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Key changes tune, orders GCSB review

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, October 2nd, 2012 - 71 comments
Categories: john key, Minister for Overseas Holidays, Spying - Tags: ,

Last week, Key tried to tell us that the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom – which he, the minister, we’re supposed to believe wasn’t told about for 8 months – was down to one agent’s ‘brain fade’. Uh huh. So, why has he now appointed a senior public servant to review and reform GCSB? You don’t do that when the problem was one person’s human error.

Meanwhile (and inconsistently as hell) Key says there’s no need for a Police investigation because, wait for it, ‘we know what happened’. Yeah, John, we know what happened. And what happened is that government agents spied on a New Zealander without legal authority meaning, prima facie, they broke the Crimes Act. Is Key’s new position that when you know a crime has been committed you don’t investigate it? (Does that explain the bizarre crime figures that show huge drops in certain classes of crimes in certain regions?). Key, having just told the Police not to investigate, says the choice is theirs, but it would be stupid if they did investigate. It seems Key has no problem with criminals working in his department.

[Update: Lol at Key. Police are launching a high powered inquiry after he said there was no need for one]

Key wants out. He wants to go and play the movie star on yet another overseas holiday (seriously, how much has that dude been overseas in the last couple of months – ie late summer in the Northern Hemisphere?). But he’s going to find himself stuck in this hurt locker for a while yet. The Police will investigate. They can’t not without looking horribly complicit. The internal review will reveal systematic problems that Key has denied exist while still leaving large questions about what happened in the Dotcom case unanswered because the brief isn’t to look into that case specifically. Oh, and the head of OFCANZ is going to find himself a) the subject of a Police Complaints investigation and b) perjury hearings.

And let’s not forget the donation side of this saga. Key is still governing on the vote of a man who Police said broke the Local Electoral Act and who clearly repeatedly lied to and mislead New Zealanders when he was asked about the donations he had received. Pretty soon, the OIAs that have doubtlessly been put in for Banks’ Police interview, which Banks said he gave permission to be released but Police said he hadn’t allowed them to release, will be due – and then we will either get to see the truth from Banks’ own mouth, or we will see that he really does have something to hide.

Until Key does the right thing – come clean on what really happened with the GCSB spying, even if it means his own resignation, and force Banks to release his Police interview, then fire him – Dotcom will be the albatross around his neck.

71 comments on “Key changes tune, orders GCSB review”

  1. I find it impossible to believe that National would not have approached Dotcom for a donation.  And given his largesse and his desire to rub shoulders with the rich and famous I also find it impossible that he would not have given one.

    I look forward to that information coming out at some stage in the near future.

    And this review is the “lets blame the public service” sort of review.  It should be reviewing a failure of leadership and oversight by the man who has this role, Key himself.

    And through his SIS and GCSB briefings I find it utterly impossible to accept that Key was not told repeatedly about the infamous raid.

    There is something seriously wrong here.  I look forward to the truth coming out at some stage. 

    • karol 1.1

      Agreed, Micky. At the moment it feels a bit like shadow boxing, because of the lack of transparency. But I think we need to keep asking questions.

      • Craig Glen Eden 1.1.1

        Yeah I have thought for some weeks now, how much did he give to the Waitamata trust? Key was quick to apologise “please forgive me Dot com” last week without admitting his (Keys) own role in the saga. Key distancing him self from Dot Com right at the beginning made me very suspicious.He apparently didnt know who Dot Com was until the night before the raid, really? I find that just to hard to believe! I will be very surprised if Dot com has not made a major donation to National, when and how much are the questions.

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          Pretty sure if Key gave to Banks, he would have given to the MP of his own electorate who happens to be the PM.

          The most interesting question…why has Dotcom not come forwards with the evidence so far…and have Key’s people and Dotcom’s people been talking in the background trying to come to an accomodation?

    • Fortran 1.2

      Who says any information will be forthcoming, unless leaked ?

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Looks like National’s internal polling on this issue turned impossible 24 hours ago, forcing their hand to act.

    • Jokerman 2.1

      And I thought of the albatross,
      And I wished he would come back, my snake.
      For he seemed to me again like a king,
      Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
      Now due to be crowned again.
      And so I missed my chance with one of the lords
      Of life.
      And I have something to expatiate:
      A pettiness.

      -D.H. Lawrence

      (dedicated to our ignoble ‘leader’)

  3. freedom 3

    Whenever he is asked if he should have been told of any particular activity regarding the GCSB, our PM launches into the bizarre defense of ” The PM should not be deciding who gets investigated …”

    Damn right he should not be deciding who gets investigated, i think we still have a couple of laws that are meant to define that particular question, but that has nothing to do with whether he is briefed and made aware of what is going on in his own Ministry (where he was certainly being properly advised)

    He did appoint himself to the position after all, what did he think he was becoming the Minister of?

