Thank you for writing this piece David. The programme really got my blood boiling last night.
I am surprised that this multi-year research project did not throw up some other useful facts.
How about the fact that Ian Fletcher had signalled his willingness to return to NZ somewhat before the GCSB role came up. I think that you will find that he was interested in replacing Simon Murdoch as MFAT CEO and that he did rather well in that selection process. In the end John Allen came through, but the facts that Ian Fletcher was interested in a return, and that he was an obviously very strong candidate for a senior leadership role in the NZ public service were very much front of mind for people like Murdoch, Wevers, the State Services Commissioner, and externally focused Ministers. That he was thought of when GCSB came up is no surprise. It seemed totally logical. No conspiracy here whatsoever.
I am sure the fact that he had held a Top Secret security clearance in NZ and the UK for many years would have been helpful. That he had done a series of high profile jobs well in the UK, EU and Australia would likewise have been a factor.
The impression I had at the time was that a number of senior public servants were delighted that someone as good as Ian could be attracted back. The view seemed to be – let’s try him at GCSB and see where his career might lead.
I see nothing sinister in the GCSB Director being from a non-military background. GCSB began life as part of the military establishment, but the role has changed substantially. A non-military Director is all part of the growing up process. Ian’s background is perfect for the first non-military Director. He began professional life working with Foreign Affairs, serving one offshore posting. He then moved to DTI in the UK where he did a number of roles, most of which were external in focus. He was seconded into the EU’s DG Trade and again there did a core trade policy job. His background is perfect. There is no conspiracy.
Yes, Ian’s brother (who I also worked with for a few years in Wellington at DTI) was at school with John Key, and yes, John may have met Ian a few times as a result – both as a school kid, and adult. But so what?
All posts tagged GCSB
Posted by Pete George on May 21, 2014
Last night Campbell Live re-ran an examination of John Key, the GCSB, US intelligence, Ian Fletcher. More revelations were claimed.
On December 16, 2011, the GCSB began its illegal surveillance of Kim Dotcom.
Neither the Prime Minister, nor the incoming GCSB head Ian Fletcher, were told about it.
But tonight Campbell Live can reveal that Mr Fletcher had taken leave from his job in Queensland, Australia, to be in Wellington that week, and that he and the Prime Minister met the GCSB that same week.
Mr Key and Mr Fletcher had a secret meeting that has never previously been revealed, despite all the requests for details of when the pair had met during the year of Mr Fletcher’s somewhat controversial appointment to the job.
Reaction on Twitter was very mixed (mostly along partisan lines) but the impression I got is that much of what was shown was a repeat of what had already been aired, with the addition of a little more information. Not a smoking gun, and a lot of coincidental meetings and events rather than solid evidence.
Blog reaction was also very mixed, also along partisan lines in both posts and comments.
Martyn Bradbury at The Daily Blog: Campbell Live Review: Extraordinary new GCSB revelations
What’s the difference between John Key and a Predator Drone? Trick question, there is no difference, both are controlled by Washington. Last nights astonishing revelations on Campbell Live prove how true that joke really is.
This country owe John Campbell and the Campbell Live team a standing ovation for the courage they have shown in pursuing this story. This is true journalism at its finest, not the National Party broadcast that is Seven Sharp. John and Campbell Live are revealing the true story of Power that John Key is desperate to hide.
There was once a time NZ would stand as one in disgust at this spineless subservience to America, we need to remind ourselves that we are not Obama’s South Pacific golf caddy and need that reminder this election.
Karol at The Standard: Campbell Live: Fletcher, Key, Clapper et al
Campbell Live is in the middle of showing a special on the GCSB. It is presenting information never before made public. It includes the US head of intelligence coming to NZ just before Key set up Ian Fletcher for the head of GCSB job.
Campbell is showing has shown how there was a major shift going on in NZ and 5 Eyes’ approach to intelligence.
3 News obviously think it’s pretty important.
Commenters thought it was pretty important too.
In contrast David Farrar at Kiwiblog: The Campbell Live Dotcom conspiracy episode
You have to all go and watch Campbell Live tonight and try and stop laughing.
