Spy agency overhaul 'damage control'
Tue, 02 Oct 2012 5:36a.m.
The Government's overhaul of its spy agency is being described as "nothing more than an internal audit".
Labour leader David Shearer says seconding cabinet secretary Rebecca Kitteridge to oversee the shake-up of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) means Prime Minister John Key's role will be covered up.
"This move is simply damage control," Mr Shearer said.
"John Key is desperately trying to isolate an issue that goes well beyond the actions of junior officers in the GCSB to the top of the chain of accountability."
Ms Kitteridge is being sent to the GCSB to review its capability, governance and performance after the agency caused an uproar by illegally spying on internet tycoon Kim Dotcom.
The agency's director, Ian Fletcher, is reviewing what happened and Mr Key says he's looking for who is responsible.
"I would expect people to be held to account," he said at his post-cabinet press conference yesterday.
Asked whether that meant people could lose their jobs, he said it wasn’t up to him.
"They may do, that's up to the director."
The GCSB didn't know Dotcom was a resident when it spied on from December 16 to January 20, the day he was arrested on allegations of copyright piracy.
The agency is forbidden by law to spy on citizens or residents.
An investigation by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security, Paul Neazor, found the police and the GCSB were confused about Dotcom's status and didn't consider the implications of a 2009 immigration law change.
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3/10/2012 12:18:09 a.m.
I do get that you are an extremist michael, but two wrongs dont make a right.
John Banks doesnt get to get off because Winston got off.
The New Zealand government doesnt get to break the law in pursuit of a criminal, or the end result will be that the so called criminal will be let off.
We have rules for a reason.
He hasnt actually been convicted of anything in New Zealand michael, which means that he is accused not convicted.
If you argue that he has former convictions then you are also arguing that National and ACT knowingly accepted the proceeds of criminal offending, which is a crime in itself under New Zealand law.
I have voted National all my life, but that doesnt mean I have to accept John Key and his double standards and his avoidance of the major issues of his and Bill English's involvement and whether other agencies were involved and reporting to the Prime Minister.
2/10/2012 7:03:39 p.m.
The Key issue is that when in August Bill English as Acting PM after being informed of the illegality of GCSB's actions signed a Ministerial Certificate on behalf of John Keys prohibiting disclosure of information from the GCSB what was he covering up. Was it the illegality of the action ,was it the authorisation by the Minister whilst unaware of the legal position of the GCSB undertaking the unlawful actions or what?
In this regard it is significant that neither the investigation by the Inspector General nor the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet can be said to be inderpendent inquiries and that neither of theset two inquiries focuses on the role of John Key as Minister nor the role of Bill English as Acting Minister in respect of or to the illegal actions.
Also it should be noted with respect to the August cover up that any disclosure of Ministerial involvement in the decision to illegally assist the policie could result in legal liability under aAdministrative Law.
Regardless this whole affair discloses the inadequacy of the protections afforded to citizens against the unreasonable encroachment of security agencies into their private lives.
It also reveals that until such time as an independent enquiry into all aspects of this affair including those involving the Minister and acting Minister that there will remain many unanswered questions.Smoke screens are not enough.
2/10/2012 6:46:56 p.m.
As a comparison to the fee we paid for a lawyer to prevent the Judicial Conduct Commissioner's suggested investigation into the conduct of Bill Wilson and Alan Galbraith (squeaky clean) -$475,000: There was a guy, wheelchair-bound, who wasn't entitled to a food grant, so he went on hunger-strike. How is he?
2/10/2012 4:57:58 p.m.
Stop Key's Zombie Army wrote:
If Phil Goff was the prime minister none of this would have happened.
2/10/2012 3:14:26 p.m.
I cant believe the PM just said that. The SIS needs a ministerial warrant for spying on NZers
2/10/2012 3:10:09 p.m.
While we are on the goose chase, how about investigate the GCSB's involvement in 2005 where parlimentry emails were turning up in Labour in-boxes without being sent?Oh wait, the govenrment of the day had a vested interest in that illegal action and nothing was proven because they were even less open then than now.But it was interesting that National changed their security arrangements to stop sending emails using parlimentary emails as they considered the system un-secure, and those same email leaks dried up. Given who was in charge of security, and who was getting the emails, that smelt more fishy than any of these wild conspiracy dotcrim is alledging.So we have the GCSB had survelliance of several Megaupload individuals, including dotcrim who had residency. They were still investigating the enitity of Megaupload, which has no residency. If dotcrim had been more abiding of law, like US copyright laws, then it wouldn't have been an issue. Oh wait, dotcrim doesn't think he needs to abide by any law and can buy his way and lawyer his way out of any trouble.
2/10/2012 9:59:54 a.m.
@Wiseacre. But you can't, at least economically, investigate the Solicitor General now that he's a judge. Even when the Commissioner wanted to investigate Bill Wilson we had to pay $475,000 legal fees and the result was he wasn't allowed to be investigated! It would be way too expensive. The sort of dough required would be better put into Starship Hospital
2/10/2012 9:24:35 a.m.
A FULL INDEPENDENT inquiry is needed. I hope Dotcom sues. It will be harder to hide the truth then.
2/10/2012 8:47:39 a.m.
As a traditional National Party supporter I do not support John Key or his approach to this issue or many other including his most recent scandals with the GCSB and John Banks.
I watched the man when he first entered parliament and he was challenging Clark and Peters on the Owen Glenn fiasco.
However it would seem that John Key has some pretty major double standards, he wont do anything about John Banks and he wont assure the New Zealand public of a great many things including whether or not other spy agencies like the SIS were involved in the Dotcom matter or whether the briefed him before he says he knew.
He also wont assure us that he has control of the countries intelligence services, and I think that is mainly because if he had to take responsibility he wouldnt be able to continually deny everything.
2/10/2012 8:07:01 a.m.
Mike B wrote:
Mr. Shearer, at least Mr. Key is doing something about this problem. All you have done is whinged and whined. You have not shown one bit of leadership qualities and will therefore keep Labour confined to the opposition. Winston is really looking like the best bet and God help us if that had to happen.
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