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No One Knows What This Candidate Was Doing While He Was Briefing The US Government

BuzzFeed News has asked three times who Peter Khalil was working for when he acted as a US government informant in 2009.

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BuzzFeed News confirmed last week that Labor's candidate for the outer Melbourne seat of Wills, Peter Khalil, secretly briefed the US government on the Labor party's inner division over asylum seeker policy.

Khalil previously worked as a foreign affairs adviser to former prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2007 and served as director of national security policy for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq from 2003-04.

But in an interview, Khalil couldn't explain why his name appeared in a 2009 US diplomatic cable as a "protected" source. He confirmed to BuzzFeed News that he was no longer working for Rudd at the time.

"I wasn't working in government, no," Khalil said, trying to suggest the cable wasn't actually from 2009.

But he refused to say who he was working for.

The cable, which was published by Wikileaks, is from 2009 and outlines how Khalil secretly briefed US embassy staff on the mood and strategy of Labor MPs and prime minister Kevin Rudd.

BuzzFeed News has asked the Labor party on three separate occasions what Khalil was doing in 2009. A spokesperson has refused to answer at each request.

Khalil is the just the latest Labor figure to be uncovered as a "protected source" for the US government. Former senator Mark Arbib and current Labor MP for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby have also been named in the US diplomatic cables.

Mark Di Stefano is a Media and Politics Reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Mark Di Stefano at mark.distefano@buzzfeed.com.

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