It’s classic conspiracy theory stuff. You especially have to like the spooky sinister music they played. They say they’ve been working on the story for three years. Seriously? They even make it sounds sinister that a civilian instead of military was made GCSB Head and an outsider was made MFAT Head. Yes Allan and Fletcher were both plants by John Key, so that they could all conspire with the US to spy on Kim Dotcom!!
Also part of the conspiracy is that Fletcher had worked for the UK Government (also in Five Eyes) in the Intellectual Property Office (which ties in to Dotcom!).
This is the funniest episode ever. Please please watch it, so you can laugh.
Comments are more open and varied than the Daily Blog and Standard which have more restrictive moderation.
Campbell Live’s timeline:
March 8th 2011 – Jerry Mateparae is stepped down as head of the GCSB.
March 15th 2011 – Top NSA spook, James Clapper, flies to NZ to meet with Key to discuss ‘synchronicity’ between the NSA and GCSB.
June 17th 2011 – Key meets with Ian Fletcher for breakfast at Stamford Plaza.
July 22nd 2011 – Key is invited to Washington as pay back for this new ‘synchronicity’.
July 26th 2011 – Key side steps normal protocols and appoints his old school friend Ian Fletcher to take over at the GCSB.
December 8th 2011 – A letter states that Key is going to meet Ian Fletcher on 12th December
December 12th 2011 – Key meets with Ian Fletcher.
December 14th 2011 – The Police boss responsible for spying on Dotcom meets John Key with other intelligence agencies present.
December 16th 2011 – Kim Dotcom starts to be illegally spied upon.
January 2012 – Raid on Kim Dotcom.
UPDATE: A more measured post from Russell Brown at Public Address: Circumstance and coincidence
…certainly, the report was principally a re-stating of previously-aired facts. But its new claims were not immaterial.
It also seems unusual that the Prime Minister, the minister responsible for the GCSB, would not even have known who Dotcom was until January 19, the day before the raid on the Dotcom mansion. But no one can prove otherwise. There is only circumstance and coincidence.
There are misleading statements, unfortunate failures of memory, and the fact that almost everything we know about the whole mess has had to be dug out by journalists. Campbell Live may turn out to have grossly over-reached, as its critics insist. But there seems every reason to keep digging.
Posted by Pete George on May 21, 2014
Corin Dann, TVNZ’s political editor, has been called on the resign “as his bias is a national disgrace” and an anti-GCSB protester now wants David Cunliffe to use the GCSB to spy on use the GCSB to track payments to MSM stooges like Corin Dann.
Without any apparent awareness of irony Dann’s interview of Cunliffe has been labelled “a nasty Tory disgrace”.
It’s common for people passionate about politics to lash out at news items and interviews that they don’t like. This is similar to what frequently happens in social media, if something or someone is deemed to be negative to a cause they are labelled as extreme opposites.
There is a good example of this on Labour’s Facebook page where they posted:
This morning the next Prime Minister, David Cunliffe, was on Q+A talking housing, a strong economy, and our cooperative relationship with the Greens.
We’d love to hear your feedback.
Link to interview: Cunliffe: Scrap National’s State Housing Policy (8:23)
Here is one response, from John McCartney:
Right-wing Corin, up to his usual nasty Tory line of questioning and tricks. How much is he being paid to spout the right-wing’s patsy questions? This is as bad, if not worse, than Shane Taurima’s apparent Left-wing bias. At least Shane did the honourable thing and resigned.
Corin should resign as his bias is a national disgrace. His blue tie, blue undies, blue “I love National badge” were all showing and it’s a disgrace to journalism.
About time for an inquiry into MSM media bias. When David is elected PM, he should use the GCSB to track payments to MSM stooges like Corin Dann.
It’s a nasty Tory disgrace.
Seeking responses in social media can be a double edged sword for parties. The aim is to encourage praise to to show how well supported they are, but it can also attract bizarre and extreme comments that don’t look good for the party.
Interviewers are supposed to challenge and press politicians of all leanings. They are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.
I’ve often seen Corin Dann described as being soft on the left (and in much more critical language). That’s the nature of political commentary, disagreeing invokes extreme opposite abuse.
It’s preposterous to suggest that a Labour (or any) Government would use the GCSB to do anything like “track payments to MSM stooges like Corin Dann”.
