Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Why Won't They Hold a Leak Inquiry?

I suspect it's because they know what the outcome would be, and at least one person in the Home Office would be joining the dole queue. The leaking of national security information could not be more serious, and yet the PM seems remarkably unconcerned. This is remarkable when he has held more than sixty leak inquiries over the last few years. CCHQ has been very helpful in providing this background research.

Over the past ten years, whenever Tony Blair has been faced with embarrassing or serious leaks, he has called in the Cabinet Secretary, senior civil servants, private detective agencies, special branch, Mi5 and GCHQ to investigate leaks.

60 Leak Inquiries in First 3 Years. In the first three years of the Labour Government, 60 leak investigations were ordered by Whitehall departments. There were nine leak inquiries alone in the Home Office in the first three years under Jack Straw (The Guardian, 14 February 2000). These included inquiries into: a leak to the Guardian of a memo from Jack Straw watering down provisions in the Freedom of Information Bill; a leak to the Telegraph of the outcome of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry; and even a leak from the Cabinet Office into David Clark's first-class air trip to Australia and New Zealand as part of fact finding tour into freedom of information legislation.

Government ‘out of touch’. In July 2000, Blair called in GCHQ officials to help with a leak inquiry after a series of memos – including one from Blair saying voters perceived the Government as ‘somehow out of touch with gut British instincts’ - were leaked (Sunday Mirror, 23 July 2000)

Britain must join Euro. In July 2000, Blair ordered a full leak inquiry after a memo was leaked saying Britain would face ‘meltdown’ if it didn’t join the Euro (Downing Street AM Lobby Briefing, 4 July 2000).

£850,000 makeover for Downing Street. In July 2002, Tony Blair ordered a leak inquiry after a £850,000 makeover refurbishment for Downing Street – including new study for Cherie; luxury wallpaper; and glass-fronted period bookshelves – were leaked (Sunday Times, 7 July 2002)

Cabinet Splits Over ID Cards. In August 2004, Tony Blair called in a private detective agency to assist in investigating 26 leaks to the Sunday Times in 15 months, which included leaks on: Cabinet splits over ID cards with Jack Straw describing plans as ‘flawed’; Cabinet disagreements over liberalising licensing laws after figures showed alcohol-related violence was soaring; Blair’s concerns that public sector efficiency is worsening; awarding honours to celebrities to ‘add interest’; and concerns over America’s strategy for post-war Iraq (Sunday Times, 8 August 2004).

Other Cabinet Ministers Leak Inquries. Blunkett - Abolishing Trial by Jury. In July 2002, David Blunkett ordered a ‘full scale leak inquiry’ after plans to abolish trial by jury were leaked ahead of the White Paper’s publication (Birmingham Post, 15 July 2002).

Byers – ‘Burying Bad News’. Stephen Byers had two leak inquiries surrounding Jo Moore after she said September 11 was a ‘very good day’ to ‘bury’ bad news. The initial email was leaked, and he had a second leak inquiry after a further email surrounding Princess Margaret’s funeral as
another day to ‘bury’ bad statistics was leaked a year later (Evening Standard, 14 February 2002).

Gordon Brown – Objecting to Turner’s proposals. In November 2005, Gordon Brown ordered a leak inquiry into how his letter objecting to Lord Turner’s pension proposals was leaked (Sunday Telegraph, 27 November 2005). Most recently, Gordon Brown reportedly ordered a ‘high-level leak inquiry’ after Conservatives announced plans for a 3p cut in corporation tax ahead of the Budget (Daily Telegraph, 23 March 2007).


Pretty devastating stuff. So why no leak inquiry now Tony, eh? Something to hide?

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

About bloody time !! Something important and significant, instead of scaring off the punters [advertisers] with pictures of rats...

Anonymous said...

Hold a leak enquiry into *what* *exactly*?

Anonymous said...

Hmm..Remind me who ran this story ?

Surely they could answer the question "Was this leaked by a Special Adviser OR a civil servant OR Member of the Government", with a 'Yes or No' answer, without compromising their sources ?

That would pressure Blair into finding out who it was by telling them.."And no is leaving school today until somebody owns up.." stylee..- Or is he 'frit' ??

Clive B said...

Am I remembering wrong, or didn't just about every newspaper get the same story within the space of a couple of hours? This means that every newspaper editor and probably half their staff knows who leaked it. Well maybe they'll all hold hands and refuse to divulge their sources, but you'd have thought someone in the Tory press would find a way of moving this along a bit if it really was HMG.... maybe you or Guido will get the nod.

