Is there more than a little irony in the outrage over the release of a journalist’s phone records when journalists in general try to find secrets as part of their work and the one in question was dealing with leaked material on spying?
The snooper has been snooped upon and to her credit, Andrea Vance can see the potential for wry humour:
In other circumstances I could probably find something to laugh about in revelations that the journalist who broke a story about illegal spying was snooped on by Parliament’s bureaucrats.
Let alone the irony that the reporter in question previously worked for the News of the World, the tabloid at the centre of a privacy violation scandal. . .
But she’s angry and has a right to be.
Journalists are paid to find out things people don’t necessarily want other people to know.
To do this they use sources who may wish their connection with the story to remain in confidence and the release of Vance’s phone records is an abuse of that.
The opposition is trying to find a conspiracy at the highest level, the government and parliamentary services say is was a mistake by someone at a low level.
The seriousness with which the matter is regarded is confirmed by the referral of the whole matter to parliament’s Privileges Committee.
Is it too much to hope that it might also find out how Winston Peters knew about the phone records long before the matter became public?
There are many questions and different versions over what was done by whom, among them is whether Peters did really get any records.
However, if he did, it’s difficult to believe that it was by accident.