The powerful head of Home Affairs called the deputy commissioner of the Australian Federal Police to congratulate him on raiding the home of a journalist.
Neil Gaughan relayed the conversation in an email to AFP staff on the evening of the June 4 raid.
“Good work by all involved,” Mr Gaughan wrote.
“I also received a call this evening from the Sec DHA (Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs) who is fully supportive of the actions of the AFP and ask (sic) me to pass on my thanks to the team involved.
“Well done – tomorrow is another day.”
The AFP raid on the Canberra home of News Corp reporter Annika Smethurst related to an article based on leaked government information.
With questions raised about his judgement, Michael Pezzullo has defended the telephone call.
“DC Gaughan is a colleague,” Mr Pezzullo told the ABC.
“In the discussion in question, I expressed my compliments to him and his officers on their professionalism and their diligent focus on independently enforcing the laws of the land, as the parliament has passed them.
“To conflate the expression of professional compliments to colleagues with a supposed attitude to press freedom is not an accurate comparison.”