Tuesday, November 25, 2014

An abuse of power

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has released her report into the release of information to Cameron Slater by the SIS. Its a lot to digest, but it looks like the core allegation of Dirty Politics - that the Prime Minister's office colluded in releasing SIS information to their pet sewerblogger - has been upheld. But while the report highlights unprofessional and partisan conduct by then-SIS Director Warren Tucker, and dirty politics by the PM's staffers Phil de Joux and Jason Ede, Key is treating it as exonerating him. At this stage, its worth remembdering that Key's conduct was not part of the terms of reference, so of course the report draws no conclusions about him. But there's both a credibility question - do we really think Key was unaware of the smear machine in his office - and a responsibility one. This was his office. These were his staff. They were acting in his name. He's responsible for this.

As for what that should mean, the use of spies against domestic political opponents is well beyond democratic norms. It is Nixon territory. And there is only one appropriate response to this abuse of power: the Prime Minister should resign.