Sunday, November 28, 2004

The spy scandal that won't die...

The spy scandal unleashed by the Sunday Star Times has continued to rumble on. The developments over the past week are:
1. NZ Herald has managed to unmask one of the three informants for Operation Leaf. Given what is known of him, the government could dismiss him as a loon except that he stood as a Labour Candidate in 1990. He is not an SIS agent which makes it likely that none of the other sources are actually agents. I thought I saw some remarkable statement that an Australian Journalist had warned the Herald against publishing his background but that seems to have disappeared down the memory hole.

2. The Inspector General of the SIS, Paul Neazor, has launched an inquiry following a complaint by Tariana Turia about the bugging claims. This actually is a seperate issue involving the reported discovery that Tariana's telephone has been interfered with and is not part of the allegations that have been made by the Sunday Star Times informants. Given that the bugging was said not to be of SIS calibre and that the sweep for bugs was carried out after conversations between Turia and her cleaner were reported in the paper, there is a slight possibility that the Labour Party could have a black bag ops team.

3. Most unusual is the statement that there is no "Operation Leaf" within the SIS. The source is probably the SIS briefing on deep background. Who then were the informants working for?

4. The Sunday Star Times has again devoted large amounts of column space to the SIS imbroglio but they don't say anything much.