A red herring?

Written By: - Date published: 10:19 am, October 4th, 2012 - 23 comments
Categories: john key, Spying - Tags: , ,

Call me cynical but I just don’t think it’s credible that it took over two weeks after Key supposedly learned of the GCSB’s involvement in the Dotcom raid before they realised he given a presentation featuring Dotcom by GCSB a month after the raid. They’re amateur, they’re not that amateur. No, I think the ‘presentation on a laptop screen’ (and isn’t it funny that Key can remember the size of the screen but not what was on it?) is a red herring.

It has never been believable that the GCSB just screwed up on whether or not Dotcom was a resident. And it has never been credible that Dotcom – the rich, flamboyant guy who lives in Key’s electorate and has been all over the media for the best part of a year – never came up in any of the 15 briefings Key has had from GCSB this year. They don’t hide that stuff from the PM. If, they told Goff about their suspicions that Mossad agents had been in Christchurch, they would have told Key about Dotcom as a matter of course. By January 24th, Key was well-briefed on the Dotcom raid, it is unbelievable that his knowledge would not have included the fact that the GCSB was involved.

In fact, the February briefing indicates that the GCSB was proud of its involvement in the Dotcom raid – they would have seen no reason to keep it from Key. If they did, it was a massive vote of no confidence in him, and an attempt to escape democratic oversight.

Now, why do I think that the briefing is a red herring? Not because it doesn’t matter. Key ought to have been paying attention at a briefing given to him by the organisation of which he is the sole democratic oversight. When Dotcom came up, he should have started to ask questions. Question number 1 should have been: ‘isn’t that guy a Kiwi resident? I know he is’. Key’s credibility as the right man to watch over our spooks is shot to hell by the clear disinterest he showed in the briefing.

But Key is using the briefing as a red herring because it allows him to pretend that the only mention the GCSB made of Dotcom to him was in passing and for him to make it about a simple memory failing on his part for two reasons:

1) this isn’t about Key’s memory. It’s not about whether he now remembers what the GCSB told him about Dotcom, it’s about what he did as the minister with the statutory duty to “control” the GCSB at the time. Key is trying to make it about his memory of a single briefing (‘I get thousands of briefings, the screen was small’ – sounds fair enough)

2) I don’t believe that the only time the GCSB mentioned Dotcom to Key was in a passing reference. It would have been a substantive part of a briefing – probably before the raid. Even right back when Key first said he hadn’t heard of Dotcom until the day before the raids, it stunk of a lie – an attempt to disassociate himself with a prominent person living in his electorate. By offering up the slide-show, Key is hoping we won’t ask about any other knowledge he had of the GCSB’s involvement.

If Key succeeds in making us think that the briefing is all there is and the issue there is a memory fail, he will have succeeded in minimising the issue. That said, he’s still told us that he goes along to briefings given by the GCSB and doesn’t pay attention and doesn’t ask questions despite the law ordering him to “control” the spooks. It’s still a hell of an admission of failure as a minister.

23 comments on “A red herring?”

  1. Chris 1

    I read, that footage of the raid on Dotcom was relayed to whoever? in America.Can’t remember. I remember thinking at the time that there is no way that dumskey would not want to be also watching this footage given his need to be present in any drama,and especially one of this magnitude. and stupidity. If Obama got to watch the bin Laden capture on telly then ?key would want to do it to. ?key probably orchestrated the whole thing. He’s got to be in it up to his neck!

    • deuto 1.1

      This article by the Scoop Team last Monday reports that the raid was watched live in Washington courtesy of “GCSB TV”.


      When New Zealand police raided Kim Dotcom’s mansion on Friday 20 January they were being watched by one of their colleagues 14,000km away in Washington D.C. — courtesy of GCSB-TV.

      Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett, the New Zealand Police Liaison Officer in the United States, monitored “termination activities” against Dotcom’s Megaupload operations in nine countries from the FBI’s Multi-Agency Command Centre. Created by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Online (LEO) network in 2002, the Virtual Command Centre (VCC) enables enforcement agencies to post, track and spread information in a quick, secure environment.

      Fed from multiple inputs in the field, the VCC exists on a secure system for any designated audience members online, the same technology that delivered video of Osama bin Laden’s assassination in Abbottabad to screens watched by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the White House.

      The GCSB’s value to police in the Dotcom raid was its expertise in managing top-secret data feeds so that New Zealand, at the centre of the FBI’s global move against Dotcom only because he chose to live here, could hold its own in the international law enforcement community.

      “Feedback on the New Zealand operation has been extremely positive from our international law enforcement partners including the FBI and the US Department of Justice,” Mr Pannett reported in the February Police online magazine, TenOne.

      The article is well worth reading in full. It goes on to cover

      – OFCANZ planning “which began the operation in September 2011″

      – the New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft (NZFACT), established in 2005 by the Motion Picture Association, the umbrella lobby for all major movie studios including Warner Bros. which “ works closely with its members, government and enforcement authorities to protect the New Zealand film and television industry, retailers and movie fans.”

