From top: Sgt Maurice McCabe, Michael Clifford, Supt Dave Taylor (right panel) and Tim Vaughan
During the Disclosures Tribunal, the matter of the protection of media sources was discussed at length.
Justice Peter Charleton told the tribunal that he had grown up following the Watergate hearings, which took place in the summer of 1973.
The example of Deep Throat, Bob Woodward’s source for his and fellow reporter Carl Bernstein’s exposés in The Washington Post, was cited throughout by the judge and also many of the witnesses.
However, often for opposing reasons.
Deep Throat (Mark Felt) divulged his role in 2012, freeing the two reporters to confirm his identity.
Former Garda Press Officer Supt Dave Taylor, who said he negatively briefed journalists at the behest of senior gardai, has sought similar confirmation from his alleged former sources.
In fact, it is claimed, to not do so was and is causing him untold damage.
One witness, who said there was no exceptions to when a source’s identity could be revealed or confirmed ,was asked:
“Did Woodward and Bernstein get it wrong?“
Another witness, a newspaper editor, actually used Mr Felt as an example to explain why he wouldn’t discuss anything about anybody.
“Bob Woodward said that he agreed with Mark Felt that the only way that Mark Felt would never be identified as a possible source in the future was to ensure that he would tell no one that they knew each other in any way or that Bob Woodward knew anybody in the FBI.”
Tim Vaughan, former editor of the Irish Examiner, who said he too had followed the Watergate saga growing up, told the tribunal
“It isn’t the source’s right to erode the journalist’s right to protect their source.“
During Mr Vaughan’s editorship of the Irish Examiner, which ended in 2016, Michael Clifford was the newspaper’s ‘special correspondent’.
Mr Clifford confirmed that Supt. Dave Taylor was a source of his.
But there was a problem
While Mark Felt’s motives to help remove a president (a grievance over a lost promotion among them) were never entirely pure, he was at least attempting to help establish the truth.
Supt Taylor’s motivation for turning against his bosses and his actions since then are simply unfathomable.
He is, to put it mildly, no Deep Throat.
Mr Clifford gave evidence about a week after three of his colleagues – political correspondent Juno McEnroe, security correspondent Cormac O’Keeffe and political editor Daniel McConnell – gave evidence. (full report in part 1 here)
Mr Clifford, who wrote the book A Force For Justice – The Maurice McCabe Story which was published last September, was named by Supt Taylor – along with RTÉ Prime Time’s Katie Hannon – as being a journalist whom he didn’t negatively brief about Garda whistleblower Sgt McCabe.
Specifically, Supt Taylor said Mr Clifford and Ms Hannon were “clearly writing articles and programmes that were sympathetic to Sergeant McCabe”.
Mr Clifford began writing about Sgt McCabe – without naming him – in May 2013, after an internal Garda investigation into the penalty points controversy had been published by Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony.
The following year, in 2014, he heard about a rumour concerning Sgt McCabe on three different occasions.
Interestingly, unlike other previous witnesses who had heard the rumour and satisfied themselves it wasn’t true, Mr Clifford was suspicious from the off.
The first occasion Mr Clifford heard the rumour was during a conversation, in “early 2014”, with someone Mr Clifford described as a “source” who wasn’t a guard.
Mr Clifford recalled:
“I mentioned something to the effect about Maurice McCabe, there’s a lot to that story, a lot more than has come out, and he said words to the effect that there is an issue there, and I asked him what the issue was and he said there had been an allegation of child sexual abuse. He got this, he told me, locally in Cavan. He said the general feeling was that he wasn’t guilty or responsible for the allegation, that there wasn’t any foundation to it, but, the way he put it is, that is still there, it’s still hanging over him.”
After this conversation, Mr Clifford said he was “floored”, made inquiries and satisfied himself there was no foundation to the allegation.
But at this point he was suspicious the allegation was “being used to attack Sergeant McCabe on the basis of what he was bringing forward.”
“I had been following the story, it didn’t seem to be getting much traction in the media in general and then out of the blue this thing comes along. I then made inquiries about it, I made inquiries in Cavan. I made — I satisfied myself as to the veracity of what the story was.
“I also became aware that Sergeant McCabe’s legal team were aware of this issue and to be honest with you I found that very reassuring, to the extent that Mr McDowell, for instance, is a public figure and the idea that he would have been involved or allowed himself to be used in any way to run an agenda by somebody who had these kind of issues in their background, was beyond any sort of belief as far as I could see.
