Election 2010: Rudd accused of being double agent
Kevin Rudd was used as a double agent by the Howard government to leak information damaging to his enemies within the Labor Party.
Former foreign minister Alexander Downer has claimed Mr Rudd, at the time an ambitious backbencher, would seize on information given to him about his Labor rivals - and regularly feed it to the media.
"We used him mercilessly to embarrass (Labor's then foreign-affairs spokesman) Laurie Brereton," Mr Downer told The Sunday Telegraph. "We would give Rudd information to use against Brereton, and he would use it."
Downer is now frantically back-pedalling:
"The interpretation placed on my comments to the Sunday Telegraph is wrong," he said.
"Kevin Rudd was not used by me or other members of the Liberal Party as a so-called 'double agent' to leak material against other members of the Labor Party."
Mr Downer says the journalist who wrote the story has "created a more controversial story than my comments warranted".
Downer does not claim to be misquoted, however, so where's the misinterpretation?
Also in The Daily Telegraph is an article revealing the real Kevin Rudd. As is so often the case, reality ain't pretty.
Update: In response to Alexander Downer's protests of misinterpretation the Sunday Telegraph has releaed a full transcript of the interview.