Whaledump signs off
Rawshark, the individual claiming to be the Dirty Politics hacker, has signed off.
On Twitter, @Whaledump2 (a new account after the original was suspended by the social network yesterday), the hacker tweeted at midday, "To targeted ratf****rs: Good luck lying. Remaining dumps are with journos. You feeling lucky, punk?"
That was shortly followed by "To all other ratf****rs, present and future: Don't make me come out of retirement." (Language warning: there are no asterisk in the original tweets.)
The hacker also tweeted, "This was never about party politics for me. I have done what I set out to do. It is time to go."
And, "Don't try this at home.. unless you think it's important enough to risk 7 years in jail. Think it through" before a final tweet:
"By the time you read this, every device used in this operation will have been destroyed and disposed of along with all the decryption keys ... So long, Aotearoa!"
Hours before High Court date
The hacker's announcement came just just a couple of hours before Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater is due in the High Court at Auckland, applying for an injunction to stop Fairfax (Stuff), APN (Herald) and MediaWorks (TV3) from publishing his emails (some from Whaledump, some supplied directly by the hacker known as Rawshawk — presumably also the person behind the material released on @Whaledump [UPDATE: Slater lost].
There is a degree of tension for National.
Some in the party will be anxiously waiting to see if any of Whaledump's final material includes message between Mr Slater and (then) senior communications aide Jason Ede discussing the release of SIS documents under OIA to the Whale Oil blogger — and particularly whether such a conversation references what the PM knew, or not. However, if something that hot had landed in the laps of Fairfax or APN this morning, it's likely they would have rushed it online ahead of today's 2.15pm High Court hearing.
Ridden out the Whale scare?
If there is no major dirt in the final dump and Whaledump stays in retirement, then it looks like National has managed to ride out the hacker scare.
There has been a major casualty, the already-teetering Judith Collins, but a clutch of polls over the past two days show National steady or rising.
Several figures in the saga have seen their reputations take a battering. But the juiciest allegations have been against those in the right wing blogsphere, PR and (the already unloved) finance company sector. Like other commentators, I'm itching to say the PM's nice guy/everyman image has taken a hit. But the preferred PM polls are simply not showing it.
Whaledump might be scratching his (or her) blowhole, wondering exactly what kind of allegations of shabby behaviour it would take to actually move public opinion.
And arguably the departure of one-time future leadership candidate Ms Collins has been a setback for the opposition. A more centralist successor to Mr Key, when he eventually retires, will have a better shot of beating Labour and the Greens.
With investigations now underway by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security and others, there is still potential for the PM and other Dirty Politics actors to come a cropper. But none of the inquiries will report back until long after the election. The various investigations could well weigh on John Key's enthusiasm to stay on for the 2017 race, but they won't impact September 20.
Dotcom's "Moment of Truth" still to come
National is not totally in the clear.
It still faces Kim Dotcom's September 15 rally at the Auckland Town hall, at which the Internet Party founder promises to drop a "bombshell" on John Key.
The question now: will Dotcom's bombshell prove concussive, or seem a fizzer next to the Whaledump's meaty revelations?
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