The Dim-Post

October 11, 2012

The empire strikes back

Filed under: intelligence — danylmc @ 7:10 pm

Duncan Garner reports:

Prime Minister John Key is facing fresh claims tonight about what he knew about Kim Dotcom, and just what he may have said about the internet tycoon.

Labour claims it has sources inside the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) spy agency who are adamant Mr Key gave an address to staff in which he spoke of Dotcom.

If it’s true, then the timing is highly significant – contradicting Mr Key’s previous statements.

And Labour says there may even be an audio visual recording of the address.

Labour leader David Shearer says the revelation hurts Mr Key’s credibility.

“This cuts to the heart of his credibility,” he says. “He should come clean.”

This is Bad For John Key, but I don’t so much see it as about his credibility – it would be entirely in character for Key to attend an intelligence briefing, make a few jokes about it with the staff and then leave the building and then forget everything his spy agency just told him – as it highlights the awesome lack of accountability the GCSB enjoys. If this tape does exist then they probably should have bought it to the attention of their Minister instead of letting him lie to the public for several months. Instead they’ve leaked to the opposition party in a fairly blatant act of vengeance: Key openly criticised the agency and sent in his Cabinet Secretary to clean house, so now they’re fighting back.
Update: The head of the GCSB has denied that any such tape exists. Even if it does I kind of doubt it’ll be released. The GCSB will have audit tracking on their internal security systems, so that anyone accessing that tape could easily be identified in an inquiry. And I’m pretty sure that releasing security footage would be a criminal offense. What about smart-phones, I hear you say? Intelligence agencies make you check them at reception before you enter the building.


  1. It seems more plausible to me that Key has been lying to the public the whole time, while trying to shift the blame to the GCSB. I don’t exactly trust the GCSB, but we have a lot of positive evidence for Key’s dishonesty.

    Comment by pete — October 11, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

  2. What if,(and I’m just speculating here obviously), Key knew a bit more than he has said, a bit earlier than he has claimed. Bearing in mind the timleline Campbell put together yesterday, what if Key knew about the knew the GCSB were in on the Dotcom raid, and found out it was illegal at about the same time the GCSB did.

    And then he hung them out to dry as the cops come in.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — October 11, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

  3. He has obviously been lying all along but, if push comes to shove, he will just say that it has been in everyone’s best interest because of the delicate state of affairs he and a lot of ministers have been dealing with in relation to Kim Dotcom. He has tried to play all sides off against each other but now it has come back to haunt him.

    Comment by Dan — October 11, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

  4. One would hope that Labour would have pretty hard evidence before going public. But then again….

    Comment by max — October 11, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

  5. Max – there will be no video and this issue will come back to bite Labour.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — October 11, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

  6. ‘ there will be no video and this issue will come back to bite Labour.’

    But you would say that Matthew. Why can’t you just admit you dear leader is but a bumbling oaf?

    Comment by frank_db — October 11, 2012 @ 9:20 pm

  7. And still a smiling assassin, but with a lot less smiling now

    Comment by Dan — October 11, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

  8. What struck me was his response there were no officials (referring to lack of his own staffers present) that was the problem. As though he requires minders to do and remember everything for him.

    Comment by Luke — October 11, 2012 @ 9:28 pm

  9. I am sceptical a genuine video exists.

    GCSB hitting back at the government is a conspiracy theory born in LALA land.
    (Mind you LALA land is where GCSB spends most of its time…).

    I am not saying Key has been entirely honest. That is a separate issue.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — October 11, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

  10. Wow. Looks like Shearer is now a liar. What an idiot.

    Comment by gn35 — October 11, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

  11. “Well done on the youth rates Prime Minister. Please recall the remainder of the list. And what else we know.” click.

    Comment by ak — October 11, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

  12. The anticipatory dribble is disturbing and I must say pretty school boyish in it’s obvious bullshit quotient.

    Comment by Bob — October 11, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

  13. Why would Shearer come out and say there is a video if there is not one. It’s either blatantly horrible leadership or the hard evidence he is talking about actually exists and will come out eventually.

    Comment by Rich — October 11, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

  14. What a load of nonsense Mr. Hooten. Did you see the TV 3 story? Watching Key change his position as he became aware that there might be a video/audio has already produced enough smoke for many to think there is a fire.

    Comment by Sanctuary — October 11, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

  15. After Watergate it seems compulsory to include the “-gate” suffix in labelling any political scandal. But there is a really clear echo of the Watergate debacle and it’s in Senator Baker’s famous question “What did the President know and when did he know it?” In essence the PM is now facing the same question. I have no idea how this will pan out but either Key or Shearer will be gone after the dust settles. Extraordinary.

