The Dim-Post

August 2, 2013

PR dilemma of the day

Filed under: intelligence,Politics — danylmc @ 8:23 am

You’re the Prime Minister of a small, remote South Pacific nation, and yesterday you went on breakfast morning radio and claimed that Al Qaeda were active in your country, thus justifying your new law reforming the state security services. You were roundly mocked on the TV news that night by both political editors. Do you:

  1. Console yourself with the fact that you’re like, twenty points ahead of your opponents in the polls and move on, or
  2. Reveal more details about this supposed security threat to the media, probably to TVNZ to teach Paddy Gower a lesson, thus opening yourself up to accusations that you’re disclosing secrets about ongoing operations for no reason other than personal embarrassment?

90 Comments »

  1. Wow, gotta do exactly what those political editors say! No brained, eh?

    Comment by Roger — August 2, 2013 @ 8:30 am

  2. Brainer, duh!

    Comment by Roger — August 2, 2013 @ 8:30 am

  3. That’s what surprised me… If he had revealed that there had been historical investigations against kiwis living offshore in the middle east that would be one thing. But to turn around and say “we are spying on certain people in Yemen right now to see who they make contact with” all it really does is ensure massively undermine the whole surveillance operation….

    Comment by Richard29 — August 2, 2013 @ 8:43 am

  4. @3 Unless there is no operation to undermine.

    Comment by Alex Braae — August 2, 2013 @ 8:51 am

  5. “…. But to turn around and say “we are spying on certain people in Yemen right now to see who they make contact with” all it really does is ensure massively undermine the whole surveillance operation….”

    There is no operation to undermine. He was clearly just making it up. His whole body language screamed he was lying. He can make such an outrageous claim, because a) he thinks his poll support will stay high even if he tells bare faced lies (true, so far) and b) he knows he can cloak the whole think with the label of state secrecy so he thinks no one will actually be able to definitively demonstrate he is telling a barefaced lie. Something which is also true, so far.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 2, 2013 @ 9:07 am

  6. Our intelligence agencies have been known to get it wrong, remember Ahmed Zaoui.

    If there really are New Zealanders in being spied on in Yemen then chances are they’re just some poor sods visiting extended family.

    Comment by Rob — August 2, 2013 @ 9:07 am

  7. Has Jon Stephenson ever been to Yemen?

    Comment by RuminatorNZ — August 2, 2013 @ 9:37 am

  8. I put it down to race-baiting one-upmanship.

    Shearer: Ooh! Look over there at all those evil asian property investors! (that don’t actually exist).
    Key: No! Look over here at all these evil arab terrorists! (that don’t actually exist).

    Comment by Phil — August 2, 2013 @ 9:53 am

  9. all it really does is ensure massively undermine the whole surveillance operation….,

    unlikely, people having contact with al qaeda will assume they’ll be targeted by security agencies.

    isn’t there a little bit of bad faith going on here. Everyone demands Key provide evidence for the need for these security measures but when he does suddenly he shouldn’t be doing that.

    Comment by NeilM — August 2, 2013 @ 10:04 am

  10. Everyone demands Key provide evidence for the need for these security measures but when he does suddenly he shouldn’t be doing that.

    An implausible statement by the PM that we are expected to take on faith does not exactly constitute evidence.

    Comment by RJL — August 2, 2013 @ 10:08 am

  11. <An implausible statement by the PM…

    Shearer and Norman get briefed on the security agencies. Have they said this is all untrue?

    Comment by NeilM — August 2, 2013 @ 10:14 am

  12. “…Everyone demands Key provide evidence for the need for these security measures but when he does suddenly he shouldn’t be doing that…”

    He hasn’t provided evidence. He has made a statement with no proof. Using your criteria of evidence, should John Key claim to have met Elvis coming out of a space ship whilst he was out walking the Loch Ness Monster but state security prevents him from producing any actual evidence of the event, you would believe him.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 2, 2013 @ 10:15 am

  13. Shearer and Norman get briefed on the security agencies. Have they said this is all untrue?

    It’s not their job to shore up Key’s credibility by breaching national security.

