The Harper line is that he didn't know his close advisor Bruce Carson was bent until very recently. He knew about the initial fraud, misappropriation, disbarment, conviction and imprisonment but, hey, let bygones be bygones. He just figured that Carson was rehabilitated and a fine guy.
Heck, nobody in the Prime Minister's Office had an inkling about Carson until just recently. Nobody. Not Stephen Harper certainly. And not anyone close to him either. How Carson got a top security clearance, well, sometimes these things just fall through the cracks.
Harper is now caught in another blatant lie. A damned fine lie too. CBC News reports that Harper's PMO smelled a rat as far back as 2008. The evidence comes in the form of "at least" two letters about Carson written by Harper's Chief of Staff, Guy Giorno, to the federal ethics commissioner, Mary Dawson. It's reported that Ms. Dawson received another letter concerning Carson from a senior deputy minister in the Harper government.
Last month, the Prime Minister's Office called in the Mounties to investigate allegations Carson may have illegally lobbied the government in 2010 on behalf of a water-filter company employing his girlfriend, a 22-year-old former prostitute.
When that story broke, Harper and his senior staff all said they had no prior inkling there was anything amiss about Carson.
The relative hail of mail to the ethics commissioner about Carson in 2008 adds another bizarre twist to the unfolding saga of the convicted fraudster who became one of Harper's most trusted advisers.
The fact two of those letters came from Harper's then chief of staff is also bound to raise new questions about how much the prime minister knew of his former aide.
"Bound to raise new questions"? That's an understatement. It was a real stretch to believe that somehow Carson got a security clearance that wasn't vetted by the PMO or Harper. But to claim that everyone in Harper's immediate circle thought the guy was clean collapses with the disclosure of the Giorno letters. When Harper's chief of staff writes letters to the ethics commissioner, he doesn't do it behind Harper's back. Not Furious Leader and Control Freak Extraordinaire Stephen Harper.
Lay on MacDuff.