Key’s ‘Speargun’ claims questioned

Documents obtained by NZ Herald under the Official Information Act suggest that claims made by Prime Minister John Key about the Speargun surveillance project may not have been accurate.

NZH: John Key, mass surveillance and what really happened when Edward Snowden accused him of spying

Sir John Key’s story of how and why he canned a “mass surveillance” programme are at odds with official papers detailing development of the “Speargun” project.

The issue blew up in the final days of the 2014 election with Key claiming the programme was long-dead and had been replaced by a benign cyber-security system called Cortex.

Key always claimed the Speargun project to tap New Zealand’s internet cable was stopped in March 2013.

But new documents show development of Speargun continued after the time he had said he ordered a halt – apparently because the scheme was “too broad”.

The NZ Herald has found – after three years of refusals and information going missing – that the former Prime Minister’s version of events doesn’t match that of documents created at the time.

The plan to develop Speargun began in April 2012 under the guise of “Initiative 7418” when Cabinet asked the GCSB to develop an advanced cyber protection strategy.

The GCSB has confirmed to the Herald that a warrant was sought and granted for “Phase 1” of Speargun between July 2012 and June 2013.

GCSB director Andrew Hampton said in one response: “This warrant was sought to ensure GCSB would be able to undertake any preliminary work as part of the business case Cabinet asked GCSB to prepare.”

Details released through the OIA show there was a meeting with the GCSB over Speargun in March 2013.

This was the point at which Key claims Speargun was canned with a press release issued between the Snowden claim and election day saying: “March 2013: PM tells GCSB not to bring business case forward. Informs GCSB it is too broad. Budget contingency funding will be rolled over and used for something else in cyber security.”

But new GCSB documents tell a different story, backed up by documents from the Prime Minister’s office.

It is a detailed investigative article by David Fisher, with a number of source documents included.

Snowden and the Russians

Edward Snowden appears to be more than a whistleblower. Spy and traitor are words that will no doubt be examined.

Posted at Kiwiblog but also of interest here: Kremlin admits Snowden gave them information

In a remarkable interview this week, Franz Klintsevich, a senior Russian security official, explained the case matter-of-factly: “Let’s be frank. Snowden did share intelligence. This is what security services do. If there’s a possibility to get information, they will get it.”

With this, Klintsevich simply said what all intelligence professionals already knew – that Snowden is a collaborator with the FSB. That he really had no choice in the matter once he set foot in Russia does not change the facts.

Klintsevich is no idle speculator. He is a senator who has served in the State Duma for nearly a decade. More importantly, he is the deputy chair of the senate’s defense and security committee, which oversees the special services. The 59-year-old Klintsevich thus has access to many state secrets – for instance regarding the Snowden case. …

His statement outing Snowden’s relationship with the Kremlin therefore cannot be an accident or a slip of the tongue. For whatever reason, Putin has decided to out Snowden as the collaborator that he actually is – and has been for three years already.

One reason for this may be Snowden’s recent tepid criticism via Twitter of Russia’s draconian new laws on domestic surveillance – which vastly exceed any of the activities of the Western democracies that Snowden has so strongly criticized from his FSB hideaway. Indeed, his hosts finally allowing their American collaborator to tweet negatively about Russia – many had noted Snowden’s silence on FSB repression and worse – may be a sign that the defector has outlived his usefulness.

In truth, Snowden was never all that well informed about American intelligence. Contrary to the myths that he and his mouthpieces have propagated, he was no more than an IT systems administrator. Snowden was never any sort of bona fide spy. There are no indications he really understands most of what he stole from NSA.

The FSB therefore milked Snowden of any valuable information rather quickly. He likely had little light to shed on the million-plus secret files he stole. Instead, his value to Moscow has been as a key player in Kremlin propaganda designed to discredit the Western intelligence alliance.

In that role, Snowden has done a great deal of damage to the West. But he was never a “mole” for Moscow inside NSA. In reality, the Snowden Operation is probably a cover to deflect attention from the one or more actual Russian moles who have been lurking inside NSA for years, undetected.

Based on the cases of previous Western intelligence defectors to Moscow, Edward Snowden faces an unhappy future. Whatever happens to him is up to his hosts, who control all aspects of any defector’s life. There no longer can be any honest debate about his relationship with the Kremlin, which has settled the matter once and for all. Putin and his special services consider Snowden to be nash – there is no question about that now.