    And if it is true, how is it evidence for Key’s proposed expansion of GCSB? The only way it would be evidence for the GCSB requiring new powers is if any necessary surveillance they were currently conducting in Yemen was in fact currently illegal for them to do. In which case Key, who apparently knows about and apparently as the responsible minister approves this illegal activity, should resign.

    Comment by RJL — August 2, 2013 @ 10:26 am

  14. It’s not their job to shore up Key’s credibility by breaching national security.

    if what Key is saying is untrue then they wouldn’t be breaching national security by saying that.

    Comment by NeilM — August 2, 2013 @ 10:29 am

  15. Shearer and Norman get briefed on the security agencies. Have they said this is all untrue?

    The same intelligence agencies who’s senior management have been consistently demonstrated their proficiency in dissembling / lawbreaking when it suits them, NeilM?

    Comment by Gregor W — August 2, 2013 @ 10:29 am

  16. if what Key is saying is untrue then they wouldn’t be breaching national security by saying that.

    I’m not sure whether you are willfully ignorant or merely insouciant, but you do provide a good chuckle either way.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 2, 2013 @ 10:34 am

  17. how is it evidence for Key’s proposed expansion of GCSB?

    It’s not. But then, the whole issue has already been twisted into whether there should be such an agency at all.

    Comment by Auto_Immune — August 2, 2013 @ 10:37 am

  18. Key’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. I’m amazed the greens aren’t arguing the precautionary principle on this like they do most other things.

    we only have to look across the ditch where about a dozen people are in prison for various conspiracies to bomb and murder on home soil, some of whom trained overseas. But of course that could never happen here because we have very few ties with australia and we’re protected by our shield of 100% pure or something

    Comment by insider — August 2, 2013 @ 10:53 am

  19. “…I’m not sure whether you are willfully ignorant or merely insouciant,…”

    He is doing his usual channeling Pete George thing he does when he wants to derail a thread with awesome idiocy.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 2, 2013 @ 10:54 am

  20. Nice write-up of your book in the hallowed NZ Listener book pages.

    Comment by MeToo — August 2, 2013 @ 11:09 am

  21. Key’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

    Which is why a full independent, properly resourced inquiry and process about reforming the GCSB and its legislation is required — rather than poorly thought-out, controversial legislation pushed through under urgency.

    I’m amazed the greens aren’t arguing the precautionary principle…

    They are. The consequences of the GCSB / government continuing to act in the way that they have been is so great that we should do something about it.

    Comment by RJL — August 2, 2013 @ 11:29 am

  22. @ NeilM – Dunne & Norman were both quoted last night on National Radio saying they sit on the Intelligence & Security Committee that oversees the SIS & GCSB, and they had not heard of such spying that Key talked off. Which is worthy of an enquiry by itself – are the GCSB telling 1 member of the I&SC more than they tell other members? Heads should roll. Heck, just close the damn spooks down – they costs tens of millions and appear to deliver nothing but lies.

    Comment by bob — August 2, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

  23. Which is worthy of an enquiry by itself – are the GCSB telling 1 member of the I&SC more than they tell other members?

    Given that the PM has to sign any warrant permitting covert surveillance on an individual, probably!

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — August 2, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

  24. Option 1 is better.
    Explaining is losing.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — August 2, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

  25. Dunne & Norman were both quoted last night on National Radio saying…

    I missed that, I did see in the Herald Shearer reported as avoiding answering the question.

    Comment by NeilM — August 2, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

  26. Bob @ 22 is exactly right.

    This is where telling lies on top of lies on top of lies to cover up lies gets you. We have seen it repetitively over the last few weeks: No, No, No, No well uhhh turns out we were mistaken so Yes.

    I hope when Coleman goes home this weekend and starts thinking about the Jon Stephenson Afghanistan revelations, he chooses to tell the truth, rather than tell another lie to cover up the last. I’m not holding my breath.

    Comment by Michael — August 2, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

  27. I missed that, I did see in the Herald Shearer reported as avoiding answering the question.:

    Amazing what you miss when you’re not really looking…..

    Comment by Gregor W — August 2, 2013 @ 2:24 pm

  28. It is a good point, though – while Key’s word doesn’t mean much, anything he could produce to support his assertion would be a release of classified material.

