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Jimmy Savile and Newsnight: A correction

Host Host | 10:48 UK time, Monday, 22 October 2012

The following is a statement issued by the BBC

The BBC has launched an independent review, led by former Head of Sky News Nick Pollard, to determine whether there were any failings in the BBC's management of the Newsnight investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of children by Jimmy Savile.

However, on the basis of material available now, it is apparent from information supplied by the Newsnight editor and programme team - that the explanation in a blog by the editor of his decision to drop the programme's investigation is inaccurate or incomplete in some respects.

By way of correction and clarification:

1.The blog says that Newsnight had no evidence that anyone from the Duncroft home could or should have known about the allegations. In fact some allegations were made (mostly in general terms) that some of the Duncroft staff knew or may have known about the abuse.

2. The blog says that Newsnight had no evidence against the BBC. No allegation was made to the programme that BBC staff were aware of Mr Savile's alleged activities, but there were some allegations of abusive conduct on BBC premises.

3. The blog says that all the women spoken to by the programme had contacted the police independently already and that Newsnight had no new evidence against any other person that would have helped the police. It appears that in some cases women had not spoken to the police and that the police were not aware of all the allegations.

The BBC regrets these errors and will work with the Pollard review to assemble all relevant evidence to enable the review to determine the full facts.

Update 23 October 2012: The BBC has published an additional statement which it issued to Panorama on 22 October 2012. You can read it here.


  • Comment number 1.

    So is Peter Rippon resigning or not?

  • Comment number 2.

    @John - he just did ;)

  • Comment number 3.

    Helen Boaden should step down as well.

  • Comment number 4.

    What is 'stepping aside'?

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    5 pm

    'What is stepping aside'

    aka freefall, whether a parachute is supplied is not evident

    If the BBC thinks the number 1 is the right number to defuse they are wrong

    It is very hard for extensive and consistent abuse or bad behavior to continue in a work environment without people in the vicinity having some idea of what is going on.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    In summary: BBC issue a statement - statement proves to be inaccurate - BBC issue an apology and a new statement - statement proves to be inaccurate - BBC issue an apology and a new statement - statement proves to be inaccurate......and so on.

  • Comment number 9.

    It might be useful if the host could add a footnote to the original blog entry with a link to this correction entry.

    On another note does anyone know why the Panorama episode has been moved to 10:35pm, when it was originally scheduled for 8:30pm (according to previous articles on the BBC News website)?

  • Comment number 10.

    "stepping aside"??
    Moving out of the way for someone behind (below?) him to be hit by the bus?
    Keeping his pension?

  • Comment number 11.

    And there ought to now be a full scale Leveson style inquiry into the whole operation, management, and output of the BBC.

  • Comment number 12.

    It's not Mr Savile - he was Sir Jimmy, for good or evil!

  • Comment number 13.

    The BBC really needs whole scale changes in its management structure, as this is typical of its deny everything management.

    From the serious child abuse allegations, to the implementation of changes to its services, the consumer is always treated with contempt.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    Hold on, this statement itself is untrue!
    It says "The blog says that all the women spoken to...had contacted the police independently...".
    The blog says that the team were "confident" that the women had done so, but it doesn't state this was a proven fact.
    Irrespective whether the allegations are true, the editorial decision by Newsnight seems to be becoming a witch hunt in itself!

  • Comment number 16.

    'Essential truth' of Savile Affair?

    A reflection of inevitability, of need to be reminded of hidden dangers, of one predator & his vulnerable prey, casualties of the rule of Naivety?

    Or, of a cultural vulnerability, under the rule of Fear & Greed, individuals dreaming of escape & power, Savile, innocent fans, and hungry executives?

  • Comment number 17.

    A wise move: my thoughts are with all those affected.

  • Comment number 18.

    Ah, no I see what "stepping aside" means.
    It seems that a spell of reduced duties whilst collecting pay and pension is his 'punishment'.
    When will the BBC staff realise that the world outside its bubble will not continue to tolerate its antics. For how long must the British public continue to finance their gravy train?

  • Comment number 19.