Or alternatively, if they really can't face volunteering their source, how about using the David Kelly approach.... suggest a name beginning with A, B, C ...

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Government has nothing to hide.

Pope is a devout protestant.

Bears fastidious in use of indoor lavatories.

(with apologies to Private Eye)

Anonymous said...

This is a very big story (almost as big as the bins) which is why presumably at 10.04 it is not the main story on the BBC 1 and BBC TV news.

IanP said...

Think we need to petition for another leak enquiry as well.

Dizzy has uncovered a story about the NHS exposing to the internet details of every doctor who has applied for their jobs.

This one will hit the big time, with enough information exposed to allow lots of fake doctors to begin running about now..

Anonymous said...

The story has just got less than a minute at approx. 1014 on BBC 1 News. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Good to see that this is the lead story on the Ten O'Clock News..

Anonymous said...

"This is a very big story (almost as big as the bins) which is why presumably at 10.04 it is not the main story on the BBC 1 and BBC TV news." Fucking Hell !!

Will you stop this bloody obsession with trivial nonsense like the bins!!

You're worse than a load of bloody women !! Grow up - the binman's coming once a fortnight. The world is not going to stop spinning on its axis - Get o-v-e-r IT !!!!!

IanP said...

No, we wont get over it.

We want the world back the way it should be, with local councils, local government and central government doing what they are supposed to do.

DELIVER services in the most efficient manner possible. With a bloody smile on their faces.

I am sick of being told what to do, when to do it and how to do it. I stopped wearing short trousers a long time ago.

It will change, or the government will. Or both.

Ralph said...

If they don't hold an inquiry this story will (and is already) vanishing from the news

I'm not a lawyer (thank God) but couldn't somebody report this to the police as hindering an investigation?

Maggie Thatcher Fan said...

There has to be a way of forcing Govts of what ever colour to hold enquiries when it is clear something is not right. Blair got away with it by saying "as far as I am aware". To me this means, its ok as long as you don't tell me about it. It SUCKS!

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

anonymous [10.25 PM] You tell us bins don't matter and we should "get over it."

All over England, people who disagree with you are practising the letter X in readiness for May 3rd.

Observer said...

So John Reid briefs the press to show what a Big Daddy he is....the whole of this terrorism business is a political thing for Blair.

The Police may think they are dealing with terrorists but for Blairworld it is simply another chance to posture abd be centre of attention. The last decade has been all about Tony...and his loyal viewers watched every episode

Chris Paul said...

It's Tory Westminster Council that need a leak enquiry then they need to send the invoice for the disruption caused to any prospective Tory PPCs who caused them embarrassment and costs.

Chris Paul said...

Er, Dizzy has just uncovered blah blah ... Channel 4 News has just run a story about more like.

On the bins, let's hope the Xs are all going against the Tories where as in Tonbridge Wells they have adopted rat encouraging technologies ... as if.

The moon is made of green cheese, and the rat story is made of green ink by opportunists.

This leak story is rubbish. Though the other one about Cameroonies adopting Mahatma Ghandi health tips is better as leak stories go.

john bull, esq. said...

Sir,
It is my understanding that whoever released this information has acted in such a way as to impede the constabulary's investigation and arrest of a terrorist gang. This gang aimed to commit an act of war and thereby treason, through their intention to capture and kill a member of Her Majesty's armed forces within our country. Treason, Sir, involves 'levying war against the Sovereign in the United Kingdom'.

The intentions of the person or person(s) who released the information should be investigated. Treason is a most serious offence and anyone who is shown to have impeded the police during such investigations should be arrested forthwith. The charges faced should reflect the nature of the investigations that were undermined. I am sure the various Treason Acts include such contingencies.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Maybe we should make an application, under the FoI Act, for a copy of the Downing Street News management grid for the day the information was leaked.

Blair has lost none of his cunning. The get-out phrase, "[none of our people were involved] so far as I am aware" must have been very carefully prepared. But it was slipped into his answer at PMQs as if it was completely spontaneous. He believes, like Groucho Marx, that "if you can fake sincerity you can get away with anything."

Yak40 said...

Leaks that damage their own country ?
It's what lefties do best, after all, they know what's good for the rest of us hopelessly unenlightened proles.

verity said...

Maybe because people leaking are selling their urine and will get into trouble with Dave?