David Farrar comments:

So Snowden stole information from the US, and has shared it with Russia. Can’t see him getting a pardon anytime soon. He should get used to living in Russia.

Many people won’t be particularly surprised by the gist of this, but it puts a different complexion on the whole issue.

Whistleblowers going to the media or publishing secrets online is one thing. Working with ‘the enemy’ or an opposition state is quite a different matter.

Ultimate endorsement for Trump

Donald Trump has announced he will join the presidential circus in the US. What better endorsement could he have but this?

Kim Dotcom @KimDotcom

Don’t underestimate @realDonaldTrump. America loves a self-made success. There’s a good chance that we will see Donald vs Hillary in 2016.

Perhaps Dotcom can organise a link up between Trump and the Tea Party, and put on a promotional show with Glen Greenwald and Edward Snowden as guest speakers.

I wonder if the US loves a self made success as much as New Zealand did.

BAD SPYING…and justified spying

It’s the Herald’s turn to publish Hager claims on Pacific spying from the Snowden files.

This time spying on the Solomon Islands is revealed, but you have to read way past the shock horror headlines and lead paragraphs…

Surveillance on Pacific ‘betrayal by a friend’

New Zealand spies targeted the emails and other electronic communications of the aides and confidants of the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, a top-secret document says.

…to find belated acknowledgement that  “The main category on the target list where New Zealand officials had clear justification for monitoring”.

The Herald on Sunday today reveals the first insight into the GCSB’s precise surveillance targets in the Pacific. The document was obtained by the investigative journalist Nicky Hager and The Intercept, a US news site specialising in stories about the intelligence community’s surveillance.

New Zealand spies targeted the emails and other electronic communications of the aides and confidants of the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, a top-secret document says.

The document shows the Government Communications Security Bureau programmed a powerful electronic surveillance system to scoop up documents from the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, who has spoken of his outrage at the intrusion into Solomon Islands affairs.

Another on the target list was anti-corruption campaigner Benjamin Afuga, who has expressed concern over the identity of his confidential sources.

Afuga reacted with horror at the prospect of sources who had acted as whistleblowers having their identities known to anyone other than himself.

“People who trust me and have confidence in me reporting unethical practices. They usually send these through email.”

There’s some irony in that with both Afuga and Hager being happy to publicise confidential information but expressing concern over revealing the identity of their own confidential sources.

Dated early 2013, the document lists names that have been identified as the inner circle of the then-Solomon Islands government led by Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo.

Lilo’s Chief of Staff, Robert Iroga, – whose name is one of six on the targeting list – said the revelation would damage New Zealand’s image in the Solomon Islands.

“I’m shocked to hear about the intrusion of the New Zealand government into the sovereign affairs of a country like ours. I would like to condemn the [New Zealand] National Government for its actions. This creates a pretty bad image of New Zealand as a friendly government in the Pacific.”

He may be shocked but shouldn’t be surprised that other countries spy.

More details in:

Can’t take my eyes off of you, neighbour

Why did the GCSB intercept emails to and from Solomon Island officials? Nicky Hager and Ryan Gallagher report.

New Zealand spies programmed an internet mass surveillance system to intercept messages about senior public servants and a leading anti-corruption campaigner in the Solomon Islands, a top-secret document reveals.

They like using the term “mass surveillance” but it’s always unclear how ‘mass’ the surveillance is.

Mass surveillance is the intricate surveillance of an entire or a substantial fraction of a population.

While there are specific claims there are also typical Hager-type assumptions.

XKeyscore would have searched through the South Pacific communications intercepted by the GCSB and highlighted those containing the specified Solomon Islands target names and search terms.

In the case of the Solomon Islands, the government and civil society targets appear to be respectable people working in the best interests of their country.

The Solomon Islands have suffered from civil war in the last twenty years and the Solomons was described by some as a ‘failed state’. New Zealand and Australia were involved in sizable security mission there early this century and again in 2006.

The Government was insolvent in 2002.

So keeping an eye on them sounds like sensible foreign intelligence gathering, depending on the type and degree of surveillance used.

Targeting emails associated with these officials would have provided day-by-day monitoring of the internal operation of the Solomon Islands government, including its negotiations with the New Zealand, Australian and other Five Eyes governments.