    Comment by TerryB — October 11, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

  16. what if it was a really smart phone and it came through a window – or the airconditioning ducts, or helicoptered in or was John Keys which he handed to an ‘agent’ to snap a shot of hisself mincing across the cafeteria floor or somesuch. So many unanswerable questions!!

    Comment by CnrJoe — October 12, 2012 @ 7:13 am

  17. I am sceptical a genuine video exists.

    Me too. But the prospect of one possibly existing was enough to get Key to backtrack on his story, so the video’s job here is done.

    GCSB hitting back at the government is a conspiracy theory born in LALA land.

    Maybe. But disgruntled GCSB staff members hitting back at the govt is entirely plausible – they’ll be wildly pissed off with the PM right now..

    Comment by Psycho Milt — October 12, 2012 @ 7:29 am

  18. Ah the good old Labour PR team making the GCSB looking competent.

    Comment by Bob — October 12, 2012 @ 7:39 am

  19. Labour understands such a recording may exist and that it may show John Key referring to Kim Dotcom when speaking to staff.

    “understands”, “may exist”, “may show”

    such a lot of qualification, they’re certainly trying to cover their butts and don’t sound particularly convinced themselves

    Comment by NeilM — October 12, 2012 @ 8:16 am

  20. Told you this would be bad for Labour. See–labour-s-gcsb-leak-revealed
    I have some experience with the tactic of “the tape is coming tomorrow, run the preview story tonight”. It never works. The tape never shows up.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — October 12, 2012 @ 8:22 am

  21. The partner of David Shearer’s chief spin doctor, former TVNZ political journalist Fran Mold, is a spy.

    Huh. I met him just last weekend. He didn’t have a tux, or an eye-patch or anything.

    Comment by danylmc — October 12, 2012 @ 8:33 am

  22. Told you this would be bad for Labour.

    Assuming (extremely generously, for the sake of argument) that we take assertions by Barry Soper as fact, this is bad for Labour how, exactly? Did Key not talk about Dotcom to the GCSB in February after all, or something?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — October 12, 2012 @ 8:44 am

  23. Shearer’s well and truely put his credibilty on the line, all on the basis of someone closely connected to the Labour party who can only claim something may exist and may contain something.

    It’s a bit of a risk which may ot may not pay off.

    Comment by NeilM — October 12, 2012 @ 8:44 am

  24. Doesn’t a revelation that someone close to Labour has genuine ties to the GCSB make Labour’s claims look more rather than less credible? I don’t see the “bad for Labour” angle here either.

    Comment by Stephen J — October 12, 2012 @ 8:46 am

  25. Psycho/Stephen
    You may be right, but how do you think TV3 and others will approach the story if (when) the video doesn’t turn up? In my view, the story will become about Labour’s integrity and competence, and will move away from being about the PM. We shall see.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — October 12, 2012 @ 8:49 am

  26. The Nat’s have done a wonderful job of shifting the story away from the PM’s reaction, to the alleged GCSB mole and his links to Labour. It’s all a bit obvious though, leaking a spy’s identity to a tame journalist. There’s something of the Valerie Plame affair about all this, politicians outing spies for political gain. Nice work the Ninth Floor.

    Comment by I Drive A Jag. — October 12, 2012 @ 8:58 am

  27. The nonexistent video already served its purpose yesterday, when Key had to backtrack on his story. It’s of no further relevance. You’ll note everybody involved has been careful to say a video “may” exist, not “we have a video and we’ll be screening it tomorrow night” – presumably on the basis of “we’re not stupid.”

    Comment by Psycho Milt — October 12, 2012 @ 9:04 am

  28. You could be right, but I doubt the media will see it that way. Fairly or unfairly, I think it will become “put up or shut up”.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — October 12, 2012 @ 9:06 am

  29. 26.The nonexistent video already served its purpose yesterday…

    It might hurt Key but if it is all untrue the Shearer will pay the price as well.

    Comment by NeilM — October 12, 2012 @ 9:09 am

  30. Shearer will be fine, until he says “Trevor Mallard assures me …”.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — October 12, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  31. Mr Key should have said, “I did not say anything about Dotcom and GCSB because I did not know about it until 17 September.” (I did not have sexual intercourse with that woman!)
    But to be noncommittal,vague, adds doubt to his credibility.

    Comment by xianmac — October 12, 2012 @ 10:19 am

  32. “if it is all untrue”

    That’s the interesting thing, isn’t it. Claims of what Key said can only be disproved by an unedited recording or a reliable witness account. The only other options are denial in blustery or weaselly modes, neither of which are going to play well now.

    Comment by Stephen J — October 12, 2012 @ 10:37 am

  33. Shearer did have a reputation for being a decent guy, a bit hapless but decent.

    Making “do you deny beating your wife” type allegations will harm that. He has nothing to back up his claims, no tape. He said he has evidence, its up to him to to provide it – for his own reputation.

