Loyalist protestor Jamie Bryson yesterday stressed that he was not responsible for leaking the contents of online messages he had exchanged with Sinn Fein figures.
The leaked messages show that he was given guidance about his appearance before Daithi McKay’s committee last year – particularly about how to present allegations that Peter Robinson had received money linked to the massive NAMA property loan deal.
Mr Robinson has strongly rejected all accusations of any wrongdoing, adding that Mr Bryson failed to show “one shred of evidence” to support his claims.
Extracts from the online conversation between Mr Bryson and Mr McKay, plus fellow Sinn Fein man Thomas O’Hara, were obtained by the Irish News last week, sparking the current furore.
In Friday’s News Letter, Mr Bryson said Sinn Fein members may have leaked the messages themselves. He also suggested the National Crime Agency could have been behind it.
In a statement on Friday afternoon, Mr Bryson re-stated his position.
“I wish to place on record that I was, in no shape or form, the leak of this back channel,” he said.
“I suspect there is a more sinister agenda behind that particular issue.
“Nevertheless, I in no way regret my engagement in such communications and furthermore I believe that it benefitted me and assisted my preparations for my appearance before the committee...
“I am as opposed to Sinn Fein as I ever was.
“My enemy’s enemy was never my friend, but rather a useful tool in my pursuit of a vital public interest story.”
He said that he would be making no further comment.