Even more so when you see what John McCartney has posted criticising the GCSB and spying (he was active on a Facebook page Revoke the GCSB Bill).
Election year should sort it. End of story and end of GCSB.
OMG John Campbell – there are enemies of the state in New Zealand. Quick, urge politicians to give GCSB more power to catch the powder senders!!!! Hurry up and get them do it under urgency – we need to be safe from these spies and enemies that are sending powder to innocent people.
A comment on a blog post The GCSB Act – some history…
It was 92 people illegally spied on by GCSB (or other agencies) and Peter Dunne himself was one of them, Andrea Vance was the other, the Cuppagate journalist and the Cuppagate journailist’s lawyer were the others….
Grow some cochones Dunne and veto this abhorrent GCSB Bill.
McCartney was the twentieth of 203 people to pledge on #stoptheGCSBbill
John McCartney has pledged on 1 project.
And a comment on TVNZ Shane Jones unapologetic for targeting PM’s ‘sensitive spot’
John McCartney · The University of Auckland
Hmm…. bit colourful Jonesy. But we have had had a Prime Minister and his band of merry men and wonen who have rammed thruogh GCSB Laws, masterminded a Sky City CONvention Centre, paid a bribe to Tiwai Aluminium to stay in NZ..better to have the comments in public, than John Key being forwarded the comments by the GCSB. It’s ok for JK to talk about his vasectomy, but when the microscope goes on his sensitive parts by somebody else he blushes.
Methinks he doth protest too much.
McCartney is protesting a bit much about Dann’s interview with Cunliffe. And his proposal to spy on journalists using the GCSB he has actively campaigned against is hypocritical and absurd.
Media will always appear to be biased to people like McCartney – except when media gives favourable coverage to their favourite politicians.
Posted by Pete George on April 14, 2014
Danyl Mclauchlan at Dim-Post has made serious accusations against Rachel Glucina, calling her a “a loyal little cog in National’s comms wheel”.
That’s a curious claim coming from the partner of a presumably loyal cog in the Green Party comms wheel.
Glucina is the journalist who broke the “Winston visits Dotcom’ story in NZ Herald last Friday:
Questions of the week
1. Did Winston Peters visit the Dotcom mansion for secret meetings? Don Brash and Russel Norman have confessed to get-togethers in Coatesville, but Peters was playing coy yesterday when The Diary phoned. Rumours that he went there three times are “false”, he says, but he refused to specify if he’d been there at all.
There has been posts and discussion since then in the blogosphere.
Yesterday John Key accused Winston Peters of having visited Dotcom three times. Since then there has been an unusually concerted campaign claiming Key got his information from the GCSB – which as others have pointed out, would be serious and illegal.
A post on Dim-Post today tries to portray Glucina as a National puppet in Alternate theory.
The Herald’s gossip journalist Rachel Glucina is a loyal little cog in National’s comms wheel so I guess you could claim that the Nats gave the story to her. But would they really give GCSB intel to the gossip columnist? Sure, maybe ‘that’s the genius of it all!’ But I doubt it.
Meanwhile Kim Dotcom is on twitter claiming that virtually no one knew about Winston Peters’ visits so the PM’s information must have come through surveillance. Now, I’ve never owned a gigantic palace filled with servants but I have sat through a few episodes of Downton Abbey and I’m guessing it’s harder to keep secrets in the country’s largest mansion than Dotcom thinks.
And I’m also guessing that not everyone who works there is totally loyal to their boss, and that at least one of them is willing to sell information about what goes on there to, say, a gossip columnist. The advantage National has is that they could – hypothetically – call Glucina and query the legitimacy of the source before they raised it in Parliament.
That looks like a fairly mangy attempt at mugging the messenger.
NBR journalist Rob Hosking asks:
More seriously – I don’t know Rachel Glucina personally and I don’t read her stuff (at least not on any regular basis) but can you back up the claim she is “a loyal little cog in National’s comms wheel?”
I hope Danyl takes this question seriously.
I’ll update here if Danyl comes back with anything to substantiate what he has claimed.
Posted by Pete George on February 13, 2014
Some of Kim’s little helpers have been trying to counter attack against John Key over the growing Dotcom debacle. There’s been a bunch of bunnies on Twitter trying to suggest Key’s “accusation” that Peters visited Dotcom three times must have been through information received from the GCSB.