    Despite campaigners & press, facts can be slow to emerge, 'wisdom & history' being given by loudest, by 'winners'

    This scandal might be 'used' to settle scores, or as a political opportunity - not necessarily off-target

    Widening from Savile to 'cover-up' or crass commercialism, a crucial cultural diagnosis might become inescapable

  • Comment number 20.

    If the BBC was run by professional managers and not by ratings obsessed, celebrity obsessed, self-congratulatory left wing luvvies promoted from within then these types of problems might be avoided.... gross overpayment of "stars"; active promotion of tax avoidance schemes; complete failure to investigate Savile....what next?

  • Comment number 21.

    Shouldn't a post about what Peter Rippon said include his name rather than just "the editor"? Also, shouldn't the statements he made be attributed as "Mr Rippon says" rather than "the blog says"?

    It makes it look like the BBC are avoiding attributing to Mr Rippon what he said, but rather using impersonal wording as if it was an inanimate object (the blog) that made these incorrect statements.

  • Comment number 22.

    BBC will work with the Pollard Review to gather all relevant evidence to enable the review to determine the full facts. Until this is done, I don't think it is right to sack anyone. BBC got it wrong; BBC apologized. Now that it is attempting to do the right thing, the situation should be left alone to play itself out...and then shall come the repercusions...

  • Comment number 23.

    Sounds like a load of BBC obfuscation.

  • Comment number 24.

    Pity the individual, always able to see uncertainties, decision to share even strong suspicion as to falsehood / crime, risking error, embarrassment, even incrimination, for self, audience, superiors. However we frame our ethical codes, we all have to make judgements as to the significance of ideas & rumours & signs of wrong, not to be too ready or too reluctant to speak

  • Comment number 25.

    To address apparent failures of judgement, individual, institutional, or cultural, we need to understand varying perceptions of 'importance to others' in what is alleged, & varying trust in the likely response of society-as-constituted to identified problem, penitents, & whistle-blowers. Factors likely to include Fear & Greed, action overdue

  • Comment number 26.

    Before we allow ourselves to think, "that's life", going on to change TV-channels for better entertainment, we might consider the seriousness of our hopes of shareable individual freedom. If we have chosen democracy for delivery of peace, prosperity & well-being, 'Savile' might be made the instrument of some cultural salvation.

  • Comment number 27.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

  • Comment number 28.

    'inaccurate or incomplete in some respects.'
    Not sure its boding too well on the information, accuracy and/or trust front, which for a 'news' provider can't be great. But if ever I need to brush up on Clintonian semantics, I will know where to go. If a bit steep at £145.50 a year.

  • Comment number 29.

    Much, much too slow in reacting to the stories - Chris Patten, George Entwhistle and down. As someone who treasures the BBC, this saddens me.

  • Comment number 30.

    Bluesberry §22 is wrong.
    These detailed reviews are going to allow those that have done nothing to stay at home, doing nothing but collecting their salaries whilst on 'step aside' suspension, and then a line will be drawn under all things and these managers will be permitted by other managers to return to their ludicrously overpaid and under accountable posts.

  • Comment number 31.

    whatever happens, just remember, we all paid to cover this up....

  • Comment number 32.

    What the Saville incident shows is if presenters are allowed to stay at the BBC for too long, these type of incidents tend to happen. So, all presenters who have been at the BBC for more than 20 years should be fired ASAP. Actually, they should be hurled out onto the car park unceremoniously ASAP. Yes, I mean the Dimbleby brothers, Humphrys, Paxman, Esler, Wark, Robinson.

  • Comment number 33.

    Very frustrating that among all the comments from the BBC, none has addressed why as recently as end July 2012, BBC was giving such wide and sympathetic coverage to the auction of Saville's personal effects. Was this not highly inappropriate given what other parts of the BBC clearly knew?

  • Comment number 34.

    By not featuring the Newsnight story in December 2011, BBC allowed that tasteless auction of Saville memorabilia to go head, leading to this sickening press release from Dreweatts, the auctioneers:

  • Comment number 35.

    Perhaps fair that, to be 'strong interest' for Newsnight, celebrity abuse scandal would need 'institutional angle', such as 'police inaction'

    Sadly, institutional angle already 'strong' from BBC 'duty of care' & from cultural underpinning of the abuse, in relationships of power, fear & greed

    All bear responsibility for 'our culture': hopes rest in Leveson?