    Comment by Hugh — August 2, 2013 @ 6:29 pm

  29. Hugh – doesn’t his statement already constitute that?

    Comment by Gregor W — August 2, 2013 @ 6:37 pm

  30. Maybe? But my point is it’s either one or the other – baseless, or an unjustified release.

    Here’s a hypothetical scenario. Imagine, just for the sake of the argument, that there really is some kind of terrorist or organised crime threat that justifies enhanced GCSB resources and powers. There is literally no way to acquire a mandate for those resources. You either don’t reveal the threat, so people say the resources are unnecessary, you explain it without proof, which involves baseless claims, or you explain it with proof, which involves releasing classified material.

    Comment by Hugh — August 2, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

  31. Actually it sounds like Eagleson and Key are digging a hole.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — August 2, 2013 @ 9:13 pm

  32. as Paul Buchanan notes, antiterrorism is a tiny part of what our intelligence agencies do. And on past performance, we see so few deaths or injury from terrorism here, ie one in the last few decades that I know of, maybe we could afford to scale back a bit.

    Comment by Stephen J — August 2, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

  33. antiterrorism is a tiny part of what our intelligence agencies do. And on past performance, we see so few deaths or injury from terrorism here, ie one in the last few decades that I know of, maybe we could afford to scale back a bit.

    This gets at the tradeoff we are being asked to make.

    ‘Give the SIS, Police and Military access to the GCSB, or have a higher risk of terrorism’

    Except that we aren’t really being asked to make it, we are being told that’s the tradeoff that is necessary.

    As you say though, it isn’t at all clear that the trade balances out even on those terms, ie that it is worth losing the small liberty of everyone to slightly reduce the risk of a terrorist incident (or people smugglers, we mustn’t forget the people smugglers).

    but it gets worse than that though. Not only is the benifit side of the deal being hyped ( OMG terrorism that we will save you from), but the risks are being ignored.

    We know, stone cold fact, that the intelligence services will abuse their power. They do it here, they do it everywhere. You tell them they can do something in certain circumstances, and eventually, it will get abused. That abuse ios the other part of what we are being asked to pay for the small reduction in a poorly defined small risk.

    And we have to do it now! Or else something. We can’t have a full blooded investigation into the last round of abuses untill after we give them new powers to abuse.

    It’s fucking ridiculous, and people who are buying it aren’t thinking straight.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — August 2, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

  34. @Stephen: Ironic that you quote Paul Buchanan, he is on record as saying that there is a significant intelligence threat to NZ.

    Comment by Hugh — August 3, 2013 @ 4:47 am

  35. option number 1. John Key won the last media stare off, he will win this one too. The media’s sought after logical conclusion– of a change in government to a coalition of losers- is just too awful to contemplate for the silent majority. He knows this.

    Comment by Grant — August 3, 2013 @ 7:54 am

  36. @Hugh, Paul Buchanan is also on the record saying the law change is unwise and our security/intelligence apparatus abuses its powers.

    Comment by MeToo — August 3, 2013 @ 9:20 am

  37. @MeToo: Yes, he is, but not for the reason that the threat isn’t there. He thinks the threat is real, but the intelligence service isn’t fit to counter it.

    This is quite distinct from the idea that the threat is overblown or made up.

    Comment by Hugh — August 3, 2013 @ 10:59 am

  38. So what beef does Al Qaeda actually have with New Zealand?

    The only thing that immediately springs to my mind is our military support for the United State’s actions in the Middle East. With this in mind, is further tooling up an agency that is effectively a branch-office of the NSA really the best way to negate this threat?

    Comment by Rob — August 3, 2013 @ 11:30 am

  39. “So what beef does Al Qaeda actually have with New Zealand?”

    They hate us for our freedoms, Rob. So this stuff is all being done in order to appease them. Key walking about saying ‘;I have in my hand a piece of legislation…peace in our time’ etc.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — August 3, 2013 @ 1:11 pm

  40. “So what beef does Al Qaeda actually have with New Zealand?”