“But I also satisfied myself as to what actually happened; I did not know the detail that has emerged here in the Tribunal but the general gist of that to a large extent, I satisfied myself that that was the case.”
The second occasion the allegation was brought to Mr Clifford’s attention was during a telephone conversation with someone whom Mr Clifford said, “is very familiar with politics and on the basis of my own conversations with him he has a friendship at the very least with a senior garda”.
Mr Clifford told the tribunal the senior guard is not a garda whom the tribunal has been examining.
This second man bluntly told Mr Clifford “You know your man McCabe is a kiddie fiddler”.
Mr Clifford felt the man’s information was coming from his Garda friend.
He told the tribunal:
“I explained to him that I had heard that, I had checked it out, there was no truth to it. He sounded sceptical in my response. The only connection there, and as I say I don’t know this but this would just be a suspicion on a previous occasion, that particular individual had relayed to me about a friend of his, a senior garda who had described myself in disparaging terms and on that basis I assumed, rightly or wrongly, that this is where it was coming from when he mentioned it to me about Sergeant McCabe.”
Mr Clifford didn’t disclose the identities of the two people who spoke to him about Sgt McCabe.
He told Patrick Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, that he’s satisfied that even if he did identify the two men, it wouldn’t assist the tribunal.
The third occasion the allegation against Sgt McCabe was raised with Mr Clifford was when his then editor Tim Vaughan contacted him, in the second half of 2014.
Mr Clifford recalled:
“He rang me and he said — he sounded slightly, not alarmed but slightly urgent and he said that had it come to him, somebody had suggested to him that Maurice McCabe was involved in these issues and I reassured him, I said Tim, I have come across it, there’s no truth to it, I think it’s actually being used against the man, and that was it. And to the best of my knowledge he accepted my explanation entirely and certainly didn’t affect work that the Irish Examiner did thereafter on this story.”
Mr Vaughan told the tribunal he had heard a rumour about a sexual assault allegation against Sgt McCabe during a phone conversation with a contact “who knows about Dublin media”. Mr Vaughan said this contact didn’t know where the rumour came from, while the tribunal didn’t hear the identity of this contact.
Mr Clifford said as he works from home, he couldn’t recall any specific conversation with other journalists about the allegation but he definitely had as sense it was in the “ether” in 2016.
This was the same year Mr Clifford met Supt Taylor for the first time.
Mr Clifford told the tribunal that he got a phone call from Supt Taylor in either late May or early June of 2016, on foot of an article Mr Clifford had written about the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation which mentioned Supt Taylor.
[In May 2016, Mr Clifford, and separately Ms Hannon, on RTÉ’s Prime Time, reported on the legal strategy used by the then Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015. Separately, Supt Taylor had been arrested and suspended in May 2015 for allegedly leaking material to the press when he was no longer press officer. The DPP ruled against a prosecution. But at the tribunal, Supt Taylor accepted he had leaked material to the press. Supt Taylor went back to work in the Traffic Department in February 2017]
Mr Clifford had never met Supt Taylor at this point.
“I got a phone call, I remember it because I was in my mother’s house in Cork, and it must have been a Saturday evening. He said ‘Dave Taylor here’, for a couple of seconds I couldn’t place him, then he said ‘thanks for the mention in the piece’ and then I realised who I was talking to. And we had a bit of a conversation, he made some comments about Nóirín O’Sullivan and the difficulties she was having at the time and how, in his opinion, she wasn’t very good for the Gardaí or whatever.
“And he also made comments about Sergeant McCabe, and he said what Maurice was going through, and he referenced him twice I think as Maurice, which I found — I thought it was amusing or ironic, the right words, because as far as I was concerned he had been Garda HQ, which had, I believed, a very hostile attitude towards Maurice McCabe and now he was speaking about him in these terms, but that was the nature of it.
“And anyway, that phone call didn’t last too long and he suggested going for a cup of coffee sometime and I said grand, and I left it at that. And to be honest with you I wasn’t at that point that interested in meeting him for a cup of coffee and I just left it at that on a cordial basis.
Mr Clifford believes he then met Supt Taylor in either late August or early September 2016 and then a second time on the first weekend of October 2016.
Of their first meeting, Mr Clifford said he can’t recall who called whom, but either way, Supt Taylor suggested they meet at his home.
