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Dotcom: A systematic cover-up by police and spies

Wednesday 20 Mar 2013 10:14a.m.

The Dotcom cover-up

It is sad to say, but it is becoming increasingly clear there was a cover-up by our spies and the police in the Dotcom scandal.

I want to make my opinion perfectly clear here: the police and spies are donkey-deep in bureaucratic butt-covering of the highest order.

I base this on a reading of the email trails between police and spies as seen in my story last night.

Sadly, it appears that when they weren't going around using the odd nickname/codename "Billy Big Steps", there was a systematic and therefore disgraceful cover-up.

The police and spies appear so arrogant they covered-up their illegal spying from everyone in the country from the Prime Minister down.

It is just plain wrong.

Even those out there who don't like Dotcom should be concerned that the police and spies were, in the own words of one of the police officers on the case "a bunch of clowns walking roughshod over the law".

The spy agency the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and the police Organised and Financial Crime Agency (OFCANZ) appear to be in cahoots in trying to cover up an almighty blunder.

It is quite simple and it works like this: spying on New Zealand residents is illegal. It is a basic rule. It is in the GCSB's own law.

Now on December 16, 2011, the spying started.

ON THAT SAME DAY, the officer in charge of the case, Detective Inspector Grant Wormald personally received documentation showing Dotcom was a "Resident".

I have that documentation on my desk right now.

So if he didn't realise then, from then on, alarm bells should have rung for Wormald at a mention of the no-spying-on-residents rule.

Worse for Wormald, on January 11 - while the spying was still going on - police received the entire immigration file for Dotcom, which made it even clearer he was a resident.

These new dates are incredibly damning because they potentially show authorities knew the spying was illegal while it was going on - meaning police and spies could have stopped, but they didn't.

Wormald must come clean and tell New Zealanders why he never realised the spying was illegal - or admit his part in the cover-up.

The documents that Labour obtained in the Court of Appeal also show the GCSB also knew from February 20 that Dotcom was a NZ resident - thanks to reading media reports.

The GCSB confirmed this on February 22.

  • So the cover-up could have been for nine months (if Wormald turned a blind eye in December 2011).
  • The cover-up could have been for eight months (if police turned blind eye in January 2012).
  • And the cover-up was definitely for seven months (from when the GCSB learned in February).

The documents show the crisis that ensued from February when the illegal spying was widely realised.

After a flurry of worried emails, the GCSB's legal adviser Hugh Wolfensohn came up with a wrong definition of the GCSB's law - that made it appear as if the spying was OK, and everybody relaxed.

Wolfensohn said the law applied to "permanent residents", but Kim Dotcom was a "resident" - and therefore it was OK.

Now this was pure nonsense - the law didn't work this way, but it stopped the panic.

Why did Wolfensohn do this? He was a lawyer, he'd been at the GCSB for 25 years, most of that time as its chief legal adviser, and was no doubt involved in the actual drafting of the law he got wrong.

That makes no sense either - although one explanation is that it was an attempt at a cover-up.

Like Wormald, Wolfensohn must come clean to New Zealanders and explain how he got it so wrong - or admit he was part in the cover-up.

Labour has always attacked John Key with the "how could you not know" line.

Well the sickening truth now is that there may have been a cover-up by the police and spies - so Key didn't know, and neither did anybody else.

 
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