The federal government’s anti-corruption agency has ducked out of a battle with News Limited and The Australian in a move that sources in the Victoria Police are seeing as a response to media and political pressure.

This is the latest development in the knotty case of Australian journalist Cameron Stewart’s scoop of August last year, in which he broke the news about a counter terrorism operation on the very morning of raids in which four men were arrested, accused of plotting to bomb an army base.