This came about after Mr Clifford had heard from a source that Supt Taylor’s wife Michelle had met with Sgt McCabe.
Mr Clifford said there were “two prongs” to their meeting. The first was the poor financial situation Supt Taylor and his family were in because of his suspension and the second was how Supt Taylor came to be in this position.
Mr Clifford said Supt Taylor conveyed that “the central character in that was Nóirín O’Sullivan”.
He said Supt Taylor claimed that either Garda HQ or Mr O’Sullivan were obsessed with Sgt McCabe and his highlighting of issues within An Garda Síochána; he said Supt Taylor didn’t have a good working relationship with Ms O’Sullivan; and he said Supt Taylor said he and Martin Callinan had, at one point, suspected she was leaking to the media “in the form that I think is more familiar to political or business world of one person briefing against another”.
Mr Clifford and Judge Charleton spoke about this for some time:
Clifford: “…he suggested that Nóirín O’Sullivan, that they thought — sorry, that himself and Martin Callinan were under the impression or they thought that Nóirín O’Sullivan was leaking stuff to the media, effectively briefing the deputy commissioner, effectively briefing against the Commissioner. Again, this is — he didn’t give an example of that, or anything, but he threw that in, and, as I say, I only recall that because that is from the near-contemporaneous note I had.”
Charleton: “Yes. Well, was he trying to give you the impression that Garda Headquarters was some a kind of a viper pit where everyone was against everybody else and trying to destroy the other?”
Clifford: “He wouldn’t have to give me that impression, Chairman, I’d say I probably had that impression myself, but there was an element of that there.”
Charleton: “All right. Well, can we just turn to the note, if you wouldn’t mind, it’s 6628, and would you mind just telling me where there is any reference to that, because it’s not obvious to me. This is your note, what you typed up on your PC.”
Clifford: “Sorry, yeah, the reference down there:
“MC and DT suspected she was releasing info to us how divided they were going back a number of years.”
Charleton: “That is it, yes. So that is what that means?”
Clifford: “Yes, that is my —
Charleton: “I don’t get — in a way, I don’t get this, and on a human level I am finding this hard to understand, Mr Clifford, that everything seems to be about PR and what the newspapers are saying, as opposed to what you are doing yourself, in reality.”
Clifford: “Oh, I think that theme runs through the whole situation, to be quite honest with you.”
Mr Clifford told the tribunal that he had no basis on which to believe anything of what Supt Taylor was telling him was true, but it was what Supt Taylor told him.
Mr Clifford also said Supt Taylor said, on the day Mr Callinan resigned, he [Mr Callinan] asked Supt Taylor to get a letter to RTÉ’s crime correspondent Paul Williams about the taping of telephone conversations in Garda stations.
He said Mr Callinan made the request after he had stepped down.
Mr Clifford said:
“…he says he was asked to do that by Martin Callinan, even though Martin Callinan had just resigned that morning, he placed huge emphasis on Nóirín O’Sullivan’s reaction to him doing that. He said that — he said she was very annoyed, to put it at its mildest, but his big thing that was her position was that he was now working for her as she was Commissioner and he shouldn’t have been doing something for Martin Callinan. That is the way he framed whatever happened there but he certainly gave the emphasis that that signalled a rapid deterioration in any relationship he had with Nóirín O’Sullivan, by his account.”
Mr Clifford said, on this occasion, Supt Taylor mostly talked about himself.
As for any alleged smear campaign against Sgt McCabe, Mr Clifford said:
“The general gist of it was that Martin Callinan would send him a text or a message and that — which would be derogatory towards Sergeant McCabe in one form or another, and he passed this on, I believe he said to other senior officers and to the media. I cannot tell you 100 percent that he said he texted the media or spoke to them verbally. I understand that he said he told me he only spoke verbally, I have no recollection of that. But I can’t be 100 percent of that.
“But what I am absolutely sure of, in terms of that conversation, is the centrality of these text messages, because his thesis, if you want to call it that, was that the whole investigation, suspension of him from his job was associated with the fact that then Commissioner O’Sullivan wanted to get her hands on his phone because that was what you might call the smoking gun in terms of anything to link her to the type of attitudes there was to Maurice McCabe back in ’13 and ’14, and he effectively blamed his demise as such on that issue, and he put forward the case that it was all linked to the Commissioner, through her husband, who was on the investigation team, he described it at the time as heading it up, getting her hands on that phone to effectively destroy any evidence linking her to this campaign that he says was going on.”
