Richard Waghorne at the Freedom Institute weighs the arguments, and finds that the national security arguments forwarded by the Minister of Justice are sufficient to deprive Frank Connolly of his reputation. He lays out four reasons why the Minister’s decision should be supported:
– First, it is corroborated by the security services.
– Second, it is evidenced by revelations of criminality and is consistent with known behaviour of the groups concerned.
– Third, it is shared by outside observers, most recently the Economist Intelligence Unit.
– Fourth, there is necessarily a presumption in favour of the government in such matters.
That presumption in favour of the government is the problematic element of any rationale justifying the use of intelligence. It is, however, unavoidable. The nature of intelligence provided by security services is that it cannot be wholly revealed and discussed lest the information and its sources be compromised. Unhappily but unavoidably it must, if the reasoning is sound, be accepted both that the sphere in which intelligence is used be a small as possible, but that once it is used in pursuit of the nation’s security, it is done so on the premise that it should be regarded as legitimate unless subsequently demonstrated not to be [my italics].
In other words, the onus is on Frank Connolly to disprove the government intelligence not the other way round.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty