Labour MP Phil Goff says he has evidence the prime minister was briefed about a decision to release Security Intelligence Service documents to WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater.
John Key, who is also the minister responsible for the SIS, has denied his office had anything to do with the release in 2011 of the documents used to embarrass Goff, who was then Labour Party leader.
Goff had denied being briefed by then SIS director Warren Tucker on a security matter, but the documents showed he had been fully briefed.
Nicky Hager’s book, Dirty Politics, alleges Slater was tipped off by Key’s staff to ask for the papers.
Key has insisted that this absolutely did not happen, and that the SIS released the information themselves. Why did they do it so quickly? Because Phil Goff had questioned Tucker’s word, and so Tucker obviously had an incentive to get the information out as quickly as possible.
There are a few problems with that version of events. The biggest is that Fairfax had requested the same document a few days earlier and the SIS refused to release it to them. The second big problem is this dialog in the Slater/Bhatnager correspondence dumped by whaledump yesterday:
Cameron Slater, 8/2, 9:03am Should be a big day tomorrow if my PO Box has a nice brown envelope with OHMS on it
Aaron Bhatnagar, 8/2, 9:04am oh, whats that about?
Cameron Slater, 8/2, 9:05am I OIAd the briefing minutes and notes for Goff’s SIS briefing it has been expedited in the public interest
Aaron Bhatnagar, 8/2, 9:05am oh yes
Cameron Slater, 8/2, 9:06am it is devastating for Goff I am told
Surely if the SIS wanted this information to be published they’d have released it to Fairfax, who asked for it first? It is also hard to imagine the SIS Director’s office calling up Cameron Slater and crowing to him about the contents of his request that they’d just ‘expedited’.