  • Comment number 36.

    Probably it would end the flow of scandals for highest Paxmanesque address in the future, but is it not time for the BBC - Lord Patten like Nixon going where no 'Pinko' would dare - to address the place of 'the citizen' in modern 'democratic' Britain?

    Must we live by Fear & Greed, as suspect children in a suspect detention-centre?

  • Comment number 37.

    When Dame Janet Smith comes to "look at" the BBC's Savile Years, can we hope in the wake of Shipman, Leveson, Libor that 'a bell will will be rung', that instead of being humoured into 'vain unholy collusion' on bureaucratic mock-revalidation, the courage will be found to face 'democratic deficit', for the liberation of conscience?

  • Comment number 38.

    Amongst the reforms Dame Janet might entertain, a sensible 'character' allowance for comment on BBC News output?

    'Democratic deficit' is from lack of secure equality, but my reasoned comment has taken eight posts to build to prescription

    End the constant exposure of all to livelihood-threat

    Penalties only for laziness or criminality

  • Comment number 39.

  • Comment number 40.

    On editorial function, Nick Jones, ex-BBC with impeccably 'conservative' voice, reports his own suspicions of editorial kow-towing to Government, in Margaret Thatcher's 1980s (over industrial relations), and in Tony Blair's 1990s (on special advisers). Further relevant, 'dictation of police evidence' on Hillsborough, etc? Democracy?

  • Comment number 41.

    The correction lacks contextual rigour in its criticism of the original. It looks to me like a product from spin central. If I were Peter Rippon I'd feel really aggrieved and would look forward to the opportunity to rebut when the time is right.

  • Comment number 42.

    The BBC was less than a 100% accurate in it`s reporting,shame,shame,BBC.

    Our "TV license" tax money and your charter demand better!

  • Comment number 43.

    @12. Technically a knighthood or order ends with death. Its just polite to refer to the person in that method (I think Mr Saville has gone beyond anyone being polite)

  • Comment number 44.

    Well, well, well, If PR hasnt been got at, then Im a kangaroo. The 3 corrected statements can be driven thru by a simple solicitor never mind a QC. The new agruments lack any merit at all, if anything it puts the top people right in the line of fire. If I was PR I would watch his back and get ready for a showdown for the night of the long knives is a coming.

  • Comment number 45.

    Indeed 'sordid & difficult', to compartmentalise the Savile Affair as such, would be to add to serial abuse of a vulnerable public

    We cannot 'command' (even if as PM) due respect & help for each other (even for vulnerable prisoners & minors), when none, not even minors, can be confident of belonging as willing secure contributors

  • Comment number 46.

    Perhaps the Newsview comparison between the BBC and SABC should be updated to reflect the fact that the BBC is not as infallible as many South Africans seem to believe. Still, at least the BBC provides the courtesy of a correction when they find a mistake!

  • Comment number 47.

    I can see the Daily Mail headlines now moaning about the BBC not protecting teenage girls. But of course, you go to the Daily Mail website and you'll see teenage girls dressed in either saucy swimwear or raunchy clothes. Isn't hypocrisy just grand!

  • Comment number 48.

    Agree with Bluesberry (#22) - at least the BBC has acknowledged they got it wrong which is something. The investigation should now be allowed to run its course... It's a bit pointless speculating until all the facts are in hand.

  • Comment number 49.

    Well we all know that corruption is rife in the Government, why should the BBC
    be any different , they are owned by them. Comon lets have some imformation
    on the Greedy Rich Elite Banksters and the crimes they have commited during this Century
    Ruining the lives of Millions Come on BBC do your Job! let us know what really is going on the "Truth will out" sooner or later so why not now

  • Comment number 50.

    That Sir James was probably a paedophile and the fact that he was a lifelong Catholic honored with papal knighthood by the Pope sit uneasily together.

  • Comment number 51.

    "BBC regrets these errors and will work with the Pollard review… to determine the full facts."

    A pity then that BBC can't be trusted not to make these errors and an appalling shame that it didn’t attempt to "determine the full facts" in the very first place before putting misleading information on its news blogs for its licence payers to read

  • Comment number 52.