Further through the article acknowledges possible justification for some surveillance.

The Solomon Islands went through a period of ethnic violence and unstable government in the late 1990s and early 2000s known as “The Tensions”. This led to the 2003 deployment to the Solomons of New Zealand, Australian and Pacific Island police and military peacekeepers. Most recently, in 2006, allegations of government corruption sparked riots in the capital, Honiara, with much of Chinatown destroyed.

This means some intelligence collection, relating to the violence and militant groups, is understandable. However, full monitoring of the government, public servants and even the anti-corruption campaigner, especially by 2013, appears disproportionate.

The main category on the target list where New Zealand officials had clear justification for monitoring, as part of the peacekeeping mission, was militant groups. The list includes “former tension militants”, “malaita eagle force” and “malaita ma’asina forum”.

This was in the last quarter of the article. “The main category on the target list” was far from the main focus of these revelations, it was only mentioned deep in their coverage, after all the shock horror headlines and lead paragraphs. This is unbalanced reporting.

Some holding to account of spying is important although it can be idealistic to expect spies to be able to only monitor justifiable targets and not see anything else.

Questions need to be asked about what purpose revealing this level of detail serves. New Zealand has been a significant contributor to helping the Solomon Islands in difficult times in the recent past.

If another civil war or uprising occurs security of the Solomon Islands may depend on good intelligence having already been gathered.

Spying bad, except when it does some good is a difficult balance to achieve.

And if the Solomons government doesn’t trust New Zealand and Australia due to revelations like this and rejects their help then their security situation could become much worse.

Surveillance and security do not have simple and clear boundaries.

The spy is falling, the spy is falling!

Does the New Zealand public (and media) have Hager fatigue or apathy over spy stories?

Nicky Hager has been promoting his reports on New Zealand content of the Snowden files, first through NZ Herald on Thursday and yesterday through Sunday Star Times.

Wider media interest seemed to quickly fade, and apart from some devout activists and the Greens there has been largely a resounding “so what?”

Is this because most people simply don’t care about spying, are not surprised that it’s happening but don’t think it applies to them or will affect them?

Or is it Hager fatigue? Perhaps apart from some loyal supporters he is seen too much as a pesky lefty stirrer.

It will be a mix of both apathy and Hager fatigue.

Yesterday the Sunday Star Times featured reports from Nicky Hager et al based on the Snowden files.  See Sunday Star Times – next installments of Hager/Snowden.

This follows NZ Herald on Thursday launching – Spy ‘revelations’ a flood or a trickle? – in what is promised to be a series of reports on New Zealand aspects of the Snowden files that Hager has been given access to.

There was some wider media coverage on Thursday, but little apparent public interest.

Yesterday the Sunday Star Times coverage appears to have been largely ignored by other media. And the public seems to have been mostly disinterested as well. One of the articles appeared at the bottom of Stuff’s “Most Popular” in the middle of yesterday but by evening there was no sign of anything about spying.

This morning Google news doesn’t include any past spy stories on it’s New Zealand news summary page but there is one Stuff ‘Reader Report’ – Spying news ‘should come as no surprise’.

Stuff leads this page with:

REVELATIONS: Edward Snowden’s latest batch of revelations showed New Zealand was spying on its Pacific neighbours.

New documents show New Zealand has spied on its neighbours and allies, including countries in the Pacific. What do you think about these latest spying revelations?

But the only response published is an emphatic “so what?”

The recent revelations by the investigative journalist Nicky Hager that the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) has spied on individuals or organisations located in our neighbouring countries and even allies should come as no surprise to anyone.

Our spy agency is there to spy and gather information from those who are seeking to hide something. The idea that terrorists or criminals can avoid detection by basing themselves in a friendly country is ludicrous.

The world is shrinking daily and decisions made in one continent can be acted on almost instantly in another. Information gathered anywhere can have relevance anywhere.

We need to think globally if we are to combat global terrorists and gather intelligence globally too.

As an ordinary, law-abiding citizen I hope that is what my tax-funded GCSB does. I have nothing to hide or fear and to be brutally honest I don’t care a jot where the spies get the information from or who they share it with.

So it seems that when it comes to real life spy stories New Zealand yawns.

To be honest yesterday I posted links to the Sunday Star Times stories but apart from a cursory glance at the lead paragraphs I couldn’t be bothered reading them.

