Canberrans are used to buying ‘ex-govvie’, from houses (not much on the market now) to pre-used chairs, desks, PCs, whiteboards and filing cabinets.
But the filing cabinet that made news was the one that had seemingly made its way from a senior ministerial or bureaucrat’s office to a Canberra ex-govvie disposal yard, still stuffed full of top secret –AUSTEO- Australian Eyes Only- contents uncleared.
The buyer of the filing cabinet (“needed one of those,”) got his or her acronyms mixed up.
Instead of handing the cabinet and its contents straight over to the AFP, off they went to the ABC where hands were collectively rubbed together at the treasure trove revealed.
ABC producers joyfully started the ‘Cabinet Diaries’, before it was realised, rather too late, that this was a matter of national security involving not just Australia but the ‘Five Eyes’ the US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand’s security services.
The ABC appears to have made copious copies of various files, all the time piously assuring us that nothing pertaining to national security would be revealed. And Julian Assange had no idea WikiLeaks would cause the storm it did. Copies appear to have been despatched to ABC offices in Brisbane and Melbourne, where presumably they were pored over by a host of ABC staff until they were collected by ASIO agents last night.
The ABC, throughout, maintained with collective straight faces, that it was ‘protecting its source’ graciously allowing the documents to be regained by ASIO, and reporting their collection was made at night. Suspicious, that, Friends of the ABC would immediately note.
There’s not one but a whole jostling herd on elephants in this room or broadcasting studio.
The staffer or public servant who neglected to carry out the proper protocols under which surplus-to-requirement furniture in parliamentarians offices is sold on. His or who boss was presumably too busy to realise that vital files pertaining to national security and our allies had gone walkabout without her knowledge.
Parliament House staff responsible for the handover of said surplus furniture who did not check to see if all contents was properly emptied before collection.
The ABC senior management who blithely gave permission for the distribution and airing of the files with a ‘we only put to air the contents of files that didn’t seem to breach security concerns’ attitude.
How many people at the ABC read and copied and forwarded on those files. The ABC doesn’t have answers and no one has asked the questions. The Canberran who saw fit to take his find to the ABC – Friend of the ABC or perfect schmuck?
Across the Pacific we might, if we were so privileged, hear a conversation like this.
“Say, what the hell is going on with that Trumble guy and those security files? Put those Marines on high alert till we work out what’s happening. And send them an ambassador. Someone who speaks Australian.”
Illustration: Warner Brothers Television.
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