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Blog: So who leaked that flight story, then?

Photo: Tony Marshall / EMPICS Sport

Oh to be a fly on the wall in the corridors of power of government.

Well, today, we got the next best thing with the release of 182 pages of email exchanges about "those" South Africa flights.

We learn that Wayne Gallichan from Locate Jersey described Lucy Stephenson, the JEP journalist who exposed their £13,000 business class flights spending, as somebody who "clearly has it in for us".

Then there's Economic Development chief officer Mike King who hints that he knows who leaked the information with the intriguing single-sentence email which read: "There is only one person feeding this story..."

There's been months of speculation as to who that person is. The same name keeps cropping up. I'm still waiting for somebody to name them on-the-record or for that person to confirm or deny their involvement. I've contacted them today - so watch this space.

We've the government minister Senator Lyndon Farnham describing the spending as "politically indefendable", and his assistant minister Deputy Murray Norton who warned "this could blow up as a huge story". And he was right!

In the end Messrs King and Gallichan were cleared of wrongdoing, though the States' travel policy was toughened up.

We also get an insight into an element of 'tail wagging the dog' with politicians intervening to get politicians to water down their public comments before they're released to the media.

There's also the clear sense that the two civil servants at the centre of this storm feel they'd done nothing wrong.

Well, questions in parliament, two separate investigations, and a beefed up set of rules for booking flights in future would suggest - at the very least - their actions were unwise.

The emails also highlight the benefit of Freedom of Information legislation. Where there is legitimate interest, electronic exchanges can be forced into the public domain.

The other upshot, you'd hope, is that we don't see £13,000 being spent on two fully-flexible flights in future.

2pm update: I emailed Senator Philip Ozouf today to ask if he was behind the leak. You can read his reply, a denial, here. I also left a phone message for and emailed Mike King to ask for the identity of the person to which he was referring. I have yet to hear back from him.