Peters says having phone records was 100% wrong

On Firstline on Friday Winston Peters talked about his sources for his accusations against Peter Dunne “from Fairfax, the institution itself” and “the second one was in, ah, the Beehive”.

There are some important issues raised here, along with some typically dubious claims by Peters.

You’ve been talking about these phone records for a while. Were you leaked those?

Peters (after a pause) : I know what’s in those records.

How do you know what’s in those records?

Peters: Well it’s my job to know.

And how, but, you know, it’s your job to know…

Peters: Well, you’re a journalist, you don’t tell sources and nor do I. You can’t surely be offended by the fact that sources are being attacked by means of improper acquisition of someone’s phone records like a journalist, and then demand an MP give you his.

No, but I’m just trying to…

Peters: This were it all started.

I’m trying to establish whether there has been a second leak of the GCSB report, and also the actions surrounding, whether there’s been any leak from the Parliamentary Service as to how that inquiry is conducted by David Henry.

Peters: Well first of all look, Peter Dunne was involved in five leaks, four to do with the GCSB, and one of those leaks shades quickly into whether or not there is an act of the criminal law or whether the criminal law is involved. It’s a very very serious issue and people are sort of sliding by that. But ah, I can’t tell you what other leaks were going on, but um,

Well, you can if they’re in relation to information that you’re getting about what’s going in terms of that hunt for the leak.

Peters: Let me tell you this. My first source of information was from Fairfax, the institution itself. And the second one was in, ah, the Beehive.

The Fairfax “source” is probably nothing more than going back through publications seeing what was written by Andrea Vance. Fairfax should not have known what was happening with the Henry inquiry, and could not have had access to the phone records.

A Fairfax journalist was being investigated so it is most unlikely they would be leaked to, on the contrary, Fairfax are complaining about not being informed about what was being investigated.

The claim there is a leak in the Beehive is more serious.

It was not Peters’ job to know what was in the records. It would be very alarming if he was given access to records of communications between a rival MP and a journalist, from a Prime Ministerial inquiry.

The Privileges Committee should be investigating this.

A side issue – Peters has not backed up his claim that “Peter Dunne was involved in five leaks” with any evidence. If there is no evidence it can be seen as a baseless attempt to smear, a Peters trademark. Dunne has totally rejected these accusations – see Peters accuses Dunne of five leaks.

There was also some rank hypocrisy from Peters.

Let’s go back to the Privileges Committee, and whether there should be more done about the leaking of Andrea Vance’s phone records. Do you believe that it requires, ah, a sort of a review of how these inquiries are done, and how, and and really, I mean, the so called snooping and spying on journalists around Parliament.

Peters: Well first of all, what happened to Andrea Vance is inexcusable. That cannot happen in a free society, and so it’s ah both, as to her movements and her phone records, that was one hundred percent wrong. But when it comes to  a Minister, which Mr Dunne was, and the Prime Minister has put a statement out that minister’s can be questioned, if they demurred they should have said so, but they didn’t.

What happened to Andrea Vance was inexcusable. Her communication and security records were inexcusably accessed. She was inexcusably implicated by the Henry inquiry.

And she was inexcusably accused and smeared by Peters, in association with Peter Dunne.

In a Q + A interview Peters said “ I’m not going to head down that salacious path” with a clear and deliberate salacious implication.

And saying “That cannot happen in a free society, and so it’s ah both, as to her movements and her phone records, that was one hundred percent wrong” is effectively saying he is one hundred percent wrong if “I know what’s in those records”. He said it’s his job to know what’s in the phone records.

The Henry report on phone records

The way the Henry report dealt with phone records is curious. It states that various phone records were obtained, but that private calls were not considered (a major omission of the inquiry).

But the report provided no details of phone evidence – it concentrated solely on email records…

82. l remain of the view that I need to have full access to all eighty-six emails.

Without Mr Dunne’s permission I cannot take the matter any further.

…and strongly implied Dunne’s guilt with no evidence. And didn’t mention phone record evidence. Bizarre.

Back to the phone record part of the investigation.