Mike Smith does likewise at The Standard.
The question I’d like the media to ask is “Where did John Key get his information that Winston visited DotCom three times?” Most likely source it seems to me is the GCSB. I think Winston may have a point about his right to privacy.
The spies have always laced their briefings to the Prime Minister with political titbits, and now that Key has his old friend Ian Fletcher in the job, not to mention pressure from his golfing partner in Hawaii, I’d say its a reasonable question.
Key knows the gallery can always be side-tracked into their favourite, and utterly fruitless, game of Winston-bashing, as evidenced by this pointless piece of puffery from Audrey Young. They would do the rest of us a better service if they also questioned Key on his sources.
I don’t know if Mike still works in the Labour leader’s office, but he should tell Grant Robertson, Trevor Mallard, David Cunliffe , Helen Kelly et al that they should consult with media themselves – Winston’s visits first went public in the Herald last Friday. Key didn’t talk about them until yesterday.
So why is John Key so certain that Winston has visited Dotcom 3 times? Is the Gcsb still spying and passing info onto Pm? Are police?
Time for John Key to explain how he “knows” how many times MPs have visited Kim Dotcom. Who is his source?
@johnkeypm info come from SIS, FBI,GCSB, Police,or Parliamentary Service again – someones neck on the line http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9715006/Peters-visits-to-Dotcom-queried …
I hope the PM not using info provided by GCSB here.
#thinkHoover Peters visited Dotcom three times – Key
More in Winston Peters and Kim Dotcom
Audrey Young: Winston Peters resists excellent questions
Felix Marwick linked to audio of the “interview”
Posted by Pete George on February 13, 2014
John Key has said that Dotcom was “completely and utterly wrong”.
“I can’t talk specifically about Mr Dotcom’s evidence because it’s before the courts. But what I can say is the claims that he’s making that there’s some kind of inconsistency with how we treat things is quite wrong,” he said.
“Essentially, legal documents that are created by GCSB are held in their system and archived for evidence. Raw intelligence has to actually, by law, age off the system if it’s no longer relevant or required,” he said.
“The great irony is, if you cast your mind back to the GCSB debate, there were many people arguing that the GCSB shouldn’t hold on to data for as along as it does. Now these same people seem to be saying `ah well, we should be holding onto this data forever’. They’re just trying to join dots that cannot be joined and confuse people.”
Regarding Key’s Parliamentary statement highlighted in a video Dotom posted Key,saying: “This is a spy agency. We don’t delete things. We archive them.”
Mr Key’s office said he was speaking specifically about allegations the GCSB deleted a video of him talking about Dotcom inside its top secret building.
“He stands by what he said,” said a spokeswoman.
Source: NZ Herald
Posted by Pete George on February 4, 2014
Last night Kim Dotcom tweeted that the GCSB had deletd
BREAKING NEWS about the
#GCSB spy agency and a video quote by the Prime Minister of New Zealand at 10pm NZ time.
BREAKING NEWS: The GCSB spy agency seems to have deleted evidence relevant to my case against the GCSB for illegally spying on NZ residents.
GCSB Govt lawyer wrote that evidence in my case had automatically “aged off” (been deleted). John Key said this: http://youtu.be/p52fx0_MVEU
- that’s from Parliament in 2012.
Govt lawyer: “some communications have automatically aged off. We propose to include … those communications which are still recoverable”
Grant Robertson has picked up on this.
Key must say whether GCSB deleted files
John Key needs to front up to New Zealand about whether the Government Communications and Security Bureau has deleted files in the Kim Dotcom case given he told Parliament the GCSB did not delete files, Labour’s Associate Security and Intelligence spokesperson Grant Robertson says.
“Many New Zealanders feel the Prime Minister has not told the whole truth about the GCSB/Kim Dotcom saga. It is time for to come clean and explain what he knows about the deletion of GCSB files.
“The allegation here is that some files relating to Kim Dotcom’s case cannot be released because they have been ‘aged off’ their system. That is a euphemism for saying they have been deleted. This may have serious implications for Kim Dotcom’s case.
