The first of the scandals let off by the "files" was the one in which the Christian Science Monitor and also the Telegraph accused the hard-left MP George Galloway of taking a rake-off in oil from the old regime. The story was based on a supposed "secret file" that was either "found in a looted archive" or provided by an anonymous source.
A lawsuit resulted, which Galloway won. The CSM had to fork out considerable damages. As far as I know, Galloway's case against the Telegraph is still active. Now, the Daily Telegraph is not a happy bunny at the moment. It is not in a condition to risk losing a major lawsuit, especially not one involving unlimited British libel damages. Circulation has been dropping for a long time and they seem unable to get back over the one million mark, which has a bad significance for advertising rates. And the paper is for sale in the wake of Conrad Black's disgrace. You may call me a terrible cynic, but it seems to me that - were the secret files to be debunked - the legal position would worsen drastically. And that could have painful financial implications. So, if this really had happened:
"Among the records held by Mr Chalabi in his Baghdad headquarters - which were stripped during a raid last month - he claimed to have material relating to the scandal-hit oil-for-food programme run by the United Nations during Saddam's rule.it wouldn't be at all bad for the Telegraph either. "A final note: what gives me some pause about this story is that unlike the Brooke case, no other paper seems to have reported anything on this at all. And given it would be a pretty consequential matter, I find that rather odd." So do I, sir...
Last night, it emerged that on the same day as the raid, computer files belonging to the British consultant investigating the oil-for-food scandal were destroyed by hackers and a back-up databank in his Baghdad office wiped out.
Claude Hankes Drielsma, a British businessman and long-time acquaintance of Mr Chalabi, accused America and Britain of mounting a "dirty tricks" campaign to obstruct his inquiry."