    The BBC is no longer to be trusted as it once was. This apology comes merely because events have overtaken their damage limitation exercise, and doesn't convince that the culture over cover-ups over the last 40 years is much different now.

  • Comment number 53.

    And now I'm remembering how we got the brush off from Richard Porter regarding 911, whitewashed by Mike Rudin. You know best and we're all crazy right? And who could forget that two way with Jane Standley reporting the collapse of WTC 7 an hour before it happened...

    I love the BBC, but its really obvious when the chiling effect takes hold in your reporting. I can sense it, we all can.

  • Comment number 54.

    Why are the bbc pre moderating all comments on this subject? It doesn't look good!

  • Comment number 55.

    Rippon acted only after discussing the matter with Entwhistle, it's clear the DG must go too.

  • Comment number 56.

    Msg 47. Spot on. The Mail is hypocritical beyond belief. This whole affair has turned into a feeding frenzy and a very unedifying one to boot. Can people pleae just let the investigation begin, the FACTS established and then we can see what on earth has really gone on.

  • Comment number 57.

    Panorama investigating Newsnight ? What a joke. The BBC has handled this mess in a totally incompetent way. Who is running BBC News - Terry and June ?

  • Comment number 58.

    Almost surreal that the BBC,with its outstanding history of public service broadcasting, is being brought to its knees by the activities of a deceased, vile and essentially thick disc jockey/TV presenter. Why was this arrogant clown accorded so much deference and protective silence? Unfathomable.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    'Worry not - what is to be is to be - and inscrutable Fates very busy arranging program'. Charlie Chan (Charlie Chan's Greatest Case)

  • Comment number 61.

    Ah, the new meaning of words.
    Q: Does "stepping aside" mean "resigning"? A: Probably not.
    Q: Does "inaccurate or incomplete" mean "containing lies"? A: The jury's out on that one...

  • Comment number 62.

    it is my feeling that the wrong questions are being asked regarding Mr Rippon. Before his programme would have gone to air it would have had to be legaled by BBC lawyers and may have required scrutiny by BBC Editorial policy officials.Therefore did he really choose not to air the item or was he advised not to... for whatever reason.

  • Comment number 63.

    Good to see Conservative Central Office and The Daily Mail readership enjoying themselves so much.

    So, when will the witch hunt for Edwina Curry start then? Or would that lay blame at the doorstep of Mrs T?

  • Comment number 64.

    The Panorama programme that was shown tonight was appalling. Appalling because the report stated that Jimmy Savile actually did those acts, without stating that the wrongdoings are ALLEGED. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? It's all so easy to accuse someone of a wrongdoing when they're not alive to defend themselves.

  • Comment number 65.

    Panorama on Savile. Devastating

    History, lack of sense & spine

    Far beyond 'internal investigation', either of 'truth' or criminality

    Think of other issues, perhaps wrongly discounted, 'right & left'

    Surely no choice: rebuild upon determined pro-democracy

    Back to solid ground, intent of original Charter

    No more dumb support of inequality & corruption


  • Comment number 66.

    I have just seen Panorama and I am amazed at the magnitude of the cover up.
    The tribute to JS last year was far more important than a story that has affected vulnerable young people. I am also intrigued by the fact that Panorama has been shown quite late comparing with other episodes showed much earlier in the evening. By doing so BBC seems here not too adamant to spread the NEWS!!!!

  • Comment number 67.

    Watched Panorama tonight. George E should have asked more questions having been told about the Newsnight investigation. This would have led him to drop the Christmas tributes. He failed to prevent the wholly inappropriate transmission of the tributes. He should resign now rather that wait for the inevitable pressure to build (just like Andrew Mitchel) and do even more damage to the BBC

  • Comment number 68.

    64. At 23:43 22nd Oct 2012, mn1234

    '..without stating that the wrongdoings are ALLEGED. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?'

    What indeed. However the speed of some reactions and the type of actions also speak. Such as the Savile family dismantling his gravestone PDQ and the nature of the police comments

  • Comment number 69.

    63. muadib2

    Good to see some still casting about for once trusted diversionary lifelines. The Guardian sought the opinion of an ex-BBC Director. Their readers also still seem less than impressed with his 'analysis'.