Has Hager cried and cried wolf too often? He may be guilty of over-egging revelations – be it on dirty self interested politics or spying – that lack compelling evidence.

The problem with ‘The spy is falling, the spy is calling!’ approach is that something that’s barely of interest in the first place gets easily ignored.

A few of the most important and concerning aspects of our spying should probably warrant public scrutiny, or awareness at least.

But this is shrouded in a fog of scaremongering.

Hooton: Snowden should be executed

Matthew Hooton proposes a fairly drastic sentence for Edward Snowden.

Tomorrow in , Nicky Hager and exclusively reveal the high-tech tools with which NZ spies on NZers in Pacific.

@MatthewHootonNZ

This is actual treason.

Snowdon should be executed

These people. Hager and @rj_gallagher, are not “media”, they are far-left activists promoting the interests of NZ’s adversaries.

They’re publishing info on intelligence gathering techniques of interest to China, Russia & #ISIS. That is the issue.

That’s a quick sentence considering Hooton (presumably) doesn’t know what will be revealed tomorrow.

HootonTreason

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.

D-Day versus Key-Day

Tonight Kim Dotcom will have his big time in his own spotlight, an event he calls “The Moment of Truth”. He is trying to place himself on the same pedestal as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden – they have one thing in common, they are all being sought by countries for extradition and prosecution, but beyond that Dotcom is an odd associate.

John Key has created a climate of doubt that it will be the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so media will not just be broadcasting the supposed revelations unchallenged, they will be looking for Key’s response. That was a smart play by Key who has had months to prepare for this.

Dotcom may have sidelined himself by bringing Glenn Grenwald to New Zealand to headline his show with supposed revelations that our GCSB has been undertaking mass surveillance on us.

Greenwald is usually labeled a journalist – and his Pulitzer prize is often mentioned – but he is also a side taking political activist. In his own words in a recent interview for Metro:

I’ve been very clear that I’m not neutral on the question of mass surveillance. It’s dangerous and I oppose it. I’m supportive of political parties around the world that have made it an important part of their platform to work against it, whether it be the Green Party in Europe or the Green Party here, or the Internet Party, or the Techno Pirate party in Sweden.

He has deliberately chosen to reveal what he claims during our election for “maximum impact”.

I think it’s entirely legitimate for a journalist to think about how to maximise public awareness of the reporting that you’re doing. And I knew that by physically travelling here, at this time, when the citizenry is most engaged politically, that would present an excellent opportunity to bring as much attention as possible to these matters.

That sounds more like political activism, and interference in a country’s democratic process.

Key has upped the ante prior to the show, putting his political credibility and probably his political future on the line. Andrea Vance reports at Stuff:

Greenwald says the Government hasn’t been truthful about the GCSB legislation, which passed into law in August 2013.

Key insists Greenwald is “absolutely wrong”.

“He said the GCSB is undertaking mass surveillance against New Zealanders. They are not. There is no ambiguity, no middle ground. I’m right, he’s wrong.”

He says he has documents, including a Cabinet paper, to back his claims. But he won’t release them until Greenwald reveals what he has. And he accused the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist of playing politics, by staging a “sound and light show” with Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom, just days before the election.

Greenwald will join Dotcom at a “Moment of Truth” event tonight in Auckland, where he is set to detail his claims about the GCSB.

Key claims the Snowden documents tell only half the story – that Cabinet signed off proposals for the GCSB to investigate “widespread cyber protection” in early 2012 after two “significant” cyber attacks on Kiwi companies.

But he says that after a year he stopped the work as an internal review unearthed a raft of problems at the agency.

Despite Key’s counter attack Greenwald remains staunch that what he doesn’t know won’t affect the impact of his accusations. He is backing is part of ‘the truth’ being enough truth.

Despite no other world leaders disputing Greenwald’s previous disclosures about other countries in the Five Eyes alliance, Key said: “He’s absolutely wrong . . . he’s releasing hacked information which is presenting a picture which is completely incomplete . . . what I can say to New Zealanders is do not believe them.”

Key looks to be well prepared. It’s not known yet how well prepared Greenwald is to have his allegations strongly challenged. He may have come here thinking New Zealand would be an easy hit after his efforts with the USA, UK, Canada and Australia.

We will have to see what Greenwald produces tonight, and then what Key counters with. Waiting for Key’s response will diffuse the impact of the show tonight.

