Now take this set of correspondence between Shadow Attorney General Dominic Grieve and the Home Secretary Dr John Reid. Note the dates. It took Reid six weeks to reply and he only did that four weeks after a PQ was put down. Let's start with Grieve's letter... (click on the images to enlarge and to read them)
As Tony Blair rejected calls for an inquiry, and Liberal Democrats called upon
the police to investigate, it emerged that journalists received up to three
separate briefings about an allegation that a group of men was planning to
abduct and behead a Muslim British soldier... The Guardian has been told that an
aide to John Reid, the home secretary, was responsible for one of those leaks,
and has also learnt that there is strong suspicion among the highest-ranking
police at Scotland Yard that one of their own officers also briefed the media...
Since the arrests that Guardian has learned that:
· Journalists on at least one tabloid paper were tipped off the night before the raids, with the result that some travelled there before anyone had been arrested.
· The following morning, while one suspect remained at large, a small number of journalists were receiving briefings on lurid details of the alleged plot.
· A senior Whitehall official told reporters from two tabloids that a number of Muslim soldiers had agreed to act as bait in an attempt to trap the plotters.
The Guardian has been told by a well-placed source that this information - which later proved to be inaccurate - came from one of Mr Reid's officials.
On 26 February, frustrated by a lack of a reply, Dominic Grieve put down a PQ asking when the Home Secretary intended to reply. He answered a month later, saying he had replied on 19 March.
And this is the text of Reid's letter. Pay particular attention to the final paragraph.
This letter is in total conflict with what the Guardian are alleging on their front page today. It is also a much harder line than the approach dopted by the PM at PMQs yesterday. What do we make of that?
Now the thing is, the Guardian knows the identity of the Ministerial aide, the Opposition do and so do all the newspapers who were briefed by him. Surely it can only be a matter of time before a brave newspaper editor takes the bait being laid by the Conservatives and names him.