“More than that, it calls into questions claims John Key made in Parliament in 2012 that the GCSB does not delete files.
“John Key needs to answer how much he knew about the deletion of files and whether he authorised their deletion.
“In light of the illegal spying on 88 New Zealanders, he also needs to say whether other files have been deleted. If they have, this calls into question the integrity of our security and intelligence agencies.
“New Zealanders’ trust and confidence in the GCSB has eroded under John Key’s leadership.
“These allegations, if true, will do further damage. It’s time for John Key to be honest with New Zealanders,” Grant Robertson says.
Key needs to deal with this quickly. It needs to be determined if this is a valid and serious allegation or if it is playing politics.
It’s also possible that the deletions have occurred after Key made his statement in Parliament, but this needs to be addressed and clarified by Key.
@KimDotcom ‘s GCSB claims wrong. Legal doc’s archived forever. By law raw intel’ aged off the system if no longer relevant or req’d
“Aged off” = deleted.
Key is citing:
23 Destruction of irrelevant records obtained by interception
(1) Every person who intercepts any communication under section 16 or under an interception warrant or a access authorisation must, as soon as practicable after the interception, destroy any copy that he or she may make of the communication, or any part of the communication, and any record, whether in writing or otherwise, of the information obtained by that interception, except to the extent permitted by section 25 or to the extent that the information recorded in the copy or record relates directly or indirectly to—
- (a) the protection or advancement of 1 or more of the interests specified in section 7; or
(2) Every person commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 who knowingly fails to comply with subsection (1).
Posted by Pete George on February 4, 2014
Labour may have created huge problems for themselves should they lead the next Government. They chose to take a political approach to the GCSB bill rather than follow the convention of cross-party cooperation with legislation on national security.
They have promised to dump the new bill and base any replacement law on an inquiry.
The current law is not much different to the previous 2003 act put in place and used by Helen Clark’s government. If Labour lead government again after next year’s election they will either have to stick with something similar to what we have now, and similar to what was supported by all major parties over the last decade, or they will have to make radical changes to how we use the GCSB and SIS.
The latter is the expectation of many activists on the left. There are calls (from a minority) to dump the GCSB altogether.
This Act has a short lifetime.
I think that we should have a serious look at killing the GCSB at the same time. Throughout this debate I haven’t heard of *anyone* giving some coherent reasons for the retention of their excessive budget or what return we have or are likely to get from it.
Not a single person. All you ever get is fear mongering without any detail. Looks to me like it is an arm of the US intelligence community. Time for it to depart for another country and stop distorting our laws.
Prentice is a long time Labour and Clark supporter but has vowed to vote Green next year. In the same thread he describes The Standard:
The site isn’t a democracy, it is an anarchical cooperative.
The Standard has been prominent in it’s involvement in opposing and undermining David Shearer (by some authors and most commenters).
And on the left wing activist Daily Blog Martyn Bradbury tries to rally ongoing action in The GCSB Bill has passed – if you refuse to accept that, here’s what I think we should do next :
1: Repeal the Bill at the 2014 election:
Call upon every opposition MP to signal before the 2014 election if they will vote to repeal the legislation. Every week until the election the Blogs will post up the names of all those opposition MPs who will repeal the legislation and all those who won’t. We will advise people not to vote for those opposition MPs who will not repeal the Bill. Take the public Town Hall speaking tour around the main cities and provinces in the lead up to the election culminating in Auckland in the week of the election.
This is a part of Bradbury’s grand campaign plan – he’s a paid adviser for the Mana Party. If he gets enough support for this agenda Mana may increase their vote, but that’s most likely to be at the expense of Labour’s vote.
If successful this could cripple Labour and drag it left, something Bradbury and Mana may like, but they won’t be so keen on the fact that it may make a Labour led government unelectable.
‘Bomber’ Bradbury seems intent on blowing up Labour in next year’s election.
It’s worth noting here a Fairfax/IPSOS poll result from yesterday:
53.6% said they trusted the Government to protect their right to privacy whilst maintaining national security.
If Labour survive the election blast they then have to try and cobble together a coalition with Greens and Mana, who both oppose the bill and oppose the GCSB. That could result in some fiery negotiations.
