It is clear that when most journalists publish leaked state material, they are doing so to make the nation aware of issues that are going on behind closed doors, that will have an impact on many of us. In theses cases the journalists deserve some level of protection even if they are publishing documents that are secrective. However when Isabel Oakeshott released correspondence from Kim Darroch who until yesterday was our US Ambassador, that outlined his views towards the US President going back to 2017 it is much harder to understand how this was of public interest and what this would do apart from earn her some money, give her more opportunities to appear on TV and play politics with either the Tory candidates for the leadership role or the leading people within the Brexit Party that want my MEP to get appointed as the next US Ambassador. Indeed arguably both groups have a great deal to gain from the piece in the Mail on Sunday and subsequent media interest. Of course for the majority of people in the nation, that our Ambassador shares our views is hardly news. However for the small number of right wing supporters of Trump, this will have reinforced their views that our Government does not agree with them. There are however several reasons why this publication and the steps behind it that Oakeshott is aware of, should be considered as a problem by us and our Government.
The first of these is that by publishing this confidential information in public, a wide range of people overseas and potentially in this country will be considering if they can afford to release important information to this nations Government.
The second is that many people who work for the Government will be choosing to be a great deal more careful before they allow the Government to know information that could later on get leaked and cause the employee embarrassment and even force them to resign.
There is another rather detailed aspect which is that the confidential reports released to the Government by Ambassadors are supposed to be destroyed after 3 months. Given that 2017 is 24 plus months ago, there are some questions regarding the Governments policies.
Finally there is the concern that of three Prime Ministers or candidates, there have been three responses. One is to refuse to state if Johnson would support his Ambassador, another is to state that he would (Hunt) and a third is that Theresa disagrees with the Ambassador but she will support him.
A last issue is that as David Campbell Bannerman, a Tory MEP stated on twitter a year ago “It is about time we brought the Treason Act up to date and made it apply to those seeking to destroy or undermine the British state. That means extreme jihadis. It also means those in future actively working undemocratically against UK through extreme EU loyalty.”
Presumably David and his colleagues would now apply this to Isabel Oakeshott? or perhaps because he supports her political views, he will treat her as untouchable by such an approach.