The Inquiry was also unable – for technical reasons – to retrieve landline call logs made between parliamentary complex extensions.

And

Calls made between parliamentary complex extensions are not logged.

However it is now known that Henry obtained Peter Dunne’s phone records and yesterday it was admitted that landline records of Andrea Vance were given to Henry, who has claimed that they weren’t used. So these statements appears to contradict what is now known.

Last night Henry said this in a statement:

With regard to the media reports of Mr Dunne’s comments today, I believe that Mr Dunne is mistaken, as  I did not request nor was I seeking the phone log records of Ms Vance.

Dunne maintains that

When I met Mr Henry on the 31st of May, he asked for access to my landline records for the period 27 March to 9 April because he wanted to compare those with Andrea Vance’s records.

And

Despite Henry’s denial tonight, I stand 100% by my comments.

Dunne’s claims have been consistent over the past month.

The story about what phone records were asked for by or provided to Henry has changed dramatically. On Friday the Speaker said Henry requested Vance’s phone logs but was refused them, yesterday it had flip flopped to Henry saying he didn’t ask for them but was given them.

Details concerning phone records:

58. 0fficial telephone billing records (land lines and mobiles) relating to the same people were also obtained for the crucial period although inevitably some calls outside that exact period appeared in those billing records. The telephone bills identified the call made, the number called and the duration. Calls made between parliamentary complex extensions are not logged. Building access records were also examined where necessary.

We know that phone data was sought and provided.

59. For completeness I record that I had no access, nor did I seek any access, to private email providers or private telephones.

The possibility that the leaker had contact with Vance outside the parliamentary communication systems is totally ignored.

60. The records obtained were then analysed and contacts of interest identified for further analysis. After extensive checks the only contacts that required further explanation were those with the reporter.

Contacts with the Dominion Post reporter

61 .The analysis identified three people who:
c. had been in contact with the reporter through official telephone or email systems during the period 22 March to 9 April.

76. Mr Dunne has advised me that he has frequent contact with the reporter including communications by telephone, text, email and in person. That contact has continued during the period 27 March to 9 April.

Email and phone contact between Dunne and Vance has never been disputed.

Appendix Three: Processes used in the Inquiry

What records were requested?

For every person of interest to the lnquiry, the records requested consisted of logs showing print, photocopy, scan activity, and logs showing emails sent and received from their work email addresses, outgoing mobile calls from work mobile phones, and landline calls to specific numbers of interest.

What records were received?

7 The Inquiry received nearly every record it requested. There were some exceptions. Logs showing photocopying activity are not captured by DPMC or Ministerial Services; DPl\/IC staff must ‘swipe’ to use a photocopying machine, but photocopying activity is not logged. Ministers’ offices do not ‘swipe‘ to use printing devices, and so no attributable record is made when a document is photocopied.

8. The Inquiry was also unable – for technical reasons – to retrieve landline call logs made between parliamentary complex extensions. We were able to identify calls made from the parliamentary complex to external landlines and mobiles.

Phase two: Analysis and elimination

9. The Inquiry used the records, along with the information gained from interviews, to narrow the list of individuals that we intended to look at in more detail. We identified those individuals who:

c. Had been in contact with the reporter through official telephone or email systems during the period 22 March to 9 April.

Phase three: Follow-up interviews and the collection of more detailed records

12. Subsequent to the analysis and elimination, the Inquiry focussed on three individuals of interest. Additional records were requested in order to build a better picture of individuals’ contacts with the reporter. These records included the content of specific emails, and in some cases building access records. These access records show a person’s entry and exit into the Parliamentary complex, including Bowen House.

The last point says “Additional records were requested” but does not mention phone records. However it is now known that Peter Dunne’s landline and mobile phone records were obtained.

It is now also known that Andrea Vance’s phone records were given to Henry – but after saying they were requested last week Henry now says he didn’t request them, but Dunne believes that Henry implied he did.

In fairness to Henry what appears to have happened is last week Parliamentary Services advised the Speaker Vance’s phone records had been requested but not provided, and after that henry contacted Henry to say he hadn’t requested the records but had received them.