Mr Clifford next met Supt Taylor on the first weekend of October in 2016.
By this stage, Supt Taylor, and Sgt McCabe, had made separate protected disclosures – after Supt Taylor told him on September 20, 2016, that he had “destroyed” Sgt McCabe via a smear campaign.
On this second occasion, Mr Clifford asked Supt Taylor to clarify three matters based on information he had acquired elsewhere – that texts had been used as part of the alleged smear campaign, that an intelligence file had been created on Sgt McCabe in Garda HQ; and that somebody had been appointed to monitor Sgt McCabe’s activity on Pulse.
Mr Clifford said Supt Taylor confirmed all three of these were correct.
He also said Supt Taylor definitely conveyed to Mr Clifford that phones which had been seized from him – during the investigation into him – were “key to everything”.
[The tribunal has since heard that the phones seized from Supt Taylor were not relevant to the time period when the alleged smear campaign took place. They, instead, were from after that time period. And the phones that were relevant to that time period were never recovered by the tribunal but were not in possession of An Garda Síochána. Instead, they were in Supt Taylor’s own possession but he lost them.]
Asked specifically what he could recall of his conversation with Supt Taylor about texts during their meeting in October 2016, Mr Clifford said:
“The impression I got was that these text messages were sent, as I understood it, to senior officers or senior management rather than one individual. I wasn’t 100 percent sure on that. Neither was I 100 percent sure that they were sent to journalists. But the emphasis that was put on them was that these text messages contain effectively statements, language, whatever, that shows that this campaign he was claiming was run was being run and, therefore, people who would have been informed had knowledge of it.
“That was the general gist of where I interpreted him as coming from with the whole issue around text messages. As I say, I can’t say definitively that he said he sent texts to journalists but he most definitely said that he sent texts of this nature to Nóirín O’Sullivan and, my recollection, to senior management in the Gardaí.”
[Supt Taylor has denied to the tribunal that he indicated this to Mr Clifford. He also denies indicating the same thing to Sgt McCabe and Independents 4 Change TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace]
Mr Clifford also told the tribunal that the manner in which Supt Taylor told him about the seizure of his phones seemed “practised”.
“He effectively made a case or presented a thesis, if you want to put it that way. I also, and again this is only my speculation, on the basis it was done, it was either practised or else he had done a similar exercise with people prior to me. That was my impression.
“If I could put it this way: The presentation of that case, the manner in which it was done, it struck me that he had either practiced this or he had made a similar presentation to perhaps other journalists, perhaps other people, I don’t know, that was an impression that I came away with from that.”
The judge clarified with Mr Clifford: “What you are saying is, it wasn’t improvised out, it seems to be a presentation like you would get a presentation like slides or whatever?”
Mr Clifford explained again:
“Yeah. Well, obviously, Chairman, not as professional as that, but just in terms of the general tenor. For example, there was some paperwork there, it was on the coffee table, and you know, small stacks at right angles, as would you, you know, and just the whole thrust of what he was saying, as I say, it wasn’t something that struck me as being presented simultaneously or off the top of his head kind of thing.”
Mr Clifford couldn’t recall whether it was during the first or second meeting that Supt Taylor told him he would have conveyed the Ms D allegation – which had been categorically dismissed by the DPP in 2017 – to journalists in 2013/2014 to the effect that there was “no smoke without fire”.
[Curiously, this is something Supt Taylor also told the tribunal’s investigators in an interview, but something he later backtracked on when he gave evidence]
In May 2017, Mr Clifford emailed Supt Taylor a section of his book. In his email, Mr Clifford wrote:
This is the chapter I was telling you about, where you enter the McCabe story. See what you think, particularly in terms of factual accuracy.
Thanks, talk soon.”
In the excerpt sent to Supt Taylor, there were the flowing the lines about Supt Taylor’s meeting with Sgt McCabe on September 20, 2016:
Within days, Supt Taylor got back to Mr Clifford.
He sent him one correction – to say he hadn’t been interviewed by the Children’s Ombudsman in relation to the leaking of material concerning Roma children to the press in October 2013 – and that was it.
Supt Taylor never corrected Mr Clifford on his account of his meeting with Sgt McCabe.
Even after the publication of his book, Supt Taylor still never told Mr Clifford that what he wrote was incorrect.
