Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Soon-To-Be-Common Case of Damian Green

Mr. Green, an English MP, was arrested and had his parliamentary offices searched. What, another Freezer Jefferson?

Not exactly. Freezer is accused of hiding evidence of bribery and corruption by storing bundles of cash in his freezer, and using his office to line his own pockets.

Mr. Green, on the other hand, is accused of leaking sensitive documents to the press. So much for dissent being the highest form of patriotism.

Not exactly a common occurrence.

And what, exactly, did he leak?

Plans for nuclear submarines? Persian Gulf Fleet deployments? Sensitive information about the government’s anti-terrorism programs? Classified information on international espionage activities?

No, he leaked some embarrassing details about the government’s bungling of various issues related to illegal immigration. From the BBC:

“There have been a number of high profile leaks of information from the Home Office, stretching back to last year, including:

• A leaked e-mail from Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's private secretary in July 2007 showed she had chosen not to publicise the fact that licences had been granted to security guards who were illegal immigrants. She denied there had been a ‘blunder’ but later admitted that as many as 11,000 illegal immigrants may have been cleared to work as security staff.

• A memo to Home Office minister Liam Byrne was leaked to reveal in February this year that an illegal immigrant had been employed as a cleaner in the House of Commons.

• A draft Home Office letter to Downing Street was then leaked in August, in which Jacqui Smith warned that a recession could lead to a rise in crime. The Home Office said the document was draft advice which had not been cleared by the home secretary.”

Obviously, critical national security, eyes-only stuff, most likely just a bit of incompetent, corrupt, and over-reaching abuse of power on the part of some petty Labor Party official. Whether this goes all the way up to the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith or Prime Minister Gordon Brown is unknown.

It’s nice to know that Britain takes matters like embarrassing the Home Secretary seriously enough to have opposition politicians arrested. There’s nothing like having your opponents arrested to further democracy and open debate, I mean to say, what?

Update: Blamestorming begins, since it turns out that the police didn’t even have a warrant. House Speaker Michael Martin turns to blaming Sergeant at Arms Jill Pay. More recriminations to follow.