Dear Mr Bunglawala
Thank you for your email about last night's programme, which I have had forwarded to me by Stephen Whittle.
May I start by just outlining the reason we did the story yesterday. This was more of a report on the Government's decision to use the Official Secrets Act to silence the press than a piece about the allegations themselves which came out 24 hours earlier. The interviewees and the piece itself addressed the use of the Act rather than the Al Jazeera allegations.
It was obviously necessary to mention the allegations as part of the report in order to explain the sort of things that had already come out from the leaked documents. However, as this wasn't the main focus of the story, the amount of time we could devote to the allegation itself was limited. As you point out, Gavin Hewitt quoted the White House response quite properly. He also quoted the view from Al Jazeera that "they believe that they have been targetted before by the Americans". He also explained in general terms that the White House is hostile to the Channel: "there's no question Al Jazeera has angered Washington..."
I feel in the time available and in the context of the report that I have outlined above that this was fair and sufficient background. Had the report been longer or had the focus been on the Al Jazeera allegations rather than the political row, I agree with you that the past attacks would have been relevant.
May I add one last point: to the best of my knowledge, the Ten O'Clock News was one of the few major BBC or ITV News programmes to cover this story at all yesterday.
Thank you for your comments and I hope you feel this answers your
Editor, BBC Ten O'Clock News