I haven’t read the Gwyn report, I haven’t had the time. However ‘georgebolwing’ has read it and posted a summary at Kiwiblog.
Having read Cheryl Gwyn’s report, my take on what happened is as follows (sorry, this is very long, but complex issues will cause that):
a) On Monday 14 March 2011, the Director of the SIS met with Leader of the Opposition; the SIS’s Security Intelligence Report (SIR) on Israeli issue was included in Director’s agenda for that meeting (we’ll get to whether this constitutes a “briefing” later);
b) on 21 July 2011, in response to the question “If the SIS is still investigating this matter, would you as Leader of the Opposition and being on the committee that oversees the SIS expect to be told?”, Phil Goff said : “I would, actually. I get briefed, regularly, by the Security Intelligence Service and sit on the Committee that oversees the Security Intelligence Service. … This hasn’t come before the select committee. It’s not been part of any briefing to me.”. (Emphasis added).
c) knowing that he had received a briefing on the matter, and suspecting that the Leader of the Opposition had too, the PM had his office check with the NZSIS whether there had been a briefing. The Director of the SIS told the PM, over the phone, that Goff had “received the same briefing” as the PM.
d) Mr Phil de Joux, the PM’s deputy Chief of Staff, with the PM’s authority, also spoke to the NZSIS at this time to confirm that The Leader of the Opposition had received a briefing. He was given a description of the briefing documents and the date of those documents, by the the Deputy Director of the NZSIS on 22 July.
e) it transpires that the way the PM was routinely briefed by the Director and the way the Leader of the Opposition are briefed was materially different. With the PM, the Director ticks off each item on the agenda, and the PM, at the end of the meeting, signs the agenda, signifying that he has, indeed, been “briefed” on each item. With the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader never gets to see the agenda, doesn’t counter-signed it and the director makes a note, that he keeps on file and never gives to the Leader, of anything that needs to be recorded.
f) thinking that when the Director said that Goff had “received the same briefing as the PM”, the Director meant “received the same type of briefing, with the ticking off the agenda items and counter-signing”, the Pm decided that he had a “gotcha” and went on the attack. In a television interview broadcast on 24 July 2011, the Prime Minister said that the Director had told him the Leader of the Opposition had received the same briefing that he, the Prime Minister, had received.
g) faced with this statement from the PM, Goff sought a meting with the Director, which took place on 25 July. At that meeting, the Leader and the Director discussed the briefing. Phil Goff made notes, which said “Mr T Recollected – flicked thru a number of issues which included looking at Israelis in Chch at time of EQ but not dwelt on it. Mr Tucker said he had a report on the Israelis but having now looked at it I am certain I had never read it. It was an initial report dated 8 March which was inconclusive about the activities at that stage of the investigation. I have not seen nor been offered the subsequent reports on the matter.” The director was given a copy and wrote on the top of it “Note made by Mr Goff during our meeting on 25 July 11. This is our agreed position. WT 25 July.( Emphasis added. “WT” means Warren Tucker. Ed.).”
h) On the same day, Phil de Joux, told Jason Eade of the PM’s office of the nature of the briefing given to Phil Goff and the dates. He suggested to Eade ion that it might prompt an OIA request for those documents. Mr Ede then provided that information to Mr Slater, discussed the terms of the OIA request with Mr Slater and provided Mr Slater with draft blog posts concerning the issue.
i) in subsequent press comments, Phil Goff started to used the “position” he thought he had agreed with the Director: that they had “flicked through” a number of issues, but Goff had never read the document.
j) Tucker thought that in doing so, Goff was attacking his integrity. He wanted to put the record straight.
k) the NZSIS received three requests for material about the briefing given to Goff, one from Cameron Slater (expressed as an OIA) and two from news media, in the form of requests for comment. All three requests went to the same general inquiries e-mail address.
l) the two requests from the news media were sent to NZSIS press officers, and were declined, as part of normal NZSIS practice not to comment on operational matters;
m) Slater’s request went to the NZSIS’s OIA officer, who assembled most of the relevant papers (not the hand written note from Phil Goff — this becomes key later) and recommended that they not be released on national security grounds.
n) the Director told his staff that he was inclined to release the documents, with significant withholding, and work was put in train by the NZSIS’s general counsel to redact the documents, to remove material not covered by the request and material covered that was to be released.
o) without going into detail, the documents released were inaccurate, incomplete and misleading (Gwyn’s words).
p) when informed by the Director of the impending released, Goff is angry and asks to see the material to be released. Tucker refuses, so Goff has to put in his own OIA to get copies.
q) Shit hits fan. Cameron Slater, armed with inaccurate, incomplete and misleading information, makes inaccurate, incomplete and misleading comments, which are picked up by others.
My conclusions are as follows:
a) Goff was caught out making a statement that was inaccurate;
b) the PM and his office thought they had a “gotcha” and facilitated released of documents to embarrass Goff;
c) the Director and Goff disagree on some aspects of what transpired and their is no way of reconciling that;
d) the Director released information that was inaccurate, incomplete and misleading, and in doing so was probably in breach of a very special statutory obligation that he (and few other public servants have), which is that he “must take all reasonable steps to ensure that … the Security Intelligence Service does not take any action for the purpose of furthering or harming the interests of any political party”.
From what I know about it that seems a reasonable summary. And ‘mikenmild’, who stands out from the right-leaners at Kiwiblog, says “I agree with george’s analysis”.
I remember that Goff publicly attacked Warren Tucker, presumably presuming that Tucker had no right of reply,
But Tucker gave himself a right of reply via the OIA request, providing Slater with “inaccurate, incomplete and misleading” information that was used to publicly attack Goff. Tucker claims he was “between a rock and a hard place”.