When Supt Taylor gave evidence, he said he scanned the extract and didn’t read it line by line.
Michael O’Higgins SC, for Supt Taylor, put it to Mr Clifford that for Supt Taylor to have sent disparaging texts about Sgt McCabe to journalists would defeat the purpose of trying to influence the journalists “off the record”.
Mr Clifford said:
“That’s correct. With the proviso that it would depend on how close your relationship might have been with a particular journalist.”
Conor Dignam SC, for An Garda Síochána, asked Mr Clifford about his reports in the Irish Examiner on October 4, 2016, about the protected disclosures made by Supt Taylor and Sgt McCabe.
In an analysis piece, Mr Clifford wrote:
“The disclosures allege that there was a concerted campaign amongst senior management in the force to destroy the character of a whistleblower. There were different strands to the alleged campaign, including the dissemination of text messages containing falsehoods about the officer in question, briefing of elements of the media and even the creation of an intelligence file on the officer.”
The tribunal heard the Irish Examiner‘s coverage didn’t yield any complaints from Supt Taylor.
Mr Dignam took issue with the use of the word “revelations” in the newspaper’s coverage that day but Mr Clifford pointed out the “revelation” was the fact protected disclosures had been made, as opposed to the content of the disclosures.
Asked if he checked the veracity of the claims which he reported, Mr Clifford told Mr Dignam:
“There was very little I could do in that regard. In terms of publishing that and feeling justified in publishing it, there are a couple of things in that regard that I would say: First of all, this is — in publishing that, it’s a process whereby it goes through the editorial hierarchy inside in the Examiner, which backed up my decision that this was in the public interest and that this should have been published.
“Then you are talking about the substance of the issue. In the first instance, this was unprecedented. You had a superintendent in An Garda Síochána nominally of good standing, was making a protected disclosure about what was occurring within the force. That of itself was completely unprecedented.
“Equally so, who he was incriminating in there. In the first instance he was incriminating himself. I don’t know even since the protected disclosure or anything of that nature has come in, have we ever had a scenario whereby somebody making it was incriminating and incriminating himself to the extent that he was admitting that he was involved in a smear campaign to effectively brand Sergeant McCabe as a paedophile and to do so for no other than to ingratiate himself to his boss or further his career.
“That is that element of it. The second element: The other person he incriminated was former Commissioner Callinan, somebody with whom he had a very good relationship, whom he looked up to and whom he regarded as something of a mentor.”
Mr Dignam asked Mr Clifford if the animus which Supt Taylor had shown towards Ms O’Sullivan caused him concern in publishing his articles in October 2016 about the protected disclosures.
Mr Clifford said:
“It certainly gave me pause for thought, but you have to put this into context; in many instances that I would come across and many instances of any nature for — the most obvious example is a tribunal, that, fortunately, Chairman, I don’t think you will be heading for the record of 13 years, but the Planning Tribunal — the Planning Tribunal, as I think we are aware, began over a grudge an individual had for his employer not providing a pension. That is the nature of these things.
“Now, absolutely, I took that into account, but as I was saying to you before, I balanced that against both the substance of the allegation in terms of my
knowledge over the previous three or four years, both the fact that it was self-incriminating and that it was also incriminating somebody to whom Mr. Taylor obviously looked up to.
“All scenarios like that in terms of publication, some sort of a balance has to be reached between suppressing information – and I was in possession of that information – and the fairness to everybody involved, and, in my opinion, that was achieved. It wasn’t just desirable to publish it, but it was necessary to publish it.”
It was put to Mr Clifford, by Mr Dignam, that the articles caused a “storm of controversy”, to which Mr Clifford replied:
“It certainly did, Mr Dignam, but I will also have to add to that, I’m afraid, that is not my responsibility.”
He later added:
“As a newsworthy event, as an event in which there is public interest, this was unprecedented.”
Just before Mr Clifford finished giving evidence, Mr Dignam pressed Mr Clifford on his source for information about the meeting which took place between Sgt McCabe, Supt Taylor and his wife Michelle.
Mr Clifford said:
“As far as I know, I’m the only person coming in here speaking in any detail about any interaction with David Taylor on the basis he has waived privilege. That is a precarious road to go down on the basis of identifying other sources, so I don’t want to go any further than that.”
