UPDATED: Police raid Hager’s home
UPDATED TUESDAY 9AM: Police have denied consciously waiting until after the election before searching journalist Nicky Hager’s house for clues to the identity of the hacker known as ‘Rawshark’.
“This is a purely operational decision based on where our inquiries have led us to date,” a police spokesman said in response to media inquiries.
Mr Hager has issued a statement in which he says he fears the police search of his home will have a chilling effect on people passing information to journalists.
“People are less likely to help the media if the police act in this way,” Mr Hager wrote, and vowed he would not reveal the identity of Rawshark (aka Whaledump) or any other sources.
Students of irony will appreciate that Cameron Slater has taken to his blog to argue against Mr Hager’s claim of journalistic privilege when it comes to protecting his sources.
Mr Slater is the ‘Whale Oil’ blogger whose hacked emails form the basis of Mr Hager’s book Dirty Politics and whose complaint to police eventually triggered the search of Mr Hager’s home.
He writes, “For Hager to claim journalistic endeavours is going to be very difficult. Journalists call people they write stories about. Journalists give people a right of reply. Journalists tell the whole story, not massaged narratives that suit their politics. ”
Mr Slater also notes that he himself is a journalist (“yes I can call myself that, I have a High Court judgement to that effect”).
As such, Mr Slater argues, if the judge in the defamation case currently being heard against Mr Slater – in which he’s accused of smearing a high profile Auckland businessman as a thief, psychopath, pornographer and drug dealer – won’t allow him to protect all his sources, then Mr Hager shouldn’t be allowed to either.
Police raid Nicky Hager's home
EARLIER: The home of Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager was raided by police last Thursday.
Mr Hager has confirmed the police searched his house for information about the hacker known as Rawshark, aka Whaledummp.
The hacker provided Mr Hager with emails stolen from Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater that the journalist used as the basis of his book.
Mr Hager says five police spent 10 hours searching his house and removing property while he was in Auckland on lecturing engagements.
According to Mr Hager, police told him he was a witness in their case, not a suspect.
Although police removed papers and electronic equipment, Mr Hager says he is confident they took nothing that will help them with their investigation.
“Their actions were a fishing expedition, presumably because they have no idea who the source is and hoped they might stumble across information about them,” Mr Hager says.
He calls the police search and seizure of his property “dangerous for journalism in New Zealand” and claims it “matters to all people working in the media who could similarly have their property searched and seized to look for sources ... My investigative journalism work means I have an unnegotiable obligation to protect all my sources and the confidences of other people who approach me. I will not cooperate in any way with the police in trying to discover this or other sources.”
Mr Hager says he is taking legal advice about what he can do to challenge the police action.