Dotcom is also going to try and prove Key wrong, but his cases have been overshadowed by his big-noting with international anti-surveillance activists. Whether Key knew Dotcom before he has claimed, just prior to the Dotcom raid, seems relatively trivial.

Dotcom also wants to prove he was granted residency in New Zealand to make it easier for the US to extradite him supposedly at the request of Hollywood.

John Armstrong says that Dotcom’s credibility is also on the line in Dotcom’s last chance to shine.

It is delivery time for Kim Dotcom. No ifs, no buts, no maybes. He must deliver the irrefutable evidence that he has repeatedly promised to show that the Prime Minister has not told the truth.

Dotcom’s “moment of truth” must be a moment of proof. He must prove that the Prime Minister has not been straight with the public, firstly regarding exactly when he became aware of the Megaupload mogul and, secondly, that the intelligence agencies for which John Key has ministerial responsibility have conducted mass surveillance.

There can be no room for doubt. There can be no reliance on the circumstantial. There can be no shifting of goalposts by saying the fuss is all really about New Zealand spying on other countries.

If tonight exposes Dotcom as nothing more than a big-noting charlatan who has attempted to hijack the electoral system, then the public backlash could be withering.

Dishing the dirt on Key in the last week of the campaign may have seemed a clever move when the idea was first mooted within internet-Mana. It may yet be the the final humiliation for the parties of the left in an election campaign that has been turning into a disaster for them.

Key will also be prepared for this.

In founding and financing a political party Dotcom has a stated aim of bringing down Key and the National Government. This already looks like having backfired, with National looking reasonably strong and the Internet-Mana Party failing to attract substantial support.

It’s possible Dotcom will land a big hit on Key tonight, but it could as easily benefit Key and National more than it hurts them, especially if Dotcom’s fireworks are a fizzer.

This campaign circus will make it very difficult for an already failing Labour and other parties to get any worthwhile attention in the final days leading up to the election.

Some on the left are hoping Dotcom will rescue a desperate situation for them. They are betting the election on Greenwald’s cards and have already shown they are prepared to take Glenn’s gospel as the whole truth and the only truth. They are already convinced Key is a liar so will disregard anything he says as usual.

The election that has been taken over by international political activists and a German trying desperately to stay in New Zealand to avoid prosecution in the US.

But voters across the spectrum get to make the final judgement on Saturday. The final polls over the next couple of days may be less able than usual to predict what might happen, they will not reflect what comes out of tonight’s “moment of truth” and the ensuing counter truths and arguments.

Dotcom’s big day has arrived. Key looks confident and well prepared.

We will never get the full truth from either side, but the country will judge Dotcom and Greenwald (most Kiwis won’t have heard of him) versus one of New Zealand’s most popular Prime Ministers ever.

Today is D-Day. Saturday is Key-Day, one way or another.

Snowden leaks – “the worst is yet to come”…

…and New Zealand may feature in some of the revelations.

Spies worry over “doomsday” cache stashed by ex-NSA contractor Snowden

British and U.S. intelligence officials say they are worried about a “doomsday” cache of highly classified, heavily encrypted material they believe former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has stored on a data cloud.

The cache contains documents generated by the NSA and other agencies and includes names of U.S. and allied intelligence personnel, seven current and former U.S. officials and other sources briefed on the matter said.

One source described the cache of still unpublished material as Snowden’s “insurance policy” against arrest or physical harm.

“The worst is yet to come,” said one former U.S. official who follows the investigation closely.

And John Key seems to accept that Snowden leak material will include New Zealand related information. On Firstline this morning – Spying leaks ‘politically motivated’ – Key:

“My expectation is that they’ll get some. I mean, it’s been going around the world, looks reasonably politically motivated, you know. They’ll go and do stuff.”

Documents already released have revealed New Zealand’s role in assisting the US in spying on other countries, as a part of the Five Eyes network. But Mr Key is confident further leaks won’t damage New Zealand’s reputation.

“I don’t worry that much about that sort of stuff. I’m aware of what they do – I don’t go down to every complete operational level, but I have a broad sense of what they do, and if it requires a warrant, I have to sign that warrant – so I’m aware of those things.

“But you know, there’s always going to be good reasons that back up any particular activities we’ve undertaken.”

What might come out is unknown so all we can do is wait and see.