If Greens and Mana (and perhaps NZ First) manage to agree to coalition deals that survive this then Labour’s promised inquiry (unless they simply let the inquiry in 2015 required by the new law) could be a political minefield.
If the inquiry recommends retaining the GCSB and SIS similar to how they are now would Labour have to get support from National to fulfil their promises? It’s hard to see Greens and Mana voting for it, that would blow up those parties.
And Labour can’t hope that the GCSB will just fade away from public interest. The new legislation requires a 2015 inquiry, so if they do nothing else about the GCSB that will come up anyway.
Labour chose what they thought was a populist political approach to the bill that has just been passed.
It’s hard to see them winning a popularity contest over this over the next two years. They have turned their backs on the half of the voters who support GCSB security. And they will find it very difficult to please the hard left.
Labour seem to be caught in a minefield laid by their own strange strategies.
Posted by Pete George on August 22, 2013
John Key is reported to be “puzzled” by concerns expressed by ministers about their phone calls and emails being trawled by the Henry inquiry. Radio New Zealand report:
The Prime Minister is puzzled about why any of his ministers feel the need to complain about the way their information was handled by the Henry inquiry.
A number of ministers expressed disquiet over the way some of their information was handled.But Mr Key questioned why any minister would be worried, because being trusted not to leak to the media is the least he expects from his executive.
Having an inquiry that complies with the law and parliamentary conventions, and that doesn’t make accusations that leads to a minister resigning despite presenting no evidence is the least his Ministers should expect from Key.
Key has previously said that no Ministers complained to him about the terms of the inquiry when they became known.
What Key fails to understand is that when he announced the terms of the inquiry no Ministers (except possibly one) would have suspected that it would involve their own communications being examined. And they wouldn’t have suspected a witch-hunt.
Unlike Key some Ministers are aghast at the way the inquiry seemed to make a conclusion of guilt based on very questionable reasoning, and then pursue evidence without having any regard for the legality of the data gathering or whether it complied with Parliamentary rules and conventions.
ODT reports Leak inquiry ‘chilling’ – Collins.
Justice Minister Judith Collins says it was “chilling” to discover that the David Henry inquiry into the GCSB report leak had treated the privacy of ministers’ and staff information in a “contemptuous way”.
Police Minister Anne Tolley told Mr Henry she was surprised that Mr Henry did not seek the advice of Speaker David Carter to clarify rules about parliamentary privilege.
“With 20-20 hindsight that might have been a wise thing to do,” Mr Henry said but he had assumed that Parliamentary Service, which reported to the Speaker, knew the rules.
Act leader John Banks suggested during his line of questioning that the Henry inquiry had “trampled on the rights and freedoms of Members of Parliament and the fourth estate in a very cavalier manner.”
Worse than trampling on the rights of Ministers in a cavalier and contemptuous way, many are aghast that the inquiry would smear a journalist and the leader of a party with innuendo, and would effectively make very obvious accusations against a minister without having any evidence to back up it’s case.
Gerry Brownlee said it appeared Mr Dunne had been denied natural justice, by relying on his privilege as an MP but facing a report which criticised him.
The Henry inquiry seemed to decide guilt early in their inquiry based on nothing of substance, and then set about trying to obtain evidence that backed up their guess while ignoring any other possibility.
It’s easy to see why Ministers would have major concerns in retrospect.
It is Key’s apparent blindness to this that is puzzling.
Posted by Pete George on August 22, 2013
Fairfax-IPSOS poll on the GCSB Bill:
- Very Concerned – 29.8%
- Somewhat Concerned 21.7%
- Little Concerned 23.8%
- Not Concerned 24.15
That’s a good scientific poll getting a range of views.
Stuff also has an online poll – these can be notoriously inaccurate as they are self selecting, but on this topic it may give a good indication:
Do you know what is in the GCSB bill?
- Yes I’ve read the bill 18.6%
- Haven’t read it but I’ve been told about the main points 30%
- I’ve got a general idea 33.1%
- I don’t know what’s in the bill 18.4%
Total: about 4800 votes
People not interested in the GCSB bill and not knowing about it are less likely to have participated in the online poll.
For a useful comparison of the current (2003) and probable new bills see The GCSB Law at Kiwiblog.
Posted by Pete George on August 21, 2013