Media Link: The GCSB and the Dotcom case

I was interviewed by the RNZ Nine to Noon program on the subject of the GCSB involvement in the Kim Dotcom case. Nicky Hagar followed me. Although it now has been confirmed that the Police misled the GCSB as to the residency status of Dotcom and his associates, the dates of the awarding of residency status to at least some of the group, including Mr. Dotcom, is somewhat nebulous in the MSM reporting.  This is being clarified as the media dig into the issue, but my initial comments before yesterday’s revelations might be of interest to some. They are here.

13 thoughts on “Media Link: The GCSB and the Dotcom case

  1. I have the fireworks that Dotcom paid for to celebrate his residency as 31 Dec 2010.
    I cant understand what the national security implications are that are requiring this GCSB material to be reviewed by an independent senior member of the Auckland Bar before being presented to Court? I also dont know if The Chief Justice in charge of the DotCom case will get to see the whole unedited version of the Inspector Generals report into the GCSB acting illegally? Because she seemed quite determined to find out how they had kept on spying on a resident who had very significantly publicised his successful residency application

  2. Hi Paul I heard on Morning Report that the person charged to run the inquiry at the GCSB, Inspector Neazor, is also the same person who is meant to oversee the paperwork for these intercepts in the first place, so hes just investigating himself. Whats going on here??

  3. Mikey:

    Mr. Neazor has a mixed record when it comes to investigating the SIS, but in tis case appears to have tried to come down more or less centrally on the issue of blame attribution. I have not seen his full report but from what I have seen in the MSM there are still many questions left unanswered. One thing is clear: the PM has come off as a tool.

  4. Thanks for that Paul. Do you think charges will be laid against those responsible at the GCSB? Inspector Neazors report says confusion about the law was the reason for this illegal activity but that is never a defence for other people.

  5. Mikey:

    I doubt that anyone will be prosecuted, although administrative disciplinary action could well be taken against those in the Police who relayed erroneous information to the GCSB and those in the GCSB who did not independently verify that information (and were ignorant of the 2009 Immigration Act changes coming into effect on Dec 27 2010). But I would not hold my breath waiting for anything major to happen given the tone of Mr. Nezor’s report on the internal changes already made and the PM’s response to them.

  6. Paul,

    You say Police relayed erroneous information to GCSB. But the DominionPost revealed yesterday that Police had received a file from Immigration, a file which included Dotcom’s status as a permanent resident. It seems likely that GCSB knew Dotcom’s status but went ahead anyway, presumably on the basis that it was most unlikely to get caught.

  7. Ross:

    A lot is murky on that score. The cops may not have passed on the immigration data to the GCSB, who did not ask, independently verify or simply looked away from infromation contrary to the polcie assurances that the targets were non-resident foreigners. Or the GCSB could have known all along and just went with the flow figuring no one would be the wiser.

    There are major issues of institutional accountability in play. Since the PM has been shown to be a complete tool who does not know what his protfolios are doing (except tourism, apparently), I leave it to you to figure out where the buck stops and what discipline should be meted out.

  8. I just read that Sir Jeffery Palmer while trying to defend the PM and say that an enquiry is not needed said “Incompetence is MORE USUALLY the explanation than anything insidious.”
    Surely he just said exactly why we need an enquiry. More Usually indicates something is a bit more than average its definitely not giving an impression that they do things legally by far the majority of time. Its the most concerning comment ive heard on this so far

  9. The police have come out saying that they brought it to the GCSB attention in february that it was illegal yet the GCSB has not done any enquiry until sept 17 when it was to come out in Court. Inspector Neazors remit is that he looks into possible illegal activity by the GCSB it is actually neglect of duty which is defined in the 1996 legislation if he doesnt. These guys must think the rest of us are just common muck. This guy came from the Judiciary, what has the GCSB culture done to him, he started quoting out there poetry on tv when asked, he seems like a old dottery man who is being manipulated by the Govt and hes happy to still seem important.
    I think the problem at the GCSB is that if you keep on telling people there that they are very smart they start getting a superiority complex

    heres the police feb link

  10. Martin:

    I had a fair bit to do with the Zaoui case and then with the Urewera case in terms of providing analysis of the intelligence operations involved. I wrote quite a bit about the subject with regard to both cases in Scoop. The problem is that the IG is totally dependent on the SIS for his staff, funding, office, telephones internet etc. etc., and the SIS and GCSB can refuse him selected information. Thus he is not really a fully empowered independent auditor of the SIS and GCSB.

    Although I am loathe to classify the report as a whitewash since he does point out the gross deficiencies and incompetence that went into this fiasco, it also seems that he did not address some very basic points like who authorized the taps within the GCSB and who knew about that authorization, and when. The answers given are not satisfactory, so this case will continue to bubble along no matter how much the government tries to put a lid on it. It will be interesting to see what emerges as the story develops but one thing is clear: this is another example of the culture of impunity I posted about a while ago.

  11. Impunity plus a very old man (who has a demeanour as dottery) as the watchdog- how convenient for them.
    If he asked for information and was not given it he needed to disclosed those facts. Any independent inquiry states what they werent allowed access too.
    On a side note if the extradiction fails i suppose that means that if Dotcom went anywhere with a extradiction treaty to the US he would face deportation to the US all over again,kind of a life sentence, unless the US charges get dropped

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