    An orgainsation like Al Qaeda doesn’t pause for target descrimination. If they got a chance to hijack a trans-Pacific airliner and fly it into a building somewhere on the US west coast they wouldn’t have a little crisis summit and agree to issue all the New Zealanders with parachutes, but keep the rest of the infidels for a grisley fate. But the ting is, this legislation isn’t about catching Al Qaeda. Everytime we’ve glimpsed the inner workings of the GCSB they’ve been engaged in illegal domestic spying. They want to be able to spy at will on all of us all the time without needing to bother with anything as tiresome as due process under the law. Effectively, John Key, who has concentrated the power of all the state surveillance agencies into his own hands, wants to rule like a despot, complete with his own Star Chamber.

    The United States long ago gave up giving anything but lip service to due process, with it’s incessant drone strikes and unlawful renditions and torture. And that sickness has entered it’s soul, and it now operates above the law, because it has become habitual vice, an addiction to the drug of power. Now our craven American lapdog of a prime minister – the MP for Hawaii – is desperate to do his masters bidding and bring this virulent American disease to our shores.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 3, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

  41. @sancy, god you are a clichéd tool.

    Comment by toby — August 3, 2013 @ 7:11 pm

  42. It isn’t so much your comment that impresses me toby, as your ability to type with John Key’s cock thrust so far down your throat.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 3, 2013 @ 8:19 pm

  43. I was wondering if Helen Clark would get round to outlining what the situation was with the GCSB under her govt.

    So it turns out that the GCSB had been providing assistance to the SIS and police, she knew about it and thought it was appropriate.

    Which implies that Labour’s 2003 legislation did not intent to make that illegal – that was an unintended consequence that only got picked up with the dotcom case. Just as I had thought.

    I certainly wasn’t waiting round for any current Labour MP to come clean about what was going on – how could they now oppose something they themselves had no problem with. Probably no one thought to inform Shearer. Goff and co just kept quiet hoping they wouldn’t get caught out.

    Comment by NeilM — August 4, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

  44. appropriate – and legal

    Comment by NeilM — August 4, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

  45. @sancy, are you homophobic as well as a tool?

    Comment by toby — August 4, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

  46. “that was an unintended consequence”

    Tosh. All the political parties at the time were quite clear that s14 prohibited the GCSB spying on NZers. Nothing remotely unclear about it, unless you buy our PM’s lies. I hear he has shares in a bridge you might like.

    Comment by Sacha — August 4, 2013 @ 9:10 pm

  47. “Which implies that Labour’s 2003 legislation did not intent to make that illegal…”

    As Sacha says, that is complete and utter tosh. We’ve been through this before. Inform yourself, NeilM. Read the Hansard debates.

    All the parties that voted for it (i.e. every party except the Greens) stated over and over again in those debates that the intention of the act was to prevent spying by the GCSB on NZers. End of story.

    Comment by RJL — August 4, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

  48. I am just going by what Helen Clark has said

    Comment by NeilM — August 5, 2013 @ 8:10 am

  49. If your measure is ‘interpret the law according to the PM’ as opposed to ‘read the law as written’ then you have a pretty fucked up view of statute, NeilM.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 5, 2013 @ 9:54 am

  50. I didn’t realise I had a “view on statute”

    If you have an issue of how Helen Clark operated then that’s nothing to do with me.

    Knowing what happened under the Clark govt certainly makes Labour’s current position look a little suspect.

    Comment by NeilM — August 5, 2013 @ 11:16 am

  51. I didn’t realise I had a “view on statute”

    “Which implies that Labour’s 2003 legislation did not intent to make that illegal – that was an unintended consequence that only got picked up with the dotcom case. Just as I had thought.”

    I would call this statement a view on statute.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 5, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

  52. I wold call it a conclusion reached based on what Helen Clark has said.

    Comment by NeilM — August 5, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

  53. “Knowing what happened under the Clark govt certainly makes Labour’s current position look a little suspect.”

    Why?

    All that we know is that (despite multiple assurances that they couldn’t/wouldn’t) the GCSB has arguably illegally spied on at least 80something NZers and that some of this occurred under the previous Labour Government. We also know that Clark seemed (at the time, at least) happy with the legality of whatever she approved with regard to the GCSB. This does not mean that Clark was right, nor does it mean that she approved any of the arguably illegal spying. After all, it is entirely possible that there were no PM issued warrants for the arguably illegal spying. We don’t know any of this detail precisely because there has been no proper inquiry into the activities of the GCSB.