      – And ” Politically, Hollywood has become as important as Washington in New Zealand’s relationship with the United States under John Key’s governments. … Now he’s off to talk to studio bosses again although, this time, there is no way that Kim Dotcom’s name won’t crop up in conversation. As the movie industry’s most wanted man, it’s hard to believe that his presence in New Zealand did not come up in the movie moguls earlier meetings with the prime minister.”

      It wouldn’t surprise me if Key and others also watched the raid live courtesy of GCSB-TV.

  2. Craig Glen Eden 2

    I think you are correct Eddie as I have said in other posts his distancing him self from Dot Com right at the start, was what made me go oh,hang on what the hell!

    Secondly while his brain fade is a huge admission because it does show that he is just not up to the job we have some serious diversion going on (Key to Baseball match English signing warrant) bla bla.

    Key is very reluctant to dig dirt on Banks because Banks knows way more about Kim Dot Com and his involvement with Key and National than he is letting on.

    This whole situation makes painter gate look like kindy gate. I do not believe we have a blunder here I think this is way way worse. Hmmm waiting waiting, if only the media had been as questioning of Key 5 years ago we wouldnt be in the mess but the media let NZ down badly.

    • Dv 2.1

      I still think it is Odd that the spooks got Bill to sign the warrant in a 30 sec encounter on the day that key was off baseball. It is not as if they hadn’t discovered the problem that day.

      It seem to me they were gaming the situation, closing it up and hoping Key didn’t find out.

      • Kotahi Tāne Huna 2.1.1

        Or he’d instructed them (as the minister in “control”) to wait until he was out of the country.

  3. tinfoilhat 3

    Roll up, roll up one and all.

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    Yes did Dottie also donate to the National Party as well as ACT one wonders.

    Re the laptop presentation, no doubt the hard drive will have self erased ala “Mission Impossible” after the briefing to prevent examination.

  5. Enough is Enough 5

    Key will not be able to handle the heat that is about to be blown on him. He has been shown now to be the most un trust worthy politician in New Zealand’s history.

    He will be reminded of that every day by the government in waiting, until he gives up or is releieved of his duties by Bill English.

    His corruption and lying has finally caught up with him.

    I will not be surprised if we have a new Prime Minister by the time the House sits again in two weeks.

  6. BloodyOrphan 6

    Well said Eddie, spot on

    • Anne 6.1

      I agree. Thanks Eddie.

      To use Tom Scott’s analogy – the octopus – there are so many tentacles to this affair that it’s impossible to know what has been going on. You’ve got the FBI, dinners with Warner Bros and other Hollywood moguls, Peter Jackson et al and Hobbit fiasco, NZ Police, GCSB, Afghanistan, nuclear ships… and so it goes on. On top of that there’s the ‘under the table’ deals, and the cover-ups of the cover-ups… it’s going to take a long time to sort.

      One thing is for sure, John Key has been acting like a four year old who has been caught fair and square with his hand in the cookie jar!

  7. brybry 7

    So, small laptop screen. But if your boss was also the PM, and he was turning up for a presentation, wouldn’t you plug it in to a projector? I bet dotcoms mug was on a wall 20 feet wide. Or maybe the GCSB had blown their tech budget on telephone shoes, camera pens, decoder rings and x-ray specs.

    • felix 7.1

      Well Key never said it wasn’t projected as well. Just said it was on laptop screen.

      Nothing mutually exclusive about that,and this is the level of slippery cuntedness we’re dealing with.

  8. ianmac 8

    Here is another possibility that I have dreamed up.
    What if….. The GCSB knew that Mr Key was very disinterested/vague about their actions so they have the necessary meetings but flow the goings-on past his eyes in the knowledge that he won’t notice and doesn’t care. This means that they have carried out their obligations to liase with Key but do so with under the radar efficiency.

  9. MeToo 9

    and why would Key be disinterested in Dotcom? Imagine if Dotcom has made donations towards Key’s election campaign prior to the raid going down? and better still if the donation was solicited. Oh dear.

  10. Lanthanide 10

    It’s funny, really. At the start of the year when all this went down, who could have foreseen it’d play out like this?

  11. captain hook 11

    this whole thing gets crummier and crummier by the day and really illustrates the all pervading infantilism and otherwise childishness of the bunch of lowbrows in charge at the moment.
    The GCSB is run by the army and the Army is run by ngati Porou.
    It seems like these people have taken up spying on everyone willy nilly just because they can..
    Kweewee appointed the present GG from his job as head of the GCSB and the GG would not give up his job at the GCSB till the day before he was sworn in so the link is tighter than tight.
    this whole apparatus has become arrogant and overweening and it looks like they have acquired the belief that they are above the law.
    maybe they are?

    • BloodyOrphan 11.1

      Have been for a long time bud, It was always up to the individuals’ sense of responsibility to society.

  12. BLiP 12


    Of course its a red herring. Its a bit like a burglar admitting to speeding in the hope that the minor crime will become the focus for which suitable remorse can be displayed in the hope that the police don’t check the boot. Trouble is, the police are neck-deep in this as well.

  13. redfred 13

    And guess what

    Telecom service engineers found

    “Kim Dotcom’s internet connection was being diverted inside New Zealand weeks before the Government Communications Security Bureau says it started spying on him”



    I think we can safely say we are on resignation watch.

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