Leveson inquiry: in search of a smoking gun | Ian Katz | Comment is free | The Guardian
Last week Coulson himself made a most unhelpful disclosure. Asked at the Leveson inquiry whether he had had unsupervised access to material classified top secret or above, he replied “I may have done, yes.” The phrase was key because it is the definition of the level of access for which more strenuous DV vetting is required.Downing Street had pointedly refused to use it before.
To make matters worse Coulson added that he had also attended meetings of the national security council.
On Monday, a palpably uncomfortable O’Donnell offered a series of halfhearted explanations for Coulson’s anomalous treatment. Press secretaries might need to be DV vetted during periods when they would be expected to deal with sensitive subjects such as “when you’re at war”. But not the kind of war Britain was involved in in Afghanistan, evidently.
There was some misunderstanding of what DV vetting actually involves, he said. It wouldn’t “have gone into enormous detail about phone hacking” but investigates “whether you’re blackmailable, basically”. But not whether you are blackmailable about previous involvement in tabloid dirty tricks.