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      He did appoint himself to the position after all,

      Ah, no, he didn’t. As I understand it the PM is the head of our intelligence services and no one else can have it.

      • BloodyOrphan 3.1.1

        Vacancy: Director, Government Communications Security Bureau
        Resource information
        Published: 10 May 2011
        Last updated: 10 May 2011

        On 26 August 2010, Prime Minister John Key announced the appointment of Mateparae as Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB). Mateparae was appointed for a five-year term commencing on 7 February 2011 but stepped down from the role on 1 July 2011.

        So who’s in charge in the Interim? and why did Mateparae step down?

        It looks like Keys announcement that he was in charge has been removed from the Herald as well.

        Great unbiased reporting going on there obviously, I wonder when he asked for it to be removed ?

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          Director != Minister.

          I suppose, technically, I was wrong to say “head” but the PM holds democratic responsibility for the intelligence services.

          And Mateparae stepped down as the director to become the GG.

          • BloodyOrphan 3.1.1.1.1

            See below bud, The Minister must act within those bondaries as well.

          • BloodyOrphan 3.1.1.1.2

            “stepped down from the role on 1 July 2011.”

          • BloodyOrphan 3.1.1.1.3

            “His appointment comes as a major surprise, as he has been in the GCSB role for little more than a month and his name was not among those most regularly floated as the successor to Sir Anand Satyanand, whose term ends in August.”

            “Prime Minister John Key said there was no conflict of interest with Mateparae remaining on at GCSB.”

        • BloodyOrphan 3.1.1.2

          Excerpts from the Position Description ….

          Courage The Director can be counted on to step up when times are tough. He/she anticipates potential conflicts and make conscious choices about the approach they will take. He/she is willing to take the lead on controversial issues. They read situations and people accurately.

          Organisational positioning skills
          The Director will understand the political and organisational context within which he/she works. He/she is sensitive to political processes and anticipates risks and how others may respond. He/she can manoeuvre through complex political situations effectively and quietly whilst maintaining appropriate standards of political neutrality. He/she knows how to get things done within the political and organisational context, understands the origin and reasoning behind key policies, practices and procedures and observes legality and propriety of GCSB functions.

          It’s a great document, and would outline a good man for the Job.
          Virtually every clause points to Keys failings.
          And being in a Statutary role is not an excuse , he’s our PM for goodness sake !

      • insider 3.1.2

        You understand wrong. The PM can appoint anyone to that ministry. It’s just tradition that it is usually the PM that takes it.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.2.1

          Would’ve been better run by Tolley or Parata I suspect.

          • insider 3.1.2.1.1

            Well Parata would have cleared out the advisory staff in the first six months, twice….

            • Colonial Viper 3.1.2.1.1.1

              well, under Key they’ve been clearing out the CEO quarterly, so would that be an improvement?

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2.2

          Yeah, wasn’t sure if it was an actual rule or tradition. Of course, tradition is often harder to change than actual rules.

        • Dr Terry 3.1.2.3

          Maybe this is right insider, and so what? He “can” but he “didn’t”.

    • Jackal 3.2

      What pisses me off the most is the way Key always says; “I’m not in a position to answer that”. If the Minister in charge of the GCSB who just so happens to be the Prime Minister isn’t in a position to answer some pretty straight forward questions, then who the fuck is?

      Well since John Key apparently doesn’t know what’s going on in his own ministry and is taking off to the United States to hide and Bill English is in Europe, it appears nobody is actually in charge of running the country… I therefore hereby elect Ewen Gilmour to be Prime Minister. God knows he will do a better job.

  4. BloodyOrphan 4

    “but it would be stupid if they did investigate”

    Sound like a veiled threat too me.

  5. ianmac 5

    ” Key, having just told the Police not to investigate, says the choice is theirs, but it would be stupid if they did investigate.

    Well how does that fit with the Rachel Smalley interview where he said how wrong it would be if he was to tell the GCSB who to prosecute or not. And how about his charges against Ambrose?

  6. Snakeoil 6

    “Last week, Key tried to tell us that the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom – which he, the minister, we’re supposed to believe wasn’t told about for 8 months – was down to one agent’s ‘brain fade’.”

    I have yet to come across a neuropsychological description of this phenomenon.

    The closest I can find is trace decay theory ..

