Spy ‘revelations’ a flood or a trickle?

Yesterday John Key tried to pre-empt the flood of spy revelations due today. TVNZ reported:

PM: Discount massively everything Nicky Hager says today

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.

#snowdenNZ : Leaked documents show New Zealand spies on its Pacific friends and sends the data to the US

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.

Also:

#snowdenNZ / The price of the Five Eyes club: Mass spying on friendly nations and sending vast amounts of intelligence to NSA

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.:

John Key ‘comfortable’ that NSA is not spying on NZ

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).

They highlighted:

– 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.

Leave a comment

24 Comments

  1. Mike C

     /  5th March 2015

    Nicky Hager is an absolute fool. These little tid-bits that he and David Fisher are slowly releasing will provide the Police and GCSB with a trail of breadcrumbs leading straight back to DotComs Mansion 🙂

    Wouldn’t it be a hoot if all three of them ended up behind bars. LOL.

    Reply
  2. Its interesting that every other country including the USA has never dared to try and refute Snowden’s leaks, everyone has just shut up and taken it like a man (in prison). Only the Smiling Assasin would dare think his popularity was enough to blatantly refute the truth. Whatever people opinions are of Hager, this is more about Snowden than his local mouthpiece.

    Reply
  3. Mike C

     /  5th March 2015

    Hager’s just spoken to Mark Sainsbury on Radio Live. Hager has a really annoying nasally whining voice that makes you want to switch stations.

    Reply
  4. Ian McKinnon

     /  5th March 2015

    As soon as there is a by-election we have this weasel Hager and his gutless and treasonous scum taking up reins for their mates McCarten and Union Andy. Nothing has changed, supposedly, we taxpayers, are still funding Hager’s security! Bet there is a Dotcom influence here as well!

    Reply
    • I think this release has probably been planned for much longer than the by-election. But expect Peters to try and profit from it.

      Reply
  5. Ian McKinnon

     /  5th March 2015

    Mike C: I would dearly love to meet Hager in a quiet alley, only one of us would walk out, and it sure wouldn’t be that slimey gutless bastard.

    Reply
    • That wouldn’t prove anything other than violence is a poor way to deal with things. It can cause much wider damage than directly inflicted wounds.

      Reply
  6. Ian McKinnon

     /  5th March 2015

    Pete: It would give me great satisfaction, even if I had to pay yet another fine.

    Reply
  7. Mike C

     /  5th March 2015

    LOL. Sean Plunket is on fire this morning with taking the piss out of Nicky Hager. He just described Hager as having become:-
    “A tacky tabloid journalist, who always promises so much, but delivers little”.

    Reply
  8. What is it about ‘Teflon John’ that makes you Tories WORSHIP the ground he walks on ?
    I just don’t see it.. all I see is; Lies, Misinformation & B-S
    “I wasn’t told”, “I wasn’t there”, “I didn’t see it” & “nothing to see here”.. for a person who is ‘so beloved’ & ‘so smart’ he sounds totally befuddled to me !

    Reply
    • traveller

       /  5th March 2015

      Zedd, you say people are “worshipping” Key, yet I see the left to be more than a little captivated by Hager. Compared to Key, Hager delivers nothing of any tangible value to this country. He’s enriched himself by using stolen documents time and time again. I see him as a treasonous, dangerous, horrid little man who is close on a traitor, endangers us and anything he does offer is always carefully politically orchestrated and without balance.

      Reply
      • NO, I said the ‘ground he walks on..’ BUT he never gives a straight answer, he said he would not raise GST, (to balance the tax cuts he gave to top 10%), sell more assets, OR send troops to Iraq. He has done all of these things.
        All I see is a B-S artist !

        & to repeat my question from yesterday; how many ‘team key’ supporters think Prohibition is the only rational way to deal with cannabis ? (your ‘beloved leader’.. stated this)

        Reply
    • Again, Id like to point out that every other western govt accepted the leaks as fact. But not our PM. Without resorting to as much vitriol as Zedd, I would like to highlight that the “reality distortion field” that accompanied Steve Jobs and Apple has striking similarities to John Key and the National party. Its not about Nicky Hager, he is irrelevant (and annoying) in the grand scheme of things. If it really was politically timed, it would have been released in the lead up to our selection on the security council, that would quite likely have stiffed us.

      We live in a benign environment, so many people don’t see the harm, but those western countries exposed to dictatorship, secret police, mass surveillance etc, have VERY strong opinions (im looking at you Germany) about those that continue such unsavoury practices.

      Reply
      • traveller

         /  5th March 2015

        To me this is one issue where my opinion is formed in simple terms. Simple to me is choosing a side and in this case I pick the countries in 5 eyes – our allies – as our bedmates. I come from a position of believing not only do we have a proud history of protecting ourselves from forces of undemocratic evil and seeing that we share similar values systems with other member countries. Collectively, we have too much at stake not to cooperate and protect the freedom we know. All our potential enemies you can be assured are spying their butts off, and though I’m not privy I’m sure they’re not just after metadata.

        Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  5th March 2015

        You confuse two things – Snowden’s leaks and Hager’s innuendo and hype. Much of the latter was false in Dirty Politics and that is what Key is reacting to.

        Reply
    • Politics is all about compromise. John Key is by far the best compromise we have right now. Sadly, he is far from Tory enough, but there you are.

      Reply
  9. Mortense8

     /  5th March 2015

    zed: Are you Hager in disguise? You are as putrid!

    Reply
  10. Missy

     /  5th March 2015

    Surely if the NZ Herald publishes NZ classified information it should be able to be prosecuted. I would like to see that happen. I would also like to see a complaint against David Fisher for undermining national security by revealing information on NZ Intelligence gathering.

    Reply
    • traveller

       /  5th March 2015

      Why did we drop treason out of the law books. Time to reinstate it

      Reply
      • Missy

         /  5th March 2015

        Agree, and why did we get rid of the Official Secrets Act too? Another law that needs to be reinstated.

        Reply
  11. Missy

     /  5th March 2015

    I have just seen an article in the NZ Herald where the Samoan PM says he is not worried about the reports of spying, and doesn’t care, and has supported it. He said that those involved in intelligence services & systems reporting back are well trained professionals.

    So, one of those supposedly being spied on by NZ doesn’t care, that may undermine the attempt at hysterical paranoia on the left about the revelations.

    Reply
  1. The spy is falling, the spy is falling! | Your NZ

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s