    Maybe they too have concerns on 'inaccurate or incomplete'?

  • Comment number 70.

    It’s strange indeed that a public broadcaster would put its own interests and those of its staff way before any concern for the public good, but that's the BBC in a nutshell. Entwhistle had this to say yesterday: "We have set up an independent enquiry," as if anything set up by an organisation itself under suspicion can be truly independent.

  • Comment number 71.

    The BBC can duck and dive to cover up its more minor offences and get away with it, but this story is massive. Rather than the pretence of transparency that we've seen so far, the BBC should be facing the crisis with courage and should really be trying to uncover the extent of its complicity in Savile's crimes.

  • Comment number 72.

    Following the Panorama broadcast and Mark Thompson's hastily released press release afterwards, it surely beggars belief that neither he, nor George Entwistle in his former incarnation as Head of TV when told about the Newsnight investigation simply asked 'Investigation about what allegations ?'

  • Comment number 73.

    This is an interesting way of looking at it:
    BBC Editor goes on BBC site to explain why BBC is in the clear because the way the BBC does things is so complex they are dead honest but inept, really. Trust him on this.

    Shame that, for some reason, comments were disabled.

  • Comment number 74.

    "The social psychology of this century reveals a major lesson: often it is not so much the kind of person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself that determines how he will act." –Stanley Milgram, 1974

  • Comment number 75.

    Entwhistle still clinging to faint hopes:

    Perhaps Savile case 'might not stand up'?

    Rippon inconsistencies 'might be cleared-up'?

    Evading confrontation:

    Rippon's 'own decision' had a context…

    At least of past experience: 'heat from above'

    What of past 'heat' on even more serious issues:

    UK democratic deficit, inequality of belonging?

  • Comment number 76.

    The BBC appears to be sourcing and distributing it's 'news' more and more via social media such as FaceBook and twitter. Today these have not been kind to those who love them, as Uncurious George will testify. Doubtless BBC Editors are all behind their boss?

  • Comment number 77.

    No offence to George et al

    In every team & 'theoretical' chain-of-command, we exercise trust

    But we need freedom to give & take feedback, at times critical

    Freedom lacking, from fear, over-load, rigidity, 'stuff happens'

    Cases 'picked-up', fairly or not, provide 'forced opportunities'

    Time for even most vulnerable to take courage, to win day

  • Comment number 78.

    I'm really confused about why a manager would want to demonstrate 'undue interest' ...

    Isn't 'undue interest' the kind of thing that caused Barings Bank to collapse?

  • Comment number 79.

    "BBC regrets dropped Savile story"

    Yes now having been caught, exposed but what about before?Swept under the rug, forgotten.Compare to surreptitiuosly intercepting dead girl's voice mail.Reminds of coverup paedophilic priests.Priests of news rule BBC in its age of info empire.Absolute power corrupts absolutely.BBC should be broken up.Too big,too powerful.

  • Comment number 80.

    Where did the phrase "stepping aside" re. the departure of the Newsnight Editor Peter Rippon come from? Is he "suspended"?

    "Stepping aside" suggests Rippon went of his own freewill. "Suspended" is something that happens to people and they generally don't have much say in the matter.

    So what do we have here? More obfuscation? Did he jump or was he pushed?

  • Comment number 81.

    Since when have journalists been trained in assessing evidence in relation criminal proceedings. Why wasn't all of the evidence given over to the police? The people who knew about these events and did nothing should be ashamed of themselves and hang their heads in shame. This stinks of protecting their positions at all costs.

  • Comment number 82.

    There is little point now in having this blog open and people have made their point on HYS. This should topic should have been on HYS but the BBC has seen fit to bury it elsewhere.

  • Comment number 83.

    Referring to allegations of abuse , Ester Rantzen said ...they were just rumours....

    Rantzen failed to pursue, report, discuss or otherwise involve herself in addressing what was or was not going on...So she failed to listen to the children......which is contrary to her Child Line

  • Comment number 84.

    The blog was not to my knowledge a statement made under oath to a court of law. it was an attempt to explain a complex decision taken. I'm sure Peter Rippon did not imagine that every word would be analysed in detail. The 'inaccuracies' highlighted would be comical in their insignificance were it not for the fact that they seem likely to lose him his job.

