As I ‘confessed’ in my reaction to Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics, I fell for the deceptive spin on the extraordinarily rapid ‘service’ National Party attack blogger Cameron Slater was given on his 2011 OIA request for SIS briefing notes.
The Prime Minister’s office’s role in this ‘hit’ on then Labour leader Phil Goff is revealed in Dirty Politics … and is now the subject of an investigation by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.
I apologised via this blog post to Martyn Bradbury (and, actually in person to a somewhat startled-looking Bradbury at Nicky Hager’s public meeting a few days later on 27 August) for rubbishing his conspiracy theory about the politicisation of the SIS:
As it turns out, it now looks like that was a Prime Minister’s office black-op ‘hit’ on Goff, using Cameron Slater.
So I fumbled that, and didn’t get close enough to the heart of what was [allegedly] really going on. Also, I scorned the often febrile blogger Martyn Bradbury for his ‘hallucinations’ and ‘vitriol’ about the SIS-OIA matter. I owe Martyn Bradbury an apology for that. This is it: Sorry Martyn. It looks like you were right about this and I got it wrong.
Honestly, it seemed too far fetched to me at the time. How naive of me.
So … how could I be so dumb?
Thinking about it, that was back in the days when I would meet Cameron Slater now and then for a coffee and a catch-up. Unlike some, I’m not embarrassed or ashamed of that contact, nor worried in the slightest if my e-mails or messages back & forth with him are ever published. I’m serious.
I didn’t go ‘undercover’ or pretend to be a different person holding different views. I was/am open about where and when I disagree with people, even friends. Sometimes that leads to tension, even broken relationships, but I figure it’s better to be honest.
As I explained to Cameron Slater’s wife when she (irrationally) tried to give me a hard time in the whale oil blog comments after one of those meetings in October 2011:
I perfectly understand why you might be offended by some of my public criticisms of Cam’s activism, his campaigns and vendettas. Sorry, he’s a big boy, and he plays the blogging game pretty hard and personal himself.
I hope I don’t get him in trouble, but our meeting yesterday was the third or fourth we’ve had since August when he approached me “for a catch up sometime for a bit of advice”. See:
Cam is one of the best networkers I know. He’s also, as I said somewhere obscure, someone who *engages* — which is the way forward, IMO. We have some history he and I, a mutual ‘enemy’ … and I like to think, we share a mutual respect.
You allege, among other things, that I am being somehow dishonest or two-faced with him. That’s not the case. I am profoundly critical of some of Cam’s actions, statements, targets and tactics — and I am completely open with him about that. It doesn’t mean we don’t get on. It doesn’t mean we can’t learn from each other.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about what led me to buy the spin that ‘a sharply focussed OIA request for documents already on the SIS director’s desk’
explained the amazingly fast response
Cameron Slater got to his OIA request, while others (real journalists like NewsTalkZB’s Felix Marwick who is still chasing the story
) were brushed off.
Because, I not only bought it — I’m not trying to wriggle out of that — I folded it into my ‘SIS director Warren Tucker is mighty pissed off with Phil Goff’ theory … recounted in this post on 7 August 2011: SIS boss’s slow resignation letter + Slater says enuf!
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