First of all, I will preface my outrage by stating that “The Australian” is a newspaper that I respect and subscribe to. But what it did regarding the disclosure of yesterday’s roundup of alleged terrorists was a betrayal of the Australian security system.
Apparently, this newspaper knew about the impending operation five days earlier. Someone had leaked this information to the newspaper. The powers that be at the paper then approached the Australian Federal Police with this information and so the police had to negotiate with the reporter so that the investigation would not be jeopardised.
“The Australian” then agreed to keep silent about the operation until it took place.
After all that negotiating by “The Australian” did they keep their word? They say they did because they did not report the operation until the third edition of yesterday’s paper, but it is very telling that the Editor could not give a definite time for when the news was actually available to the public.
The police operation involved around 400 personnel and had the suspects been informed by any of their mates (there are cell phones, you know) that the paper had announced this scoop before 4.30 am, then the operation would have been sabotaged.
The important point to be emphasised is that “The Australian” will not specify what time that latest edition was made available to the public. That leads me to think that it was available before 4.30 am and that the paper is not prepared to admit its mistake.
All this for a scoop? I am very disappointed by the actions of “The Australian” and I’m also wondering who is the mole in the police force who leaked the information to the paper in the first place. No wonder the Victorian Police Chief is upset. Was it worth it, just for a scoop?
p.s This morning the police have admitted that because of the leak to the newspaper the operation had to be brought forward. The four arrested men have been charged.