    Key will have to deal with whatever fallout there will be, so will Shearer.

    Comment by NeilM — October 12, 2012 @ 10:45 am

  34. Shearer is sounding more like an opposition, asking tough questions, nothing will fall back on him. The opposition can say whatever they want who cares, they arent the govt.

    PM Key on the other hand is increasingly looking shifty, devious, like a spiv, reminiscent of winston back when he was a minister. It will turn to shit for Key whatever evidence of a tape; obvious that the public perception of Key is shifting to distrust.

    Comment by Alistair — October 12, 2012 @ 11:02 am

  35. “He said he has evidence”

    Cite? He said someone from inside GCSB had told him some things. Now it is an awkward situation, but there is no need to make things up.

    for me, the most important thing to bear in mind is that there is a police investigation inot the illegal activites of the GCSB.

    re watch that Campbell live timeline. There are some pretty serious questions to be asked about when the PM knew what was going on, and he refuses to let any light in. we’ve had an initial report done that got the relevant immigration law completely wrong. It looks like a coverup.

    But the most important thing is David Shearer who asked a question?

    Shakes my head sir, shakes my fucking head.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — October 12, 2012 @ 11:07 am

  36. Possibly the whole thing is a rather clever ‘Shearer-as-stalking-horse-for-Robertson’ play.
    Or even better, deliberate misinformation to get Key off the hook via a ‘Labour-as-useful-idiots’ strategy – which would be priceless.

    Then again, maybe I’m projecting my desire to see subtle sneakiness where there is just rank incompetence.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 12, 2012 @ 11:20 am

  37. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Shearer and Mold have committed criminal offenses under the GCSB act.

    Comment by gn35 — October 12, 2012 @ 11:27 am

  38. But the most important thing is David Shearer who asked a question?

    he didn’t ask a question, he made a specific accusation and claimed there was tape evidence.

    This is a direct quote from Shearer on Campbell Live last night:

    “What we understand is that John Key made a direct reference to Dotcom and GCSB’s involvement with Dotcom.”

    That’s not a question, it’s a direct statement. And he claims to have sources with evidence. If he does he’s playing very coy. he’s doing are inept hapless veriosn Winston Peters.

    I wonder what Campbell thinks about being lead down the garden path by Shearer.

    Comment by NeilM — October 12, 2012 @ 11:38 am

  39. @37. Not sure that reporting on chatting in the cafeteria would be classed as a criminal offense. Hardly secret/classified information.

    Comment by xianmac — October 12, 2012 @ 11:42 am

  40. Funny that TVNZ has reported so very little?

    Comment by xianmac — October 12, 2012 @ 11:44 am

  41. John Key hasn’t denied making the joke Neil. All of a sudden it slipped into the
    can’t recall, might have done’ zone.

    Shearer claims to have sources who heard the quip, Key doesn’t deny it.

    If you think outing a whistle blower is the more important thing than finding out how complicit the PM was in illegal spying, then that’s your judgement call to make. Personally, I go the other way.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — October 12, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

  42. @gn35. What part of the Act have they broken, because the section being put about by the Nats refers only to current or former GCSB employees, not third parties.

    Comment by I Drive A Jag. — October 12, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

  43. It would be the opposition’s dream come true if the leader of the Labour Party were arrested and charged by the Beehi … I mean, by the police.

    New Zealand would make global headlines and National would be thrown out of office for a generation.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — October 12, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

  44. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Shearer and Mold have committed criminal offenses under the GCSB act.

    That’s pretty stupid. They’ve made an allegation about the PM – nothing to do with national security.

    Comment by danylmc — October 12, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

  45. The nonexistent video already served its purpose yesterday, when Key had to backtrack on his story.

    If the recording does not eventuate, does this become more of a Phantom Menace?

    Comment by Gregor W — October 12, 2012 @ 1:23 pm

  46. “That’s pretty stupid.”
    OK, lets just see how its pans out.

    Comment by gn35 — October 12, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  47. lets just see how its pans out.

    Basically Key’s problem is that he’s against any proper inquiry. So he can’t hit back at Shearer & co by accusing them (and GCSB staff) of … anything, really. The worse he claims it is, the greater the case for the whole thing to be turned over to an investigator who wants to know what’s going on. And obviously, Key doesn’t want to know. Or us to know.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — October 12, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

  48. Psycho Milt said “disgruntled GCSB staff members hitting back at the govt is entirely plausible”.

    Does anyone find this just a little disturbing? (Irrespective of who is in power at the time).

    We’ve had the MFAT diplomats politicised, now maybe the GCSB playing party politics. Who’s next? The police? Then the armed forces?

    Comment by Rick Rowling — October 12, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

  49. Hey Rick. Herd of wissel blowers?

    Comment by xianmac — October 12, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

  50. “As has been pointed out elsewhere, Shearer and Mold have committed criminal offenses under the GCSB act.”

