Friday August 9, 2019
As British ambassador to the US Kim Darroch tended his wounds of humiliation last month, following the leak of a cache of diplomatic cables and documents, including emails describing President Trump as ‘inept’ and ‘uniquely dysfunctional,’ an outraged UK government descended into panic over how to handle such an apparently sensitive and damaging betrayal of confidential information. A police investigation was launched to find the leaker.
Is this dubious leak now being used to mount an attack on whistleblowers – with the help of Boris Johnson’s new Home Secretary, Priti Patel?
A leak useful for mobilising outrage
The leak, which led to Trump’s refusal to work with Darroch, and consequently Darroch’s resignation, is a useful type of leak for a government set on tightening the Official Secrets Act(OSA). After all, it has not exposed evidence of any government crime, so cannot really be applauded as a courageous stand against abuse of power as in the case for example of the leaks released by Chelsea Manning and published by Wikileaks, exposing US war crimes.