Was this a coincidence? Of course not. He was tipped off by the Minister’s office following an inquiry by the the Herald's ever diligent David Fisher just an hour or so before Farrar posted. Tolley’s press secretary is a man named Gillon Carruthers. Leaked emails used in Dirty Politics show that Carruthers has been providing material to Farrar’s offside Cameron Slater since 2011. Old habits obviously die hard.
Not that Carruthers will admit it, of course, and if he does he will undoubtedly say that he was just apologising to Farrar for sending him false information in the first place. That’s obviously a sop, though, why only apologise to Farrar? Why not to the public for misleading them when launching important policy before the election? Furthermore, any apology to Farrar would only prove he previously leaked him the original information so that he could attack me.
When I wrote in my blog that I used somebody else to send in the Official Information request because I was concerned the fact I was doing so would be leaked to Farrar or others (to whatever end), I thought I might be seen as paranoid. To be honest, I thought I might have been too. Unfortunately it appears not.
It is already quite clear that numerous people have been attacked by Slater, Farrar, often at the behest of government ministers or those working for them. This is not a small matter, it is about how we want our democracy to operate.
After the revelations of Dirty Politics, it might have been assumed these practices were halted. It seems that they haven’t been. Cameron Slater said to me last week on Twitter ‘wait until you see Dirtier Politics’. The worst, it would seem, is yet to come.
Can somebody, anybody, in the media please ask the Minister of Police and Corrections, or even better the Prime Minister, if they continue to think that this is acceptable practice? Are they happy establishing two tiers of information flow: a secret and efficient one for propaganda and a slow and risky one for the truth?
Please ask them if academics and journalists should have to hide our identities when asking for government information so that it’s not leaked to people like Slater and Farrar?
These seem to be reasonable questions, the answers to which have grave ramifications. I implore the Forth Estate to ask them.