    All of which, makes Labour’s calls for a proper inquiry entirely appropriate and commendable.

    Comment by RJL — August 5, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

  54. Former Prime Minister Helen Clark has confirmed the GCSB executed intercept warrants for the SIS during her Government but spying on New Zealanders “wasn’t their remit”.

    Clark, speaking in advance of the release of her new book At The UN, about her first four-year term as Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, said she was always “loyally and diligently” served by the intelligence services.

    Clark said the Government Communications and Security Bureau acted within the law “as it was understood to be” and this included executing warrants for the Security Intelligence Service.

    “I can assure you that I was always advised that what was being signed was legal.”

    Comment by NeilM — August 5, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

  55. It makes Labour’s call for an inquiry hypocrisy

    Comment by NeilM — August 5, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

  56. Why is calling for an inquiry hypocrisy?

    Surely one of the tasks for the inquiry, assuming that Clark is speaking the truth (which I see no reason to doubt and an inquiry could presumably confirm), would be to ascertain why the legal advice given to both PMs was wrong (or alternatively, why the GCSB was busy doing arguably illegal things without obtaining ministerial sign-off).

    It would be hypocrisy if Labour tried to limit an inquiry exclusively into the GCSB under Key’s “watch”. But that isn’t what they are doing.

    Comment by RJL — August 5, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

  57. It’s hypocrisy because it is clear from what Clark is saying that Labour had no intention of making the assistance the GCSB has always given the SIS illegal:

    Clark said the Government Communications and Security Bureau acted within the law “as it was understood to be” and this included executing warrants for the Security Intelligence Service.

    They expected the GCSB to give such assistance, they new and approved and thought it legal.

    The dishonesty is that current senior Labout MPs new that and have not owned up.

    has Shearer ever said he would stop the GCSB doing this?

    Comment by NeilM — August 5, 2013 @ 3:43 pm

  58. Get your hand off it NeilM – If I read between the lines you appear to be implying that Labour should not be seek to address the failings of past Labour governments lest they be perceived as hypocrites.

    I get the distinct impression you are more interested in nitpicking Labour’s motivations than actually getting the bottom of this festering sore on our democracy.

    Who really gives a fuck why Labour are calling for an inquiry, if the “senior Labout MPs” were involved in the dodgeyness that took place under Clark’s watch then a properly run inquiry will uncover them.

    Comment by Rob — August 5, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

  59. Not only did Clark expect assistance to be given, she and her govt had it specifically written into tHe law in section 8, which lays out the functions of the agency. All those people so keen on statutory interpretation keep forgetting that bit of the statute.

    Comment by insider — August 5, 2013 @ 8:04 pm

  60. Insider – if you conveniently ignore the word ‘foreign’ in S8 of the act then sure, the GCSB is broadly ale to operate with any agency for any purpose, but only if it’s actions support S8(2), that being, monitoring foreign communications, public safety or detection/prevention of serious crime.

    So unless the GCSB can prove it any of the 80 odd domestic spy jobs met the above criteria, then they acted illegally.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 5, 2013 @ 9:06 pm

  61. 8.1 e doesn’t mention foreign, neither does 8.2.

    Comment by insider — August 5, 2013 @ 9:22 pm

  62. insider – 8(1)e specifically refers to infosec or under (ii) supports another agency AND meets the crtieria laid out in s8(2) – note the word ‘only’.
    8(2) refers to s7 (‘objective’) which again, talks to ‘foreign’ or infosec requirements.

    So as above, unless the agency can prove that in acted under these guideines in domestic cases – presumably with enough informaton that would warrant a conviction – then they acted illegally.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 5, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

  63. Gregor I think you are wrong because the sec2 reference is to any of the criteria there, so they can be viewed independently. That means they can legally help other agencies prevent serious crime or maintain safety. It doesn’t have to be Infosec related

    Comment by insider — August 5, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

  64. Insider – I should have been clearer. I agree that the wording does leave the assistance to other agencies beyond the core functions of the GCSB open, but only to the extent of securing public safety or preventing serious crime.

