Yesterday John Key tried to pre-empt the flood of spy revelations due today. TVNZ reported:
Investigative journalist Nicky Hager has promised a big reveal today about New Zealand’s secret spying operations, but the Prime Minister shot down the allegations before they were even made yesterday.
Mr Hager begins a series of revelations from today which he claims show which countries our spies have targeted, when and why.
He said he had spent the last year working through information collected by ex-US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
NZ Herald didn’t cover that but are leading the revelation charge this morning.
EXCLUSIVE: GCSB collects phone calls, emails and internet data from NZ’s closest and most vulnerable neighbours, secret papers reveal.
New Zealand’s spies are targeting the entire email, phone and social media communications of the country’s closest, friendliest and most vulnerable neighbours, according to documents supplied by United States fugitive andwhistleblower Edward Snowden.
Snowden’s files reveal a heavy focus on “full-take collection” from the Pacific with nearly two dozen countries around the world targeted by our Government Communications Security Bureau.
Information from across the Pacific is collected by New Zealand’s GCSB but sent onto the United States’ National Security Agency to plug holes in its global spying network, the documents show.
Being ‘exclusive’ makes this look like a carefully managed and packaged release.
That New Zealand collects information from across the Pacific is not a revelation, it would have been very surprising if they didn’t.
Mr Key said it was “bizarre” to reveal details about intelligence at a time when New Zealand faced a terror threat. “We’ve got the situation where we’ve Isil reaching out to cause harm to New Zealanders.”
He said he would not reveal details of intelligence but said it was done for “really, really good reasons”.
When quizzed mid-afternoon he said he had no idea what would be revealed. But, pointing to Hager’s election bombshell Dirty Politics, he said: “Nicky Hager was wrong last time. His information is old. I guarantee you it will be wrong this time.”
Challenged on claims of fabrication, John Key’s office couldn’t point to any basis for the claim.
Hager and the Herald have been researching this for months – Hager said “he had spent the last year working through information “. Key is just finding out today what they have chosen to uncover. We can expect him to fight back some more.
Another headline leading with a hash tag followed by a Twitter sized bite, obviously targeting a wide social media audience.
Leaked Snowden files show most of GCSB’s targets are not security threats to New Zealand, as Government suggests
New Zealand’s electronic surveillance agency has dramatically expanded its spying operations during the years of John Key’s National Government and is automatically funnelling vast amounts of intelligence to the US National Security Agency, top-secret documents reveal.
Since 2009, the Government Communications Security Bureau intelligence base at Waihopai has moved to “full-take collection”, indiscriminately intercepting Asia-Pacific communications and providing them en masse to the NSA through the controversial NSA intelligence system XKeyscore, which is used to monitor emails and internet browsing habits.
NZH balances this coverage with a link to something they published in September last year.:
Prime Minister John Key says he can’t give an absolute assurance New Zealanders are not subject to mass surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA) but he is “comfortable” that is not happening.
Mr Key this afternoon said he was “sure it’s absolutely true” that former NSA analyst Edward Snowden had the capacity to see information about New Zealanders when he worked for the agency, but that information would not have come from mass surveillance programmes run by this country’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).
- Key concedes claim NZ data may be accessible through XKeyscore
– Says NZ contributes some information to Five Eyes databases
– “But not mass, wholesale surveillance as people might say”
– No evidence of mass surveillance, says security chief
These claims will no doubt be compared to the current flood of revelations.
This is all going to take some digesting and thrashing over to see if there’s anything damning to New Zealand.
And expect John Key to keep playing it down and claiming things have moved on from when Snowden got his data anyway.
It will take a day or few to work out if there are any remarkable revelations,or if it’s a trickle rather than a flood for Key and his Government.
Or if it’s little different to same-old spying that at the most most people will shrug at it and carry on with their lives, clinging to their mobile phones and tablets to keep them connected to the world wide web of intrigue.