars Hail Iraq War Whistleblower,” Observer, 1/18/04


The Best Movie Ever Made About the Truth Behind the Iraq War is Official Secrets” Jon Schwarz, The Intercept (8/31/19)

Film Official Secrets Is Tip of Mammoth Iceberg” Sam Husseini, Consortium News, FAIR 8/29/19

Katharine Gun’s Risky Truth-telling” Sam Husseini, Consortium News 11/18/14

Finally, the Story of the Whistleblower Who Tried to Prevent the Iraq War” Norman Solomon, Guernica 9/26/08

Under the Gun” by Molly Ivins, Creators Syndicate, 2/12/04

Leak Against this War” by Daniel Ellsberg, Guardian, 1/26/04

A Single Conscience v. the State” by Bob Herbert, New York Times, 1/19/04

For Telling the Truth” by Norman Solomon, Baltimore Sun, 12/14/03

American Media Dodging U.N. Surveillance Story” (3/6/03)


Letter from members of U.S. Congress to British Prime Minister Tony Blair in support of Katharine Gun (2/11/04)
(You will need Acrobat to view this PDF file. It can be downloaded free at Adobe’s website.)

Original Observer story: “Revealed: U.S. Dirty Tricks to Win Vote on Iraq War,”3/2/03

Text of the NSA Memo

Audio File

Download an audio file of a speech made by Ms. Gun in April 2004 at a hearing on the Iraq war in the Danish Parliament building. (You will need Windows Media to listen to this speech. It is available here.)


Progressive Portal has made it easy to take Internet action in solidarity with Katharine

Letters of support for Katharine Gun can now be sent to:

More background from Liberty, the British civil liberties group defending Katharine.