Hager’s spin

Nicky Hager claims the Police said the following:

“The Police had to address issues of ‘theft’ and ‘stealing’ because that is what Don Brash alleged. But in today’s finding the Police are saying they have no idea how the leaks occurred and that they have found no evidence of any crime being committed.”

 “This was always going to be the outcome because the information came from legitimate leaks. I believe the National Party used the allegations of theft, and thereby wasted Police resources, to try to distract attention away from the serious revelations in the book.”

Nicky would have you think hey the Police said no crime here, move along. But let us look at what they did say:

Police have closed their investigation into the theft of e-mails from former National Party leader Dr Don Brash and have announced that they have been unsuccessful in identifying those responsible for the thefts.

Hmmn, they called them thefts. Not leaks.

Detective Inspector Harry Quinn, the Officer in Charge of the investigation and Wellington Police District Crime Services Manager, said today that police had been unable to establish with certainty how the e-mails had actually been stolen.

And here they say the e-mails were stolen – they just don’t know how.

“How the thefts occurred still largely remains a mystery,” said Detective Inspector Quinn. “We have eliminated the suggestion that an external ‘computer hacker’ had breached the computer security within Parliament but there remains many other potential ways in which the crimes could have occurred.”

Again they repeat this was a theft, and all they rule out is an “external” hacker. This does not rule out numerous other scenarios such as a IT staffer with system access, an insecure password, or even someone taking advantage of a computer left logged in.

“There are strong indications that the e-mails were in printed form at the time of the theft, but with the thefts perhaps happening at any time over the two- year period it is very likely that they were stolen during several incidents,” Detective Inspector Quinn said.

I have no idea if the thefts were done of print outs, of electronic files or a mixture of both. But I would point out that someone sneaking into someone’s office, rummaging through their filing cabinet, and then taking papers from that filing cabinet is not a leak, but as the Police say – theft.

A leak is when you release information you legitimately have access to. Take for example the draft Green Party List that was leaked to me. A Green Party member who legitimately had a copy of the list, leaked it. Now that is massively different to a scenario where say only two people had a copy of the Green Party List and it was stored in Jeanette Fitzsimons’ office, and someone entered that office without authorisation, rummaged through her laptop or office files, and then stole a copy of the list, to give it to me.

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