    So again, unless the domestic intelligence conducted can reasonably meet that criteria and describe that in the warrant, the agency acted beyond its remit.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 6, 2013 @ 8:28 am

  65. You should be aware that serious crime has a low threshold of only two years prison. So that covers burglary, aggravated assault, illegally exporting a protected historic object and lots lots more. We’ve been living in this police state for years

    Comment by insider — August 6, 2013 @ 10:41 am

  66. You should be aware that serious crime has a low threshold of only two years prison.

    Sure. But being involved in (legal) dissenting activity doesn’t meet that threshold.
    And no arrests – let alone prosecutions – have arisen from the 80 odd investigations in question.

    Which would lead any sensible observer to conclude that the requests for assistance were motivated for reasons other than those authorised under the act.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 6, 2013 @ 11:44 am

  67. You’re making a big leap assuming those cases were all about dissent. I’m not quite sure how you can do that. lack of arrests might be because they prevented crimes occurring, or found no crimes were committed or that it was better to not charge for operational reasons. Police do this all the time. No charges doesn’t imply no justification or illegal surveillance.

    Comment by insider — August 6, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

  68. The 2003 law made things ambiguous but no one at the time thought that that was a result. Labour hadn’t intended to make the from of assistance the GCSB gives to other agencies illegal.

    Going through all of this on previous threads my conclusion was that senior Labour MPs such as Cullen either lied in parliament to the Green Party or they thought the bill was not written to stop the assistance.

    I opted for the latter and Helen Clark has confirmed that.

    Comment by NeilM — August 6, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

  69. You’re making a big leap assuming those cases were all about dissent. You’re making a big leap assuming those cases were all about dissent.

    Exemplar only. But I am trying to wrack my brains for what else the GCSB might be used for that the review found questionable.

    Organised crime? Unlikely as the police and domestic criminal intelligence deal with it today. Terrorism? Only if one accepts that the SIS does not have the chops to intercept phone calls (which it does of course, perfectly legally). Both would meet the public safety criteria anyway.

    There might well be 1000 cases over that decade that the review thought were OK – but what are the 80 that were not? And why?

    lack of arrests might be because they prevented crimes occurring, or found no crimes were committed or that it was better to not charge for operational reasons. Police do this all the time

    Indeed. But where a crime was prevented one would hope charges of criminal conspiracy would be brought to bear. If no crimes were committed, why the warrant? Probable cause does not seem a particularly good reason to apply for a GCSB warrant as opposed to utilising the processes to engage the SIS. Unless (a) it was a shortcut or (b) it was expedient as the reason could be buried under the trappings of ‘operational/national security’ with no scrutiny.

    Either way, it smells rotten.

    No charges doesn’t imply no justification or illegal surveillance

    True. But no charges in every single questionable example does demonstrate questionable rationale in other agencies availing themselves of the GSCBs services.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 6, 2013 @ 4:57 pm

  70. Of the 80 or so cases that might have turned out to be illegal i think only a very small number did turn out to be. Can’t recall exact figures.

    And Dotcom had nothing to do with Labours 2003 changes, that was about his residency status.

    Comment by NeilM — August 6, 2013 @ 6:51 pm

  71. Off topic a bit, this tweet from Snowdern:

    Americans, this al-Qaeda nonsense? You’re more likely to die in a car accident. It’s just tribalist, crusader propaganda. Live your life.

    Yeah, well not everyone lives in the US. Some people actually live in Pakistan and Iraq.

    Once upon a time we had left wing heroes like Nelson Mandela. Now we get geek narcissists.

    Comment by NeilM — August 6, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

  72. Gregor

    The 85/88 people the gcsb looked at were all residents or citizens. That’s why they were special. 1000 foreigners (or locals acting on behalf of) don’t count as no warrants needed. Warrants were in place for all the locals but via sis or police, so no illegality. Issues covered that have been mentionred by govt were people smuggling, drugs, WMDs, terrorism etc. now that’s not to say some didn’t view themselves as just dissenters, but we have recent experience of self described peace and social justice activists kidding themselves that using and trading guns and ammunition is a normal part of their job.

