11 Feb 2014



"It is only totalitarian governments that suppress facts. In this country we simply take a democratic decision not to publish them."

"How to discredit an unwelcome report:

Stage One: Refuse to publish in the public interest saying
1. There are security considerations.
2. The findings could be misinterpreted.
3. You are waiting for the results of a wider and more detailed report which is still in preparation.

Stage Two: Discredit the evidence you are not publishing, saying

1. It leaves important questions unanswered.
2. Much of the evidence is inconclusive.
3. The figures are open to other interpretations.
4. Certain findings are contradictory.
5. Some of the main conclusions have been questioned.

Stage Three: Undermine the recommendations. Suggested phrases: 

1. 'Not really a basis for long term decisions'.
2. 'Not sufficient information on which to base a valid assessment'.
3. 'No reason for any fundamental rethink of existing policy'.
4. 'Broadly speaking, it endorses current practice'.

Stage Four: Discredit the person who produced the report. Explain (off the record) that
1. He is harbouring a grudge against the Department.
2. He is a publicity seeker.
3. He is trying to get a government appointment.
4. He used to be a consultant to a multinational.
5. He wants to be a consultant to a multinational.

"To suppress an internal government report, rewrite it as official advice to the Minister. Then it is against the rules to publish it, so you can leak the bits you want to friendly journalists."

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