  • Comment number 85.

    An organization's culture starts from the top down. What behavior is acceptable and what isn't. And what people dare not speak about. Newcomers learn quickly. The excuse that one didn't know doesn't work. Why wouldn't they know. How easy is it to keep a secret in a large organization.Not credible.How far and where else does this go?

  • Comment number 86.

    Why does the BBC continue to place grinning images of Savile on the home page? He quite clearly a sick and depraved monster - why use images which try to portray him as something he quite clearly was not!

  • Comment number 87.

    Rippon, Mitchell & Boaden all have to go over this. Trust and integrity are at the heart of the BBC and they have all failed the line of command. Rippon is damned by the Editors Blogs. Steve Mitchell, Head of the News Programmes Division is a repeat offender with form over the Gilligan Affair. Helen Boaden as ex-editor of File on 4 should be ashamed. BBC Journalism needs a leader we can trust.

  • Comment number 88.

    This oudious man must be stripped of his knighthood as he is a total disgrace to humanity and I like many others are asking for images of him not to be shown.

    It's a pity none of his disgraceful abuse came to light before his death or he would have ended his days where he belonged - behind bars.

  • Comment number 89.

    sieuarlu @85
    "An organisation's culture…"
    MAY start & move "from top down"

    BUT, whether from penthouse or basement, the fundamental & practical issue here is the general culture, OUR culture... supportive - or not - of EACH of us

  • Comment number 90.

    Worryingly, much 'naive' focus 'on Savile', or 'above all on victims', as if 'hope of prevention' just 'telling the stories'...

    Utterly to neglect 'power relations' well we know 'corrupting' lives of all, of Savile and victims, of Fear & Greed - oblivious or not - from 'Mammon' through 'the long political chain' from Patten & Entwhistle & Jordan, to Rippon & Paxman & McKean

  • Comment number 91.

    Thank heavens Rippon dropped item.Thinking back to christmas 2011,Trail package featured all Christmas stars singing 'Consider yourself one of the family'. Queen's Christmas message centred on family.Everyone's favourite BBC uncle Jimmy Savile a monster. Dec.2nd.'heads up' adumbrated not just technical probs of dropping Savile tribute, but scandal ruining christmas worse than Grinch.Phew.

  • Comment number 92.

    The public 'shock' at this scandal is nauseating. We all bear responsibility for creating a culture which tolerates this behaviour. Girls seen as 'up for it' for wearing short skirts, groomed girls not seen as victims, beliefs that women lie about rape, stories viewed as unnewsworthy if the sources are female. These scandals will continue until women are treated as equal citizens.

  • Comment number 93.

    'We all bear responsibility for creating a culture which tolerates this behaviour'
    Can't and wouldn't presume to speak for any others, but I fear I don't wish to share in your attempt to spread this around. Anymore than I am happy that the Trust Chairman seems to feel his role is to warn anyone off holding the BBC to account with things like 'questions'.

  • Comment number 94.

    Seasofchange @92
    "all bear responsibly"

    "These scandals" and worse, of slavery and war and planetary suicide, "will continue" until all are "treated as equal citizens"

    Men, women, children, frail, sick, all belonging

    Incomes securely equal, contributions - & protests - made & heard in conscience

  • Comment number 95.

    Rippon, are you buying some new shoes for your long stroll into oblivion?

  • Comment number 96.

    Seasofchange @92
    "all bear responsibility"
    JunkkMale @93
    "don't wish to share"

    Hard not to share some 'responsibility', for tolerance or creation of 'our culture', its complexities & sub-cultures

    Not to ignore naivety & hypocrisy, or to wallow in mis-presentations of 'human nature', we could - should - make 'our culture' truly ours

    Spreading responsibility for equal, shareable, freedom

  • Comment number 97.

    @95 Rippon rides a motorbike so he won't have to walk.

  • Comment number 98.

    As the number of possible victims widens, scope of the suspected number of perps increases, and government starts its own investigation, it seems since BBC wouldn't clean its own house, police will step in and do it for them.I'm hardly surprised.BBC's culture of hubris, its belief in its own omniscience and omnipotence characterizes unaccountable organizations.


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