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BTC: The Lynch Report is out


 

Reading it now. Here’s something.

“With respect to Mr. Brodie, the investigation has found no evidence, and no witness has come forward, to confirm or refute what Mr. Brodie claims was said between himself and the CTV News reporter from Ottawa at the Budget 2008 lock-up. However, based on the sequence of events, it appears probable that Mr. Brodie spoke to the reporter on the subject of NAFTA. Moreover, based on the knowledge the investigative team understands Mr. Brodie had at the time, it is possible that he shared information (which turned out to be incorrect) that Canadian officials in Washington had spoken to Senator Clinton’s campaign regarding NAFTA.”

Update I. Here’s what appears to be the most relevant part for Brodie and Michael Wilson.

“5.1 Alleged verbal disclosure by Mr. Brodie

“On February 26, 2008, Mr. Brodie spoke to an Ottawa-based CTV News reporter during the Budget 2008 media lock-up on the understanding that his comments were for background purposes only, and not for attribution.

“No evidence has been found and no witness has come forward to confirm or refute what was said between the two. However, based on the findings of this investigation, it appears probable that Mr. Brodie spoke to the reporter on the subject of NAFTA, and that he may have told him there had been contact between Senator Clinton’s campaign and the Embassy in Washington. There is no evidence that Mr. Brodie disclosed any information related to Senator Obama or his campaign.

“Any comments Mr. Brodie may have made during the lock-up did not reveal any information tied to the diplomatic report, of which he was made aware only on February 28. There is no evidence that Mr. Brodie disclosed any classified information.

“5.2 Alleged verbal disclosure by Ambassador Wilson

“Ambassador Wilson spoke to a Washington-based CTV News reporter on the telephone on two occasions (February 27 and 28, 2008, respectively), on the understanding that his comments were not for attribution.

“Ambassador Wilson acknowledges telling the reporter that the Canadian government had had contact with all the U.S. presidential campaigns, including Senator Obama’s, but the Ambassador is certain he did not speak to the reporter about Chicago or the meeting there between Senator Obama’s advisor and the Canadian Consul General. A PCO official was in attendance for the second telephone call and overheard the Ambassador’s side of the conversation. The official’s recollection of the telephone call is consistent with the Ambassador’s. No evidence has been found and no witness has come forward to refute what was said between the Ambassador and the reporter.

“Based on the findings of this investigation, there is no evidence that Ambassador Wilson revealed any information tied to the diplomatic report or to any U.S. presidential candidate’s position with respect to NAFTA, though his comments likely helped lead the reporter to the Senator Obama campaign. There is no evidence that Ambassador Wilson disclosed any classified information.”

Update II. So who’s fault is it?

“5.3 Unauthorized disclosure of the diplomatic report

“The Associated Press had a leaked copy of the diplomatic report on March 2. However, there are indications that the report, or at least information about the meeting between Senator Obama’s advisor and the Canadian Consul General, was known to the media prior to this date, possibly as early as February 28.

“The investigation has been unable to determine who leaked the report, to whom it was leaked or whether there was only one leak.

“The original diplomatic report was incorrectly classified and had an inappropriately broad distribution list.”

Update III. There are various recommendations, two related to Foreign Affairs, one covering the handling of documents by all government departments and then this.

“Any future undertakings signed by media representatives for admission to budget lock-ups should clearly indicate that comments made by any Government of Canada officials and/or ministerial staff during such lock-ups will be made on a background- not-for-attribution-basis only, and are to be considered and treated accordingly.

“The purpose of a budget lock-up, conducted under strict rules of confidentiality, is to allow journalists to understand budget material prior to its release, and give them time to prepare their stories. During the lock-up, federal officials and ministerial staff are present to provide substantive explanations on complex budget information. Officials act on the understanding that they are providing background information to the media and that their comments will not be attributed to them; these lock-up rules have generally been understood and respected by both media representatives and government officials. However, to ensure even greater clarity of these lock-up rules for everyone involved, it is recommended that any future undertakings signed by media representatives clearly indicate that comments made by any Government of Canada officials and/or ministerial staff during such lock-ups will be made on a background- not-for-attribution-basis only, and are to be considered and treated accordingly.”

Update IV. For what it’s worth, the Privy Council Office attempted to speak with the CTV reporters alleged involved, but the network declined on their behalf. I leave it to far more ethically minded journalistic types to weigh that decision.


 

BTC: The Lynch Report is out

  1. So we now have ‘ another ‘ so called scandal looked into and it turns out to be a non-issue which to be honest does not surprise me in the least. If any story starts with ‘ allegedly ‘ so and so said this and then another so and so said that etc… is never a scandal. Most average Canadians seem to agree with me according to the most recent Nanos poll – so what should the Liberals do with this information? Maybe now and I do mean maybe they will start to look at offering something to Canadians in the way of a policy alternative and I do mean a real plan not this there might be a plan where we might do something.

  2. Is that the Nanos poll that shows the Liberals ahead of the Conservatives by two (statistically tie-ful) points? I’m not sure what that has to do with the Im-Brodie-glio, but it’s been a long day, and I’m getting all Friday-brained.