    ” … memories that are stored in both short term and long term memory system. According to this theory, short term memory (STM) can only retain information for a limited amount of time, around 15 to 30 seconds unless it is rehearsed. If it is not rehearsed, the information will start to gradually fade away and decay. Donald Hebb proposed that incoming information causes a series of neurons to create a neurological memory trace in the brain which would result in change in the morphological and/or chemical changes in the brain and would fade with time. ”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forgetting

    Memory problems are often found in cases of brain injury

    http://www.npr.org/2010/06/08/127402993/military-still-failing-to-diagnose-treat-brain-injuries?ps=rs

    or alzheimers, but I doubt you would find that in GCSB.

    It is, however, often used in popular culture

    http://www.studyskillsblog.com/tips-to-prevent-brain-fade/

    and to denote cognitive deficit after use of mind altering substances such as cocaine.

    “Cocaine causes a buildup of dopamine, a brain chemical that decreases the individual nerve cells’ ability to hold moment-to-moment information.”

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/01/28/memory.research/

    In short, it raises serious questions about Key’s credibility.

  7. One has to wonder if key and his associates in the dot-com fiasco are on
    ‘statins’ a medication that causes confusion,loss of memory and sometimes
    non recognition of people known to the affected pill taker.
    This review is another ‘inside’ job.

  8. captain hook 8

    what the hell is brain fade?
    it sounds like the sort of excuse some illiterate arsewipe boy racer would give for losing traction and killing someone.
    kweewee is sounding more and more like a Monkey every day.

    • Roy 8.1

      I think it is a hastily-sanitised version of the expression ‘brain fart’ which is common parlance in the US. Key probably started to say ‘brain fart’ and then thought better of it because the expression is not commonly used in NZ and would have shocked people.

  9. http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/secretary-cabinet-mop-embattled-gcsb-bc-129930#comment-586713

    MY COMMENT – YET TO BE PUBLISHED…….

    Is GCSB Director Ian Fletcher THE BOSS of GCSB Associate Director Rebecca Kitteridge – who has been seconded from her position as Cabinet Secretary for three months ‘to carry out a thorough review of the GCSB, its processes and procedures’ ?

    How ON EARTH can Rebecca Kitteridge carry out an ‘INDEPENDENT’ review of the GCSB, in her capacity as an ‘Associate Director’ of the GCSB – who presumably reports to the GCSB Director, Ian Fletcher?

    How ‘thorough’ can any review be of the GCSB, its processes and procedures’ – unless it’s carried out by somebody who is genuinely independent?

    Which GCSB Associate Director Rebecca Kitteridge, clearly is NOT?

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’

    http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com

    • BloodyOrphan 9.1

      I’d be expecting resignations from them shortly.
      Why? “That’s Off the Record”

      And of course they have to be politcally aware and quiet (according to the contract).
      No rocking the boat allowed, we have a country too run, hard place too lead from if the ultimate focus of the investigation is the Prime Minister.

  10. deuto 10

    Just up on Stuff – the Police are launching an investigation – http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7757248/Police-launch-probe-into-spying-on-Dotcom

    Police are to investigate illegal spying on Kim Dotcom and his co-accused Bram van der Kolk.

    It emerged Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) agents illegally snooped on Dotcom and van der Kolk in the run-up to the raid on his home.

    They are both New Zealand residents which protects them from spying.

    Independent QC Kristy McDonald will review the inquiry and advise whether charges should be laid.

    It’s likely the investigation will see Finance Minister Bill English interviewed, because of his role in signing an order to keep the involvement of the GCSB secret.

    Green Party co-leader Russel Norman laid a complaint with police last week.

    Police Commissioner Peter Marshall has asked Deputy Commissioner Mike Bush to appoint a senior police investigator to assess and investigate the complaint.

    McDonald was a senior counsel with more than 30 years experience in criminal law, Marshall said.

    “She is a highly regarded Queens Counsel who has been engaged in major prosecutions, so she will provide excellent oversight of the police work,” Marshall said.

    “We can’t put a timeframe on how long this assessment and investigation will take but it will be done as a matter of some urgency,” he said.

    They really don’t have much choice to not investigate, but why don’t I have much confidence … And that is in no way to imply that Kristy McDonald is not more than capable etc; but her role according to the above will be to “review” the inquiry rather than undertake it. In other words, to review what is put in front of her only.

    Edit – the Herald’s article. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10837886

    Wording is a little different re McDonald’s role – to assess and review any recommendations arising from the investigation.

    Police Commissioner Peter Marshall today said a senior police investigator would be appointed to assess the complaint.