    Whale oil.??? FFS. That hypocri.. hippo.. you know that right wing benefit bludger

    Comment by frank_db — October 12, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  51. Everyone knows that it’s a CLINCH of wissels.

    Surely this will be easy for key to spin out of: (facing the camera) “Look, you and I know that the knizilind public are sceptical that such a video exists. I think Mr Shearer needs to release the video or risk looking foolish. I’ve said I can’t remember dotcom being raised, but accept that it might have been. I don’t remember making a quip about it, but maybe I did, I genuinely don’t remember. But I suspect that kiwis might remember the video evidence that never materialised, so it’s in Mr Shearers interests to release it and not playing silly buggers with the kniziling public by sitting on it.”

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 12, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

  52. Have just listened to this:
    Can I please say “I told you so?” Please? Pretty please?

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — October 12, 2012 @ 8:47 pm

  53. Oh come on Sammy @ 47 + others, Shearer has died in the trenches over this. Set up, killed, shot. Dead.
    What an idiot, what a pity. Enjoy Judith Collins as this countries next Prime Minister. I sure as hell wont.

    Comment by gn35 — October 12, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

  54. There’s been no follow through from Labour so I think it’s safe to assume this was a fishing expedition.

    No facts from Shearer just demands Key should respond to some tape that Labour says exists but can’t produce.

    I listened to David Parket or NatRad this evening and it was much like I thought. He needs to be more straight with the electorate about how much inflation he would allow and hence what level of income drop Labour is planning for us all. But much more nuanced than Norman.

    Whereas Shearer had turned himself into a second rate Peters.

    Comment by NeilM — October 12, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

  55. The right refuses to discuss the issue, instead it quotes the serial liar Cameron Slater and attacks Shearer. I see the ever predictable Fran O’Sullivan is onto the same meme today. Well, as a response it is weak. It is weak because the public now has a firmly established view of John Key as slack, lackadaisical and economical with his memory. Look at the tripe from O’Sullivan today. She prates on that somehow Labour has forgotten some golden rule of politics, whilst forgetting that it is just as important to make sure your allegations simply confirm and feed into what the public already thinks it knows. The polls have turned decisively against National – the TV3 poll tomorrow will confirm that. All the Nats have got – in fact all they ever have had – is Key. So they are desperate to bad mouth Shearer, not talk about the miserable tale of a lazy minister and his incompetent department the GCSB, and hope something will come up in the next two years.

    Comment by Sanctuary — October 13, 2012 @ 6:42 am

  56. Can I please say “I told you so?” Please? Pretty please?

    Oh. So when you said “the media,” were you referring to ex-colleagues of Key who now have a radio gig, the Whaleoil blog, or both? Because yeah, on that basis you were absolutely right – “the media” thus defined are going to absolutely flay Shearer for this.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — October 13, 2012 @ 7:03 am

  57. Can I please say “I told you so?” Please? Pretty please?

    Feel free, but I think your wee cobbers and Fran already took it as a given. When right-wing leaders are caught telling bare-faced lies and dropping in the polls, it’s almost certainly all about the leader of the opposition. And beneficiaries, of course.

    Comment by ak — October 13, 2012 @ 9:20 am

  58. Hooton making his rounds of the blogs dropping links to his spin on his whaleoil blog again. What a bore.

    Comment by Alistair — October 13, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  59. Read Fran’s column. Good sign actually. If she is getting desperate and flailing, imagine how the Key camp feels about failing.

    Comment by xianmac — October 13, 2012 @ 10:38 am

  60. Noooo! Leave Key aloooone!

    Comment by Stephen J — October 13, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  61. By all means leave Mr Key alone. In the naughty corner for telling fibs… Or on a deserted island..In an empty well with rising groundwater… Alone with Stuart Murry Wilson?

    Comment by frank_db — October 13, 2012 @ 11:50 am

  62. Now that is being mean to The Beast.

    Comment by Stephen Doyle — October 13, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

  63. My money is on National losing the next election due to all this. Well, if I were to bet. that is.

    Comment by Tanya Stebbing — October 14, 2012 @ 1:46 am

  64. Cockup: Key visits GCSB not for any specific briefing and in passing reference is made to Dotcom and Key fails to pick up on potential trouble.

    Conspiracy: Obama, the FBI, Hollywood mogals, the NZ govt, police and GCSB all collude to frame the innocent Dotcom I order to protect the interests of Big Business.

    And yet the only leak from all those people and organisations, if it is indeed more than a figment of Shearer’s imagination, is that there might be a video that might show Key telling a joke.

    Comment by NeilM — October 14, 2012 @ 9:21 am

  65. Jo Key?

    Comment by frank_db — October 14, 2012 @ 9:57 am

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