Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Leaker identified

The State Services Commission has announced that Leaker that gave classified budget documents is one Mark Ryan, a messenger at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Lest this be interpreted as evidence that Helen Clark authorised the leak, I should point out that this department is separate from the Prime Minister's Office and is a parallel agency to the State Services Commission and the Treasury. More soon once the report is digested.

UPDATE: I just find myself puzzled at what supposed to have happened. Michael Ryan is supposed to have worked for the government for many years. Furthermore in a previous government job, he had been "privy to Cabinet papers" which he never "took advantage of" [both quotes come from paragraph 39]. These points, among others, had persuaded his employers that he was the best person for the position [paragraph 40].

Yet somehow with this trustworthy background, he decides out of the blue to mention the unbundling decision to a long time friend who had worked at Telecom and later decides to show him a copy of the briefing paper? Not only that, he allows the friend to keep the paper for a while on the condition that the paper not be copied? And during this background of friendship, he had never ever given Cabinet papers of any sort to his friend? I find the suggestion that he was naive or acted in a moment of foolishness to be almost unbelievable. Even the stupidest criminals aren't much dumber than this and that takes some doing.

One suggestion of what might have happened is contained in the report:
During the course of the recruitment process it was noted that Mr Ryan had close associations with senior government officials and representatives, and this was seen at the time as providing some additional comfort in relation to his appreciation of the importance of confidentiality.

Paragraph 40
These relationships would have arisen in the course of his previous position where he had access to Cabinet papers. I'm not so much interested in the identities of the senior government officials but rather the "representatives" by which the report writer might possibly have meant "members of parliament". Which representatives did he have close associations with?

MORE: In an attempt to find further associates of Mike Ryan, I found these two pages which list the participants in the Lake Taupo cycle challenge (the SSC report states in Paragraph 23.2 that the two shared a common interest in cycling), among them Mike Ryan and Peter Garty. However none of the other names ring a bell. They also have an interest in rugby but that search was less fruitful.