    Kristy McDonald QC had been appointed to assess and review any recommendations arising from the investigation.;

    She would then make her own recommendations to the Commissioner's office, Mr Marshall said.

    Bold is mine.

    • deuto 10.1

      Ooops – messed up the bolding and italics and it will not now let me edit. Help! And sorry.

      Herald article now updated with Key’s comments and he is not a happy chappy. Still thinks it is a political stunt.

      [lprent: Fixed, and shifted to blockquotes rather than italics. ]

      • Lanthanide 10.1.1

        Right, so it’s a political stunt when the Greens ask for an investigation into something that was clearly and admittedly illegal, but not a political stunt when Key asks for an investigation into something that couldn’t reasonably have been judged illegal (teapot tapes).

        • mike 10.1.1.1

          Key’s been using the ‘this is a political stunt by the opposition’ line for any criticism with substance for a while now. Complaining about Banks breaking the law and lying to us about it was repeatedly called a ‘politically motivated attack’.

          It’s a good way to suggest that the issue is more complex than it really is. Note that it’s pure rhetoric – no substance, no evidence, no argument, just the equivalent of saying ‘my opponent is full of shit.’

          When you’ve got two people calling each other liars the observer (in this case the public) often can only shrug their shoulders and assume that the truth is somewhere in the middle. This is often a win for the person who really is lying.

          This is a known tactic of psychopaths, (though obviously not exclusively psychopaths, they are just really good at it).

          Key’s arrogance is really showing over this. The ‘we already know what happened here (so cease this investigation talk)’ line is an example of trying to make others conform to the reality that he wants them to accept. Which is what psychopaths are doing every time they open their mouth. Just sayin’.

          • blue leopard 10.1.1.1.1

            Thanks Lanthanide and Mike for the insight.

            Your comments resounds with accuracy. This is exactly why I like to read The Standard; it is good to be continually reminded and alerted to the dirty, opinion manipulating tactics that our politicians are conducting on us.

      • deuto 10.1.2

        Thanks lprent. Must go to FAQ and work out block quotes as much easier to read.

        [lprent: <blockquote>...</blockquote> ]

    • Mary 10.2

      “McDonald was a senior counsel with more than 30 years experience in criminal law, Marshall said.

      “She is a highly regarded Queens Counsel who has been engaged in major prosecutions, so she will provide excellent oversight of the police work,” Marshall said. ”

      Yeah, that’s right, get someone with 30 years of experience working for the cops to help decide whether someone in government should be prosecuted. That’s real independence for you.

    • Dr Terry 10.3

      What’s coming then? Another police report for the PM not to bother reading?

  11. captain hook 11

    hey you catch on fast poor boy.
    do as we say not as we do.
    and dont forget that kweewee is desperately trying to protect the GG who wouldn’t give up his job on the gscb until the day before he was appointed.

  12. Logie97 12

    Question is when it’s published, will Key read the report, get Banks to read the report, or … ?

  13. I sincerely hope that the people conducting this investigation at all levels think long and hard about compromising facts in order to “save face” for anyone involved in this fiasco. Following such a course of action might be considered out of a mistaken belief that it is better that people still retain a remanent of trust in our politicians and systems, (therefore lets ‘soften’ what really went on) however I hope that on further consideration the conclusion is drawn that a sound investigation with no compromise of the truth is what is required here in order to achieve a healing of the breach of trust that has occurred; that this approach is the only option available to restore confidence.

    Truth hurts, yet lies hurt more.

    • Dr Terry 13.1

      bl – truth and lies can hurt given the right context.

      • blue leopard 13.1.1

        Dr Terry
        Lies hurt more due to the consequences involved.
        Truth supplies people with a sound basis on which to base their lives, convictions, choices etc on.
        Lies provides a made up picture of what is being lied about-a delusion; an unsound basis on which to base anything on.

  14. Treetop 14

    Key can keep telling himself that it is not necessary for him to be informed of major operational matters at the GCSB when the accountability stops with him. Appointing Mc Donald and Kitteridge will not get to the bottom of GCSB or police incompetence and/or corruption because both GCSB and the police will cover for Key.

    As for Mc Donald being appointed to assess the complaint of illegal spying on Dotcom and Bram van der Kolk I expect to see heavily blacked out pages regarding police evidence or parts of the report with held or even embargoed until after Dotcoms hearing.

  15. Tiger Mountain 15

    Kitteridge at GCSB HQ, settled into a comfy leather chair.

    “do have another snifter Becs…. Now do we really have to go there? Oh good, knew you’d you see it. Jolly good then, job and finish.

