Tim Blair


New Criterion



Saturday, June 19, 2004
DO YOU REMEBER ANDREW WILKIE? He is the former spook who is about to commit political hara-kiri against John Howard in the seat of Bennelong.

Out of respect for one about to die you should read the extract from his book in this weekend's Henny Herald. I warn you, it is a duty without pleasure.

So thin is Wilkie's account of why he chose to leap from spooky insider to even-spookier outsider, by way of Laurie Oakes's Bulletin platform, that even Henny could find not a single extract worth putting on its front page as a come-on.

The nearest we get to news from Wilkie's life story is a page four attempt, by Tom Allard (who else?) to refresh the claim that Foreign Minister Downer leaked a copy of Wilkie's own words to Andrew Bolt on the Herald Sun.

Since Henny Herald has been assiduously promoting Wilkie's gushing about his life in the supposedly confidential confines of the Office of National Assessments, it is a bit rich for Allard (who is not shy of inventing a bit of news on a slow day) and Wilkie to be throwing stones at Downer over alleged leaking.

Of Wilkie's core claim, that intelligence about Iraq's dangers to the rest of us were sexed-up, we hear little of substance. Nothing to contradict Andrew Bolt's discovery of Wilkie's self-contradiction:
When I note the risks Wilkie then warned of - horrific chemical attacks by Saddam, "mass panic" as refugees fled his biological weapons - I ask who indeed "exaggerated".

What Wilkie does know with astounding clarity is the contents of the minds of George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard. He cites no sources.
Howard had clearly decided ... Nevertheless, Howard knew what was brewing ... Washington was not always frank ... Howard (and by his own means, Blair) knew before the war began
You couldn't get away with it in a blog, but it's OK for a campaigning broadsheet.