Judge Charleton then stepped in and said this about journalists and privilege:
“I mean, at the end of the day, you know, Mr Dignam, again it’s a question of where we go on this, and I appreciate where you are coming from and the skill with which you are doing this, but, look, I am not asked in the terms of reference to comment on the media, whether the media did a good or bad job or whether paper will refuse ink, whether there should be higher standards in journalism. I mean, people can form their own view on that, and if they don’t like what they read in a paper, they can stop buying it, or if they don’t like what they hear on any particular form of media, they can just, you know, turn somewhere else.”
“…I mean, at the end of the day, what was said in the room, if you like, is between Michelle Taylor and David Taylor and Maurice McCabe and the various reports of that. I’m not going to be helped, one way or the other, by anything else. And vis-á-vis Mr. Clifford and David Taylor and the waiving of privilege, I understand where Mr. Clifford is coming from in that regard, but, you know, again it’s a question of where are the side alleys in this and should — if a hare runs down there, should I follow for the purpose of seeing if there is anything there. I would prefer to stick with what I am supposed to do.
“I presume David Taylor and Michelle Taylor spoke to other people, I presume Maurice McCabe spoke to other people, I presume he got advice. The circumstances under which information stays confined is extremely rare. And this is more like an inkblot, to be quite frank; it lands on the page and it spreads out. You know, it’s not going to help me, because, at the end of the day, the primary evidence, instead of the dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean léi (go ndúirt bean eile) rud éigin, is the three people in the room and what was written down in consequence of it. So that is the reason I am not following it, Mr Dignam.”
Judge Charleton also said that he’s unlikely to come to any conclusion about Mr Clifford’s articles but indicated he may make a comment in his report about Paul Williams’ articles in the Irish Independent about Sgt McCabe and Ms D in April and May 2014.
“Mr Clifford, I have no issue with anything that you did, and, in any event, I have no — I have no power to report on it, one way or the other. It may be that something in relation to the articles concerning Maurice McCabe as an unnamed individual may call for some comment, but yours certainly don’t. So thank you for your assistance.”
The tribunal also heard neither Mr Callinan nor Ms O’Sullivan ever made any complaints to Mr Clifford or the Irish Examiner about Mr Clifford’s articles on the protected disclosures.
When questioning Mr Vaughan about sources and their protection, Justice Charleton introduced Watergate once more.
Justice Charleton said:
“I’m not sure in the Woodward and Bernstein example here [sources waiving privilege], what people are so worried about …”
“Unless, of course, things are much worse or there is some kind of a side agreement.”
They then had this exchange:
Charleton: “Well, in the Woodward and Bernstein example, do you think that erodes – source protection, for them to be talking about that, for the person in question to have come forward and said, ‘Yes, I was Deep Throat’ and ‘Yes, I am the source of the articles that appeared’, which exposed the then-president of the United States in a not very favourable fashion? I can’t see a — I can’t see that that bulwark is in any way breached or dissolved or even threatened. Can you?”
Vaughan: “I think we have to disagree.”
Charleton: “Fine. I’m happy to disagree with people, but you have to give me a reason for disagreeing. What is the reason? Just take the Woodward and Bernstein example, were they in the wrong? I mean, having done such huge credit to journalism, are we saying that somehow they are now anti-heroes, having been heroes? What is the reason? I am grasping around trying to fathom what it is. I am very willing to listen.”
Vaughan: “I wouldn’t — I would not, myself, if I had a source who was claiming or revealing that he was the source, I would not reveal that he was.”
Charleton: “And if the net result of that was he was going to be called a malicious perjurer and he was actually asking for your help, it’d be the same?”
Vaughan: “I think you’ve got to — I would — it would be a difficult situation, but I think you’ve got to uphold the integrity of — I don’t think you can pick and choose in these matters.”
Charleton: “Nobody is picking and choosing, no more than Woodward and Bernstein picked and chose. Maybe we have discussed it enough. But, I mean, is it possible that the reason has to be in those circumstances that there is some kind of a side agreement between the source that it’s only — I’m only going to go so far and you can’t say any more, or that the relationship has become too close so that it is no longer based on privilege, it is no longer based on journalistic ethics, but is based effectively on a relationship with the person who has outed himself as the source?”
Vaughan: “Sorry, I don’t get your point there, Chairman.”
Charleton: “Well, I’m struggling on this one. Thanks for your help.”
Previously: Maurice McCabe And The irish Examiner: Part 2