  16. john 16

    What McDonald does, she will do for anyone that pay hers, anyone that hires her wants her “special service” and of course old labour governments required cover ups. The innocence amazes me.

  17. Dr Terry 17

    Will anything come of all this? Or will it all blow over as usual?

    • Treetop 17.1

      “Not only must Justice be done; it must be seen to be done.”
      Rex v. Sussex Justices ex Parte Mc carthy (1924).

      Justice won’t be done as Key gives me the impression that human error is a good and nobel defence.

      As for being seen to be done, yeah the GCSB and the police are going to hold a press conference to explain who? what? how? and when?

      • Treetop 17.1.1

        noble is a correction. I cannot get edit to work and I make a lot of spelling errors.

  18. gobsmacked 18

    Good win for the Greens.

    Opposition parties can’t force inquiries/investigations, they can only keep the issue alive, and embarrass the government as much as possible. The police may not do much, but even today’s announcement means the story hasn’t died, while Parliament is in recess this week.

    It’s all drip-drip-drip on Key’s popularity. And that’s all National have got.

  19. Brybry 19

    Apparently the police will be able to use their new search and surveillance powers to request the Pork Board go in and sieze GCSB computers.

  20. AmaKiwi 20

    The press refuse to openly ask, “Is John Key lying?”

    The most they will do is quote Geoffry Palmer and Winston Peters about how GCSB always keeps the PM informed in detail on all the cases it is involved with.

    According to opinion polls, the majority of us don’t trust politicians. So why is it so bizarre for the press to demand the police ask the head of GCSB, “When you met with Key over that eight month period did you ever discuss Dotcom?”

    It’s a straightforward question. It answers the “key” question, “Is John Key lying?”

    • BloodyOrphan 20.1

      Check out the Job Description for the Director of GCSB.
      http://www.ssc.govt.nz/sites/all/files/Director-GCSB-Position-Description-May11_0.docx

      Acting with honour and integrity:
      The Director will maintain the highest standards of personal integrity and will promote such
      standards throughout the Bureau.

      Not honourable too bag the boss.

      • AmaKiwi 20.1.1

        Honor is about telling the truth, not about covering for your boss’s lies.

        • BloodyOrphan 20.1.1.1

          Here another definition …
          http://www.ssc.govt.nz/sites/all/files/Leadership-Capability-Profile-Nov09.pdf

          Indicators
           Models a high level of honesty, commitment, loyalty and integrity
           Reinforces the importance of ethical and equitable conduct in dealings with others
           Is consistent in what they say and do
           Displays personal values that are aligned with the Public Sector — spirit of service’
          to the government and the citizens of New Zealand
           Keeps public and private interests separate
           Serves the government of the day implementing their policies and programmes
          irrespective of personal preferences

          Problem being that Honesty and Loyalty are on the same line
          John Key does not fill any of them except the last , which is dubious considering he’s the leader.

          And another from the same doc …
          “They keep confidences and admit mistakes”.

          Confused yet? , you and everyone else is.
          Including High Court Judges and others at their level.

          Gotta love that Google.

        • BloodyOrphan 20.1.1.2

          What we need from John Key is …

          An explanation as to why he Ordered our operatives too spy on a NZ Resident,
          Namely Kim Dotcom.

          You will never get that out of the GCSB or the Police they operate under the above guidelines.
          He has been asked this question many many times, all he does is pass the buck.
          It’s not up to the Police or the GCSB to do anything about that.

          That’s our Job to put it bluntly, if the whole of NZ demanded he step down and hold a snap election, that’d be us fixing the problem.

          There is no other way.
          If we want this country to regulate our economy so the poor don’t starve, there is only one way…

          The whole of NZ demanded he step down and hold a snap election, that’d be us fixing the problem.
          There is no other way.

          There isn’t even a Job Description for the Prime Minister of this country.

          If there was we could have a read and discuss his options, at this point our employee is running mad with our money our country and it’s children.

          And we can’t sack him our employment contract wont allow us to.

          This is why we need the a civilised job description for our government and PM , which we can evaluate his performance on real time, abd sack him if necesarry

  21. Anne 21

    Mr Shearer told Parliament on Tuesday that “the police are investigating GCSB for acting illegally at the request of the police, who gave them the information that was wrong in the first place. So this is becoming very farcical.”

    He’s got a point.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/117164/spy-agency-investigations-becoming-farcical-shearer

  22. Bob 22

    Well we have learned that John Key doesn’t read papers esp if it may compromise the truth
    But do we know if he can read?
    The sooner he finds his new job the better.
    I hope the interviews go well in California.

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