The flailing and ranting of former Tory MP Louise Mensch reached a new plateau of surreal detachment from reality yesterday, as, following her total failure to back up her claim that the deeply subversive Guardian had “trafficked” names of those working for the UK security services, she hit on an article published last August by the Independent. An article that has been thoroughly debunked.
Has she got news for us? You jest
And the mystical art otherwise known as “five minutes’ Googling” would have shown her that there was a suspicion about the source of the Indy piece, so much so that the paper was unusually defensive about it. But let us cut straight to pointing out that Ms Mensch has, yet again, demonstrated herself to be a busted flush and, increasingly, a source of unintentional hilarity.
“What the Independent tells us about the Guardian’s crimes” is the title of her rant, demonstrating that open mind to the available evidence, ability not to jump to conclusions, and willingness to consider all parties innocent until proven otherwise. The Indy said of their “leak”: “It pertained to the operation of the security services, was highly detailed, and had the capacity to compromise Britain’s security”.
Ms Mensch has leapt on this and claimed it proves that the Guardian “trafficked” or “muled” information which identified UK security personnel. But not only does it not do so, the Indy’s “leak”, which they claimed to be from Edward Snowden’s trove of NSA information, did not come from Snowden. Nor did it come from Glenn Greenwald. And the Guardian wouldn’t have done them the favour.
We know this because Greenwald, who was clearly caught off guard by the Indy story, set this out in a Comment Is Free post. The response of the Indy was yet more revealing: “For the record: The Independent was not leaked or 'duped' into publishing today's front page story by the Government” Tweeted Oliver Wright. But neither Greenwald, nor anyone else, said they had been “duped”.
Moreover, as Greenwald pointed out, the Indy story was so totally different in character to anything the Guardian had published, and he concluded that, whether the paper was aware of it or not, the information had originally come from a UK Government source, and had been deliberately leaked. The sole purpose of such a leak would be to bolster the kinds of claims Ms Mensch is now making.
None of the Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post and ProPublica have published any information about the existence of a “secret internet surveillance base” in the Middle East or elsewhere, nor indeed about any base or presence that is not already known. For Ms Mensch to grasp this item as proof of anything the Guardian has done is yet more desperate than what has gone before.
She hasn’t laid a glove on the paper. And that situation looks unlikely to change.