When I found out that I was mentioned in the SIS files on Keith Locke (apparently in an unflattering letter), I got to thinking further about what can Â be done to improve that agency and rid it of an institutional culture that is seemingly unprofessional, unaccountable and biased in its presentation of threats. There is more to the story, which revolves around the window of opportunity presented to the new government by the director-general of the SIS, Warren Tucker, Â in opening up the SIS files to public scrutiny. Rather that repeat it here, please see the link below, where I outline the broader picture. I do not mean to be shameless with the link, just synergistic. A full post (on direct action) is forthcoming soon.
Most countries (beyond particularly heinous despotisms) didn’t have an organised civilian intelligence service before the 20th Century (The CIA dates from WW2, NZSIS from 1956).
I’d argue that with the cold war gone, we don’t need a secret intelligence agency. Their roles could be taken by the police, by a small analysis group within MFAT and by an HR team in departments or the SSC.
(Companies (mostly) don’t have a secret service to vet their staff – they rely on interviews and references to decide if they are trustworthy).
I agree that domestic intel functions could be taken by the police (assuming a change in their institutional culture and the CIG), but feel that there is still a need for clandestine services in the external intel and counter-intel fields (although I have to admit that so-called open source intel is now the bulk of what the SIS and other security agencies rely on). But how that is achieved is a matter of review and debate, which is something I am advocating in the linked column. I agree that most personal security vetting can be done by private entities.