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NRT: Dysfunctional

Written By: - Date published: 5:48 pm, July 2nd, 2014 - 6 comments
Categories: Spying - Tags: , , ,

no-right-turn-256Reposted from No Right Turn.

Yesterday SSC released its Performance Improvement Framework Report for the New Zealand Intelligence Community (SIS, GCSB, NAB, and bits of DPMC). The short version? Our spies are completely dysfunctional:

A dismal picture of New Zealand’s intelligence services has been painted in an official report which has urged greater transparency and says huge change is urgently needed.

It says the intelligence agencies are unclear about what their priorities are while tolerating poor performance and questionable work quality.


It specifically withheld an assessment on the GCSB and NZSIS ability to reach its performance targets, saying doing so would place the security of New Zealand at risk.

But it did say there was a “huge amount of change to be undertaken” and it needed to happen with “urgency”.

A declassified version of the report painted a grim picture of the work our spies were doing, saying “national security and intelligence priorities are inadequately defined”.

In short, they don’t know what they’re doing, they don’t know why they’re doing it, and they’re not doing it well. NZSIS can’t do its core job – security vetting – in a timely fashion, GCSB can’t even count, and they hate each other. Plus they’ve got poor financial management practices and no idea of how much stuff they own to boot.

And then they wonder at the level of public hostility: its because we doubt their purpose, see their intrusive powers as unjustified, and view them as useless muppets who have never done the job they’re supposed to. If the entire NZIC was shut down tomorrow we wouldn’t notice and wouldn’t care. And that I think is the most powerful argument for doing so.

6 comments on “NRT: Dysfunctional”

  1. Once was Tim 1

    Idiot Savant sums it up very well!
    “NZSIS can’t do its core job – security vetting – in a timely fashion, GCSB can’t even count, AND THEY HATE EACH OTHER”.

    Perhaps that’s partly because the SIS has been neutered somewhat whilst the GCSB has been allowed to run riot.

    • Anne 1.1

      Perhaps that’s partly because the SIS has been neutered somewhat whilst the GCSB has been allowed to run riot.

      I think you’ve hit the jackpot Once was Tim.

      And who is Minister for the Intelligence Agencies? John Key.

      We know where his intelligence priorities lie, and it doesn’t have a lot to do with New Zealand’s independence and/or sovereignty.

  2. Bastables 2

    The GCSB has been allowed to run riot under a crony, while it seems also to have had a major shift un focus under the current government to act as a poodle for the US NSA. Serving several masters is obviously deleterious to effective conduct: And in this case moral conduct, the GCSB literally broke the law of NZ when conducting ops vs around 100 NZ citizens/residents. I’d not be elevating them above the traditional cowboy antics of the SIS.

    Ian Fletcher’s greatest selling point was that he was a school mate of John Key, other considerations such as ethics, a intelligence, military or legal skill-set/background i’m sure were far down the list qualities along side basic competence. Ladies and gentlemen the textbook out-come of practicing nepotism.

    • Once was Tim 2.1

      Agree. Btw, I’m in no way praising the SIS. There are those that begun to see it’s decline (moral, operational and otherwise) a bloody long time ago.
      I wonder if they (SIS) did a security check on Ian Fletcher :p

      The best thing I’ve heard is Labour’s promise of a review of the whole kit and kaboodle.

  3. Jenny 3

    I am not surprised at the news that our Intelligence Services are in disarray and that they hate each other.

    Their greatest threat is an internal one. That one of their own will do a Andrew Snowden on them, and in a fit of morality, anonymously leak the list of the 38 New Zealanders illegally spied on.

    While they are sitting on this ticking hand grenade there can be no trust within their ranks, and suspicion and mistrust of each other will stalk their organisation.

    Better this festering boil of criminal activity be lanced now.

    • aerobubble 3.1

      NZ has more problems. Let say you wanted to scrap parliament and can’t. What’s you next best option? Well limit the number of MPs, limit the number of chambers, give them desks to work off, etc. Now you are ready for legislation to your liking. Even worse, put one seat party leaders on the intelligence committee, Dunne and Banks. The problem with the politicians is they hate oversight and don’t understand why oversight, balance, etc are actually good for them, distance is good for politicians. But not NZ, no, kiwis are going to be told by big government what to do, rules are all oppressive. This is a consequence of not having more MPs, a upper chamber to pick out the bad law, and real debates over legislation. NZ is run by a few corporation boards who have denuded parliament of the people of its purpose.

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