So get this. Andy Coulson was given the very highest security clearance when he was appointed Head of Communications for Downing Street. That means every that every state secret, every military secret, all espionage and terrorism secrets, and every secret about how the spooks gather those secrets. This man was given a level of security clearance equal to the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and the Queen.
But it’s worse than that. Ask yourself who is our greatest ally, in terms of military, espionage and terrorism. The United States of America. What is the level of security clearance that the American government shares with the British government? Just about the highest level of clearance that it would be possible for a foreign ally to have. The British have near total clearance of American state secrets. Therefore, Andy Coulson was given, by David Cameron, near total clearance for American state secrets.
But now get this. The checks and balances that David Cameron relied upon, to satisfy himself of the integrity of Mr Coulson, was to look him in the eye and ask if he knew of the hacking, and secondly he sought out a reference. Can you guess who from? Rupert Murdoch.
So before giving a man, who was implicated in a bugging scandal in which people were sent to jail, a job that provides the highest level of state secrets in this country, and the highest level of state secrets that America trusts to share with the UK, he checked the suitability of this man, by asking advice from Rupert Murdoch.
And you know what Rupert Murdoch told him? He reassured Mr Cameron that he could trust Andy Coulson and that Andy Coulson knew nothing of the bugging. And that was enough. The editor of the Guardian, the Deputy Prime Minister and Lord Ashdown had warned him of their serious misgivings of the integrity of this man, and who knows how many other people on his own side. On the basis of that reference, David Cameron concluded that Coulson could be trusted with the highest level of security clearance that this country could bestow.
This makes a further line of the inquiry for Lord Justice Leveson. What information did Coulson request while in his job? What was he made privy to? Normally the 70 year rule would apply, but in this case, the potential for serious damage to the British and American state is so high, that it would be wise to make an exception.
The thing about Teflon is that it gets worn out after a while. A little patch appears where your egg gets stuck to the pan, and your sunny-side-up gets converted into an omelette.
There was no one to take the blame for this incredible example of incompetence, so it stuck to Cameron, but it is just one patch of worn out Teflon. There will be more to come before this government is over.