  3. Kady – if you dig through the research and listen to ol Nick the conclusion is that the average joe just aint buying into all these pseudo-scandals! As well as the latest Strategic Council and Angus Reid polls basically showing the Conservatives slightly ahead (it’s a tie folks and has been for a long time and will be right into the next election in Fall 2009)though they do not drill down as well as Nick’s

  4. Wait, are you actually questioning the Nanos record, as far as accuracy in predicting, you know, election results? Really?

  5. Nanos Poll? I thought that the important one was the Gallup?

  6. Kady says

    “For what it’s worth, the Privy Council Office attempted to speak with the CTV reporters”

    As a media hater, is that not good thing. B/c regardless how much I think the PPG are Harper haters. Source protection is key for any reporter right?

    And another question, how the heck do you reporters balance that source thing?

  7. Actually, that wasn’t me who said that; it was Colleague Wherry. As for protection of sources — you might be surprised at the diversity of opinion on that subject amongst journalists. Bring up Judith Miller sometime if you don’t believe me.

  8. The key parts of the report are:

    “section 5.3:

    The Associated Press had a leaked copy of the diplomatic report on March 2. However, there are indications that the report, or at least information about the meeting between Senator Obama’s advisor and the Canadian Consul General, was known to the media prior to this date, possibly as early as February 28.

    The investigation has been unable to determine who leaked the report, to whom it was leaked or whether there was only one leak.

    The original diplomatic report was incorrectly classified and had an inappropriately broad distribution list.”

    and the timeline at the end (note the double entry typo):

    “27 February
    AM
    A PMO official (PMO Official 1) becomes aware of the diplomatic report from Chicago while speaking with a PCO analyst, who volunteers ito provide it to PMO Official 1. After PCO provides a copy, PMO Official 1 shares it with one of his colleagues at PMO (PMO Official 2).”

    “28 February

    1) The CTV story from the previous night is more widely reported in Canadian and now the American media. 2) ABC reports that the Canadian Embassy disputes a report by the CTV that an Obama campaign staff member telephoned Ambassador Wilson to reassure him that campaign rhetoric against NAFTA should not be taken seriously. 3) CTV issues a statement standing by their story. 4) CTV reports speaking with Senator Obama’s advisor about his conversation with the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago. Senator Obama’s advisor refuses to answer CTV’s questions as to whether such a conversation took place

    12:36
    The Canadian Embassy in Washington issues a statement: “The Canadian Embassy confirms that at no time has any member of a Presidential Campaign called the Canadian Ambassador or any official at the Embassy to discuss NAFTA. Last night the Canadian television network CTV falsely reported that such calls had been made. The story is untrue. Neither before or since the Ohio debate has any presidential campaign called Ambassador Wilson or the Embassy to raise NAFTA.”

    15:27
    The first query from a U.S. media representative is made to the Canadian Embassy that specifically queries the Embassy whether “any advisor, staffer or aide to Senator Obama [has spoken] to the Consul in Chicago, or to anyone on the consul’s staff, about the senator’s position on NAFTA, or [hasused] words to the effect of the ones quoted by CTV?”

    14:35
    PMO Official 2 (see Feb. 27, a.m. entry above) informs Mr. Brodie that he has a copy of a report about a meeting in Chicago involving the Obama campaign.

    15:27
    The Canadian Embassy receives a query from a U.S. media representative specifically asking the Embassy whether “any advisor, staffer or aide to Senator Obama [has spoken] to the Consul in Chicago, or to anyone on the consul’s staff, about the senator’s position on NAFTA, or [hasused] words to the effect of the ones quoted by CTV?”

    15:28
    PMO Official 2 provides the diplomatic report to Mr. Brodie.

    15:43
    The Ottawa-based CTV News reporter with whom Mr. Brodie had spoken during the Budget lock-up emails Mr. Brodie, “[…] in the lockup I thought you mentioned that Ambassador Wilson had a message from the Clinton campaign that we ought to take her anti-NAFTA rhetoric with a grain of salt. Did I hear that right? Or was it the Obama campaign.”

    14:35
    PMO Official 2 (see Feb 27, a.m. entry above) informs Mr. Brodie that he has a copy of a report about a meeting in Chicago involving the Obama campaign.

    15:28
    PMO Official 2 provides the diplomatic report to Mr. Brodie.

    16:00
    Ambassador Wilson has a subsequent telephone conversation with the CTV News Washington Bureau reporter, again with the Ambassador’s understanding that his comments are not for attribution. He reiterates that he did not receive a call from the Obama campaign. According to Ambassador Wilson, no mention of Chicago, Senator Obama’s advisor or Consul General Rioux is made during either call with CTV News. In the conversation, the Washington reporter names the Ottawa-based CTV reporter as the person who gave him the information allegedly received from Mr. Brodie. ”

    Mr. Brodie did not leak info from a classified report, but Lynch’s report leaves little doubt that he was involved in the leaking. Any bets on who PMO Officials 1 and 2 are?

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