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May 01, 2003

SURPRISE:

RAGEH OMAAR, the BBC’s star correspondent in Baghdad during the Iraq war, developed a close and potentially embarrassing relationship with the director of Iraq’s Ministry of Information, who was responsible for controlling foreign correspondents.

Documents retrieved by The Times from the ministry show that Mr Omaar wrote effusive letters to Uday al-Taie, who was close to Saddam Hussein and once expelled from France for spying. . . .

Mr Omaar, who was nicknamed the “Scud Stud” for his vivid reports, declined to comment on the letters, but the BBC said that they showed him behaving in an entirely professional manner.

“These are the kind of letters that a journalist sends when he is building up a relationship with an individual who controls the access to allow him to report,” a spokesman said. “He is asking for something and doing so in an entirely professional manner.”

So there.

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