Someone replied to this on Bryan Gould's blog suggesting that he needed to distill the argument down to something short and 'matey' in tone so that voters could understand it.
Here's my effort - it's not short nor especially matey but might help untangle the web a bit.
The SIS had a confidential record of a briefing they'd provided Phil Goff, then Leader of the Opposition.
Various media asked for information from the SIS under the OIA but ALL requests were denied except for that of an unaccredited rightwing blogger - Cameron Slater - whose request was granted much faster than usual.
It was widely known that Slater's a mate of leading National MPs and was close to the PM and his office.
Slater used the information, which ONLY HE HAD, to attack Phil Goff in the lead up to an election.
We know about the background to this because Slater talked and boasted about it to his various mates - one of whom worked in the PM's office - and, after he'd taken his usual obnoxious behaviour into the realms of the truly repugnant, someone hacked his computer and gave the information to Nicky Hager.
All very embarrassing to Key and his government and looking suspiciously like a set up to make Phil Goff look bad just before the election.
Key claims he wasn't told about the SIS release of information until much later despite 3 pieces of clear evidence that he had been told - evidence from the SIS, the Ombudsman and his own mouth.
Key then claims that, when the SIS said they'd briefed HIM - as they are legally and ethically obliged to do - they actually meant they'd spoken to someone (as yet unidentified) in his OFFICE.
So, we're supposed to believe that this anonymous person - presumably senior enough to be briefed by the Director of the SIS - failed to tell the PM that the SIS had decided to release information EXCLUSIVELY to a notoriously partisan right-wing blogger with close connections to the National Party - when that release was bound to cause embarrassment to the Leader of the Opposition and piss off the accredited media whose OIA requests had been denied.
The parties involved of course never anticipated that the Boastful Blogger's computer would be hacked and the whole sordid story would end up with Nicky Hager who would write a book and publish it right before an election. Such sweet irony.
My lay-person's view on the matter:
• It is, or bloody-well should be, unthinkable that the country's security service would take the decision to give a privileged response to an OIA request from a POLITICALLY PARTISAN attack blog after having denied similar requests from accredited news media.
• It is, or bloody-well should be, unthinkable that the SIS would fail to brief their minister - who is the PRIME MINISTER - about a release of information involving the Leader of the Opposition to any news media - let alone to a POLITICALLY PARTISAN attack blog.
• It is, or bloody-well should be, unthinkable that a member of staff in the PM's office, who was SENIOR enough receive a confidential and highly sensitive SIS briefing, would fail to pass that on to the Prime Minister.
• It is, or bloody-well should be, unthinkable that Key as the MINISTER IN CHARGE, can refuse to take responsibility for what happened on HIS WATCH and be backed up in that by sections of the media.
Key is EITHER up to his eyebrows in this and the excuses are just so much bafflegab to try to cover up his complicity in/approval of a 'sting' devised by his dirty tricksters;
OR, he was oblivious to dirty tricks and machinations involving his office, the country's security service and a HIGHLY PARTISAN attack blog.
He simply can't have it both ways.
So which is it - conniving, conspiring Key or confused and confounded Key?