Thursday, June 19, 2008

The "right to privacy" of PMO staffers being asserted in the NAFTA leak

Recall this piece of Travers' reporting on May 27 uncovering that officials in the PMO were responsible for the leak of the Canadian diplomatic memo to the Associated Press which caused damage to the Obama campaign at the height of the Democratic primary season in Ohio. Recall these elements of Travers' report:
Multiple sources say the Canadian note questioning the Democrat frontrunner's public promise to reopen NAFTA was leaked from the Prime Minister's Office to a Republican contact before it made American headline news.
"This was a very deliberate piece of business for political purpose," one of the sources said. "It puts political ideology ahead of what's good for the country."
Travers further reported on how the diplomatic memo got to the PMO, which was not on the distribution list:
An analyst in Lynch's office gave the memo to a PMO official on Feb. 27 who then shared it with a colleague. A day later it was passed to Brodie. There is no evidence Brodie forwarded the memo himself, but by noon March 2 AP was in touch with the embassy seeking clarification.
The comical absurdity of the Lynch report followed that blamed Foreign Affairs for too wide a distribution list yet turned a blind eye to the analyst in his own office and the distribution going on at his front door.

Today, at a commons committee, Brodie confirmed the latter point on the distribution of the memo. But the Globe reports he had this to say about the involvement of PMO officials:
Mr. Brodie said Thursday that he received a copy of that report two days after the budget lock-up – and one day after it was in the hands of two officials in the Prime Minister's Office.

Those individuals were not named in Mr. Lynch's report and Mr. Brodie told the committee that he could not reveal their identities because they had not waived their right to privacy.

“When it became clear that the report from Chicago had been leaked to Associated Press in Washington, I did speak to a number of people in the office about how the report arrived in our office,” he said. But Mr. Lynch's probe was launched shortly thereafter and he said he let the investigators take over. (emphasis added)
This reporting makes it sound as if Brodie knew the identity of the 2 officials in the PMO who had the diplomatic memo. And that he is purposely not telling the Committee those names. If you review the Lynch report, in the timeline, it's clear that Brodie does know the identity of PMO Official "2" as that individual provided Brodie with a copy of the diplomatic memo. In which case, why is this information not being disclosed? Kady O'Malley blogged that Brodie said this at the Committee:
11:29:54 AM
A good question: Who, Bains wonders, are the mysterious PMO Officials One and Two, as referenced in the report? Brodie doesn’t know - and wouldn’t that have been a better question for Lynch?
But Brodie does know Official Two. The Lynch report says Official Two gave him the diplomatic memo.

I didn't see the context in which this "right to privacy" of PMO officials was asserted on behalf of these individuals but it seems patently outrageous for the committee to have let this go. If Mr. Brodie knows who the individuals are, he has a duty to disclose that information.

There are two unnamed PMO officials who had the report. Travers has multiple sources indicating the leak of the diplomatic memo came from the PMO. Why are these people being protected?