A few years back I asked a former journalist who went to work for the Prime Minister’s office and then moved on, if working on the ninth floor had changed the way they’d have worked as a political reporter. ‘I wish I’d realised,’ they replied, ‘That MPs and senior staffers simply lied to journalist’s faces so frequently.’
Well, the government’s story about the leaking of the Kitteridge report into the GCSB seems like one of those ‘lie to our face moments.’ Via the Herald:
Prime Minister John Key’s says he is unhappy he had to disrupt his programme in Shanghai to address the issues of the GCSB report.
He goes to Beijing about 2pm today for an official welcome at the Great Hall of the People by Premier Li Keqiang and a new round of talks.
Mr Key had talks on Sunday with President Xi Jinping on Hainan Island.
“About the last thing we wanted to be doing is standing here in China dealing with this,” he said at a press conference convened in his hotel after the Government decided to release the report early because of leaks.
The GCSB report shows – amongst other things – that Key lied last September when questioned about the extent of the GCSB’s illegal spying, claiming it was restricted to Kim Dotcom when he’d known since July that there were wider questions about the legality of the agencies collaboration with other agencies and gathering of so-called ‘meta-data.’
And we’re supposed to believe that it’s inconvenient for Key that he isn’t available to answer questions about this in the House today, that he only has time for stand-up press conferences between engagements while he’s in China instead of a full-court press conference in front of the entire gallery.
Deputy PM Bill English sort-of fronted on this issue yesterday. He could categorically deny that the leak came from the PM’s office. He was absolutely confident that the classified appendices to the report wouldn’t be leaked. He didn’t see any need whatsoever for an investigation.
Meanwhile, Paula Rebstock’s $250,000 inquiry of who leaked documents from MFAT – which did, actually inconvenience the government – rolls on.