But it would appear to be Parliamentary Services and Dunne versus Henry on this. For now.

And bizarrely, the Henry report did not detail phone records nor claim they proved anything. They could not prove anything at all, they were simply a record of contact, not a record of what was said.

Like the emails that Henry used to condemn Dunne – a record of contact only, no proof of anything.

The report seems to have been shoddy, a travesty of justice – and getting murkier by the revelation.

Peter Dunne versus David Henry on Vance’s phone records

I have known about Peter Dunne’s claim that the Henry inquiry accessed both Dunne’s and Andre Vance’s phone data for a month. On 29 June he told me via email:

He certainly checked both our office landline records through the Parliamentary system, because he told me.

Peter Dunne tonight…

…told Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint programme on Tuesday that his conversation with David Henry implied that Mr Henry would be accessing Andrea Vance’s phone records, as well as his own.

When I met Mr Henry on the 31st of May, he asked for access to my landline records for the period 27 March to 9 April because he wanted to compare those with Andrea Vance’s records.

David Henry:

Statement from David Henry in relation to the Henry Inquiry

The Inquiry I led never requested the phone records of journalist Ms Andrea Vance.  The Inquiry recorded this fact immediately the information was received.

“Quite simply, we did not request this information; we did not access this information; and consequently we did not use it in any way”, Mr Henry said.

I welcome the confirmation by the Speaker that the Inquiry had not requested Ms Vance’s telephone records.

With regard to the media reports of Mr Dunne’s comments today, I believe that Mr Dunne is mistaken, as  I did not request nor was I seeking the phone log records of Ms Vance.

I am currently overseas and not available for further comment at this stage.

Dunne:

Despite Henry’s denial tonight, I stand 100% by my comments.

There’s a possibility there is a different interpretation of how the conversation went between Dunne and Henry, but Dunne has been clear and consistent whenever he has told me his version, and his story has always stacked up with other facts.

For Henry’s version to be correct:

The private contractor, either acting on their own or on the instruction of Parliamentary Services, thought to extract and provide data of one month’s phone data of Andrea Vance to the Henry inquiry unsolicited.

Or

Someone with some perceived authority other than ‘we’ instructed the private contractor/Parliamentary Services to provide the Henry inquiry with the data.

Or

Henry or someone acting for him or his inquiry implied or hinted they would like specific phone data without actually requesting it.

Or ??

 

 

Journalist’s phone records accessed

Last week it was revealed that the David Henry inquiry asked for Andrea Vance’s phone records – Leak probe sought reporter’s phone log.

In response to questions from Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, Speaker David Carter confirmed yesterday that the Henry inquiry also asked for information relating to internal calls made to and from Vance’s office phone, as well as her building access data.

The phone line is paid for by Fairfax Media, the publisher of The Dominion Post.

Mr Carter said the request was declined but confirmed that Parliamentary Service handed over Vance’s swipe-card access records.

Now it is being reported that Parliamentary Services did hand over Andrea Vance’s phone records.

Phone records given to inquiry

Speaker David Carter has confirmed three months worth of phone records for Fairfax journalist Andrea Vance were handed over to a ministerial inquiry.

Carter today apologised to Vance and Fairfax group executive editor Paul Thompson and acknowledged answers given last week in response to the journalist’s phone record were wrong.

In response to written questions last week, Carter said a request from investigator David Henry for Vance’s phone records had been declined.

It has previously been confirmed that Henry was provided with electronic records tracking Vance’s movements in the Parliamentary complex.

Carter said today he became aware on Friday his answer in response to questions about Vance’s phone records was wrong.

Three months worth of phone records had “inadvertently” been supplied to Henry by Parliamentary Service during the course of his investigations.

The information had been collated by parliamentary contractor Datacom.

Henry immediately returned the records without viewing them and made it clear he had neither sought nor wanted them.

Carter confirmed, however, that Henry had sought phone records detailing which government ministers had phoned Vance.

This is appalling – first that false information was provided by the Speaker last week. Was the Speaker given false information?

And that the information was handed over is disgraceful.

Not surprisngly this has caused alarm amongst journalists.