Who leaked and why?

The Inspector General of the SIS, Cheryl Gwyn’s, report into the release of information to Cameron Slater found:

The inquiry found the NZSIS released incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information in response to Mr Slater’s request, and provided some of the same incorrect information to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office.

“These errors resulted in misplaced criticism of the then Leader of the Opposition, Hon Phil Goff MP. Mr Goff is owed a formal apology by the Service,” said Ms Gwyn.

 Ms Gwyn found no evidence of political partisanship by the NZSIS but did find that the NZSIS failed to take adequate steps to maintain political neutrality.

Having released inaccurate information that was predictably misinterpreted, the then Director of the Service had a responsibility to take positive steps to correct the interpretation. He failed to do so,” said Ms Gwyn.

Ms Gwyn said she had also investigated allegations, made before and during the course of the inquiry, that NZSIS officers had acted in collusion with Mr Slater or under direction from the Prime Minister or the Prime Minister’s Office. Ms Gwyn said that these allegations were particularly serious and that she had made full use of her statutory powers to investigate them.

From that thorough investigation, I do not believe that any NZSIS staff member contacted Mr Slater to instigate his OIA request. Nor have I found any collusion or direction between the NZSIS and the Prime Minister or his Office.”

Ms Gwyn went to on comment that she had, however, established that a staff member of the Prime Minister’s office had provided unclassified NZSIS information to Mr Slater. However, that information was understood by the Prime Minister’s Office to have been provided for media purposes and there was no breach of confidence towards NZSIS in that disclosure.

That disclosure did not breach any confidentiality or security obligations owed by those staff to the NZSIS. No classified information was disclosed to Mr Slater.” Said Ms Gwyn. . .

That doesn’t reflect well on the SIS but it did not find a smoking gun in the hand of the PM the opposition was hoping it to.

So who leaked the report and why?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No. In fact, the report does not show that my office was deeply involved. There were a series of claims made and not a single one of them has stacked up. That is why Phil Goff had to leak the report yesterday, because he knew it would not stand up on its own merits. . .

Goff wanted maximum publicity and to inflict maximum damage on the PM and the only way he could do that was selectively leaking the bits of the report which fitted his narrative.

The full report is here.

It raises serious questions about the behaviour of  the SIS at the time.

It will exercise political tragics and cofirm existing biases.

It doesn’t, as Goff and the opposition hoped, damn the PM both of whom should be reassured that the SIS has learned from mistakes made.

 

6 Responses to Who leaked and why?

  1. Dave Kennedy says:

    Strong words from John Armstrong:

    “That gets Key personally off the hook. But that does not absolve him of ministerial responsibility. In fact. he is doubly responsible both as the the minister-in-charge of the intelligence agencies and as the person responsible for the behaviour of his Beehive office.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11364204

    And Andrea Vance:

    “Prime Minister John Key interpreted both reports as proving he was above any of the nasty political tricks outlined in Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics book. They do not.”

    “Key might feel inoculated from Dirty Politics by both reports because they do not directly implicate him. He takes hands-off to a disturbing extreme.”

    “It stretches credibility to suggest Key – and his chief of staff Wayne Eagleson – bear no responsibility for the conduct of de Joux and Ede.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/63523163/Dirty-Politics-Keeping-Keys-hands-clean

    Like

  2. Andrei says:

    Just politics – as they say scum floats to the top.

    Phil Goff mislead (in real speak lied) the public about not having being briefed dumping on the director of the SIS in so doing.

    The director of the SIS connived to get his side of the story out,

    Its all just games played by parasitic troughers in Wellington who think that their shit doesn’t stink

    Like

  3. Mr E says:

    So Dave,
    Keys failings are having staff that speak to Cameron Slater and his own direct communications with Cameron? Is that what you are saying?

    What is wrong with talking to Cameron? The courts have ruled him as part of the media. Media awards indicate him as such. He seems to use strong language and name calling, that I don’t like, but that doesn’t mean that people should not speak to him. Does it?

    People have labelled him as an “attack blogger”, and the connotations of that phrase seem to be negative.

    I wonder, if you looked at your own blog and tallied up the percentage of threads that contained political attacks, how yours would compare to Cameron’s?

    I suspect if we judged your blog on a percentage basis, many people would label it an attack blog.

    Right now I am wondering if I should zip it – and stop talking to you?

    Dirty Politics indeed.

    Like

  4. Ray says:

    “So Dave,
    Keys failings ……………………………………………………………………………. Is that what you are saying?”

    Read his post again Mr E. He is in fact, as usual, saying nothing.

    At the risk of repeating myself…..

    You do not make “debating points”. You recycle other peoples opinion in the form of “school reading assignments”, or links.

    Like

  5. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, Ray is right, in this instance I just quoted two well regarded poltical journalists. Most political commentators are appalled at Key’s refusal to take any responsibility for his own office’s behaviour.

    Key and his office did more than have the odd conversation with New Zealand’s dirtiest blogger, they favoured him above more reputable journalists and made sure OIA requests were fast tracked for him. What was most concerning was Key’s staffers using their privileged position to make suggestions to Slater of OIA requests for political advantage.

    Ray, my own opinions are shaped by those with more knowledge and inside information than myself. Most of the opinions expressed here are based on National Party spin and Ele often quotes others directly as I do (note this post too).

    Here is another:

    “Yes, there may have been similar media requests to the SIS at the same time, as Key noted. But it is wilful blindness to ignore the fact that a request for information can be that much sharper when the query comes from someone being coached in what is available. It is similarly damning that blogger Cameron Slater’s request for information was sent at precisely the same time Ede was talking to him on the phone.”

    Information Gwyn reveals in her report blows out of the water claims from Key that his office was not involved in the release of information, even if he is right that on the letter of the matter the SIS made the final call on what to release, not his officials.”

    More to the point the use of the information – not to mention the provision of incorrect and incomplete information to then Labour leader Phil Goff that helped embarrass him – potentially compromised the constitutional independence of the security services.”

    Ede himself saw the danger, in emails to Slater referenced in Gwyn’s report, in which he expressed concern that he “might be in the s…” over his use of the SIS information. ”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/63523060/John-Key-ignores-the-obvious

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