So, Neazor’s written his report into the 88 New Zealanders that the GCSB spied on. In the spirit of open government, National’s suppressing it. But we’re told it find that the GCSB ‘arguably’ didn’t break the law. That’s coming from the guy who excused them in the Dotcom case, too, remember. And, it’s hardly ‘clearing’ the GCSB as the Nats claims.
Frankly, I don’t think Neazor’s up to the job. In the media, he’s appeared senile, openly admitting to not remembering his past actions as the GCSB’s watchdog. And he’s clearly more of the mindset of a laptop than a watch-dog. In the Dotcom illegal spying case he bent logic and credulity to the maximum by claiming that the GCSB hadn’t understood that Dotcom’s permanent residency in New Zealand made him a New Zealander and, therefore, safe from their spying.
Now, Neazor and Key are taking an even more liberal interpretation – that the GCSB has been allowed to spy on New Zealanders all along, despite the clear wording of the Act and despite everyone’s understanding (including Neazor’s and GCSB’s when the Dotcom spying broke) that the GCSB can’t spy on New Zealanders. This is where Neazor’s finding that the spying on New Zealanders ‘arguably’ wasn’t illegal comes from. Frankly, that’s not a good enough answer from the public’s watchdog – Neazor should determine whether or not the spying was illegal, then take action.
Of course, that also means it ‘arguably’ was illegal. And we can expect to see that argument made in court when it comes out who was spied upon.
The craziness is that National’s already written a law change – before Neazor’s report, before any competent report – and is pushing it through Parliament. And the purpose of that law change is to make damn sure that GCSB can spy on any New Zealander that the Prime Minister authorises them to spy on.