Ominous for Dunne

The writing is on the wall for Peter Dunne. It’s on a number of walls, especially media walls.

Yesterday John Armstrong was clear in Gravity of situation seems to escape Mr Sensible’s notice:

Maybe the enormity of it all has yet to really sink in. Maybe Peter Dunne is in a state of complete and utter denial. Maybe in his mind he has convinced himself that he did not leak the Kitteridge report on the GCSB despite the evidence – although circumstantial – pointing unerringly in his direction.

With Vance and her employers adopting the standard response of never commenting on sources, it is a fair bet the answer as to who leaked the document lies somewhere in the pile of 86 emails Dunne exchanged with the journalist over a 14-day period.

The public may never know exactly what happened. But Henry’s short report is long enough for people to be able to draw their own conclusions.

And Colin Espiner has just blogged Captain Sensible got too near the flame at Stuff:

Former Revenue Minister/former UnitedFuture leader and possibly soon-to-be former MP Peter Dunne says he looked at but did not leak the GCSB report that found our security services had engaged in illegal spying on New Zealanders.

That wasn’t good enough for Prime Minister John Key who considered Dunne’s faint denials that he was responsible, together with his refusal to release all of the 80-plus emails exchanged with the Fairfax reporter who broke the story, was as close as anyone was going to get to an outright admission of guilt.

And fair enough, too. Even though I also work for Fairfax I have absolutely no idea who Andrea Vance’s sources for her story were – journalists protect sources absolutely, and wouldn’t tell their own mother or partner let alone their editor or a colleague.

But as someone who worked as a political editor in the press gallery for eight years, I’m 99 per cent convinced Dunne was responsible, based on his behaviour since, his refusal to co-operate with the inquiry, and my knowledge of how these things work.

And how these things work is that almost everyone does it. The only difference is that Dunne got caught because he didn’t cover his tracks well enough.

And also from Stuff with Is politician is done and dusted?:

Former Labour Party president Mike Williams said the situation is “end-of-career stuff”, and he expects Dunne to “lick his wounds, then go gracefully”.

It is going to be nigh on impossible for Dunne to argue against this weight of opinion.

About the only remaining question is how long it will take Dunne to come to terms with his situation. It’s a huge step for him to take after three decades in Parliament.

Ironically if he were to resign and champion GCSB and privacy issues that were likely to be involved in the decision to “consider leaking” the Kitteridge report he could end his career with a more enduring legacy than if he had just faded away. There is growing support for leaking the report.

Should Peter Dunne be New Zealand’s Bradley Manning?

Labour and the Greens should be thanking Dunne for having caused the report to be released.

Harping on about the leak of a taxpayer funded report on illegal spying, though, could have the potential to backfire, particularly on the Greens, who have long been ardent campaigners against this country’s entanglement in intelligence alliances. I suspect that Russel Norman will have to explain his position to some pretty angry Green activists in the near future.

And as for Peter Dunne being our Bradley Manning – probably to an extent, yes, as like that truly brave American soldier he risked everything and still got caught, albeit, in the service of a greater cause – freedom of information.

That might be taking it a bit far but Dunne could certainly exit his parliamentary career with higher honours than ex Minister of Revenue.

It would be ironic if Dunne exited parliament as a champion of the left.

And there seems little stigma in being a labelled leaker. Espiner says “almost everyone does it”, and details:

  • Peters is the king of leaks
  • Former Labour prime minister Helen Clark leaked like a sieve
  • There are very senior people sitting around Key’s Cabinet table who have leaked information to me in the past.

As usual there is much hypocrisy surrounding Winston Peters, in this case “the king of leaks” pursuing a leaker.

But the biggest  surprise seems to be that Dunne went so long without leaking. No wonder media didn’t pay him much attention.

The media rewards leaking by giving politicians the publicity they crave. Except Dunne, who doesn’t seem to have benefited in that way. And except when media discard them and throw them to the wolves – see Fairfax leaked or Peters is lying.

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