    Comment by insider — August 6, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

  73. Fair call, insider.

    I guess in the end that the most liberal reading of a poorly worded and draconian law does have the veneer of legality, if for no other reason that the secrecy of such proceedings can’t easily be challenged by the courts.

    I think we still have to question though the efficacy of this agency’s meddling in domestic affairs which resulted in a 0% conviction hit rate for such dastardly crimes.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 6, 2013 @ 9:21 pm

  74. “The 2003 law made things ambiguous”

    Bollocks.

    Comment by Sacha — August 6, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

  75. You’re on the side of the angels there Sacha, Helen Clark agrees with you that the law was perfectly clear, that’s why she signed all those spying warrants. Of course the current leadership disagrees so no ambiguity there

    Comment by insider — August 7, 2013 @ 8:59 am

  76. The distraction for denial on the right about this bill is now completely comical. Rather than discuss the gross invasion of privacy by the self-styled anti-nanny state poster boys John Key and co, they just want to troll about trivial zombie facts from a decade ago. it is sad, pathetic and so very, very typical of National party apologists.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 7, 2013 @ 9:17 am

  77. Nice use of zombie there sanc, speaking of zombies have you looked at the Labour front bench lately?

    Comment by toby — August 7, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

  78. “that’s why she signed all those spying warrants”

    Warrantless spying requires no signatures.

    Comment by Sacha — August 7, 2013 @ 8:44 pm

  79. Sacha,

    There were about twenty instances of warranted spying on NZers since 2003.

    Comment by Swan — August 7, 2013 @ 9:23 pm

  80. So all the right-wing defenders of liberty and freedom are cool with continuing (and in fact reinforcing and strengthening) the mistakes of Helen Clark now?

    Yes NeilM, back in the day the left did have people such as Mandela as heroes. Just like back in the day the right used to champion the idea that the government should stay out of the private lives of it’s citizens.

    I don’t think there would be many who would argue that Assange is not a narcissist but I get the impression Snowden outed himself more out of the fear that if his identity was not widely known then harm was likely to come to him or his family. Regardless of their motivations both these individuals have had a damn-sight more positive effect on humanity than you ever will.

    Its actually interesting you bring up Nelson Mandela, he was labelled a terrorist for years and would have undoubtedly found himself on the wrong end of laws such as what is being proposed in the GCSB and TICS bills had the technology been available.

    I imagine you would have cheered on such actions back then too huh?

    Comment by Rob — August 7, 2013 @ 10:46 pm

  81. Once upon a time we had left wing heroes like Nelson Mandela. Now we get geek narcissists.

    What the hell would John Lewis know anyway amirite?

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/07/john-lewis-civil-rights-edward-snowden

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — August 8, 2013 @ 7:26 am

  82. “There were about twenty instances of warranted spying on NZers since 2003”

    By the GCSB?

    Comment by Sacha — August 8, 2013 @ 7:06 pm

  83. Yes by the gcsb, in behalf of either the sis or the police. The other 60 were unwarranted and involved metadata “only”. Here is what I don’t understand: The IG considered the metadata spying to be lawful without a warrant, whereas Key has said metadata spying will require a warrant. Can anyone enlighten me?

    Comment by Swan — August 8, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

  84. Sorry I am wrong, I misread it. Only 5 had warrants.

    Comment by Swan — August 8, 2013 @ 9:59 pm

  85. Swan – possibly because metadata capture can (in some cases) be passive as opposed to active data collection? (i.e. it doesn’t require a targeted interception, and a lot of metadata can be inferred).

    Comment by Gregor W — August 9, 2013 @ 7:01 am

  86. Can anyone enlighten me?

    It is simply that Key doesn’t know shit.

    Or alternatively, that he has a very specific, narrower definition of metadata in mind.

    Comment by RJL — August 9, 2013 @ 4:05 pm

  87. I don’t even know why I check this blog daily any more.

    Comment by Higgs Boatswain — August 12, 2013 @ 11:21 pm

  88. Because existentialism?

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — August 13, 2013 @ 5:24 am

  89. Because Google Reader died?

    Comment by MeToo — August 13, 2013 @ 8:10 am

  90. 2. Reveal more details about this supposed security threat to the media. Am I right?

    Comment by Daniel Lang — August 16, 2013 @ 5:15 pm


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