Goff apologises, media warned over leak

Phil Goff has given a “full and unreserved” apology for leaking details of the Gwyn report. And the media has also been warned, presumably for their complicity.

Goff apologises for leak

Labour MP Phil Goff will not face any sanctions for leaking the details of a report by the spy watchdog a day before it was publicly released.

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn said this morning she had accepted Mr Goff’s “full and unreserved” apology.

“The Inspector-General will not take the matter any further,” she said in a statement.

Mr Goff breached a confidentiality order last month by disclosing details about her report on the Security Intelligence Service’s release of information to blogger Cameron Slater.

Ms Gwyn said no classified information was disclosed, but Mr Goff’s leak led to premature media reporting on the content of the report, “to the detriment of other witnesses to the inquiry, particularly those adversely affected by the report”.

This looks like a warning slap over Goff’s knuckles and a warning that tolerance of political leaking has changed substantially. Goff has a record of leaking with impunity over the years.If he does it again it would deserve severe sanctions.

The Inspector-General would be taking steps to ensure greater clarity around release protocols for future reports, and had also written to media organisations to remind them of their obligations under the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act.

“The Inspector-General has significant powers to inquire into sensitive matters, and make adverse findings which may have a material impact on individuals.

“The obligations around confidentiality are necessary to ensure natural justice and fairness. It is important these obligations are respected.”

And that looks like a strong warning to the press, who have been complicit in leaks probably since Gutenberg’s day.

The media have a responsibility to be fair in their reporting. They knowingly reported cherry picked aspects of a report they would have known was still confidential, in effect enabling Goff’s illegal misuse of the report.

The Inspector-General seems intent on enforcing compliance and has effectively warned Goff (and all MPs) plus the media.

If reports are leaked illegally in the future strong action will need to be taken against offenders or we will revert to impunity as usual.

It’s worth remembering Goff’s initial reaction to his leaking of the report:

“I gave an outline of some relevant points that I said cleared my integrity,” he told Radio New Zealand.

“What I did was perfectly appropriate. If the journalists decided to run information given to them in confidence, then you should raise it with your colleagues.”

Without apology he openly admitted leaking and tried to blame it all on the media.

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2 Comments

  1. davestonyer

     /  17th December 2014

    Sounds like goff is angling for the “tendentious windbag” title

    Reply
  1. Goff, leaks, lies and sincerity | Your NZ

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