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Andrea Vance’s phone records were handed to Henry by Parliamentary Services

Written By: - Date published: 1:47 pm, July 30th, 2013 - 80 comments
Categories: making shit up, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , ,

GCSB Maxwell Smart

No this is not a new post by the Civilian

This just in from Stuff:

Speaker David Carter has confirmed three months worth of phone records for Fairfax journalist Andrea Vance were handed over to a ministerial inquiry.

Carter today apologised to Vance and Fairfax group executive editor Paul Thompson and acknowledged answers given last week in response to questions about the journalist’s phone records were wrong.

In response to written questions last week, Carter said a request from investigator David Henry for Vance’s phone records had been declined.

Henry had been called in by Prime Minister John Key to investigate an unauthorised leak to Vance of a report on the Government Communications Security Bureau.

It has previously been confirmed that Henry was provided with electronic records tracking Vance’s movements in the Parliamentary complex.

Carter said today he became aware on Friday his answer in response to questions about Vance’s phone records was wrong.

Three months worth of phone records had “inadvertently” been supplied to Henry by Parliamentary Service during the course of his investigations.

The information had been collated by parliamentary contractor Datacom.

Henry immediately returned the records without viewing them and made it clear he had neither sought nor wanted them.

Carter confirmed, however, that Henry had sought phone records detailing which government ministers had phoned Vance.

So let’s get this straight.  Henry asked for the phone records, the information was collated and handed to him “inadvertently”, he then returned them without viewing them and he is now saying that he never asked for them, and Carter says that Parliamentary Services didn’t but did hand the information over to Henry.  Talk about Kafkaesque.

And why did Carter wait until today to announce all of this?  He found out about this last Friday.

Parliament should be very interesting this afternoon.


I also wrote a post on this – instead of posting it separately I will append it below – r0b


Last week Speaker David Carter denied passing on details of Journalist Andrea Vance’s phone records to the Henry enquiry:

Leak probe sought reporter’s phone log

In response to questions from Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, Speaker David Carter confirmed yesterday that the Henry inquiry also asked for information relating to internal calls made to and from Vance’s office phone, as well as her building access data.

The phone line is paid for by Fairfax Media, the publisher of The Dominion Post.

Mr Carter said the request was declined but confirmed that Parliamentary Service handed over Vance’s swipe-card access records.

Carter now admits that the records were in fact passed over:

Phone records given to inquiry

Three months worth of phone records for Fairfax journalist Andrea Vance were handed over to a ministerial inquiry, Parliament’s Speaker David Carter has confirmed.

Carter today apologised to Vance and Fairfax group executive editor Paul Thompson and acknowledged answers given last week denying Vance’s phone records had been handed over were wrong.

In a statement issued shortly after his apology, Carter said the release of Vance’s phone records was “completely unacceptable”.

Looks like we’ve been lied to doesn’t it. Carter pleads incompetence instead:

Carter said today he became aware on Friday his answer in response to questions about Vance’s phone records was wrong. Three months of phone records had “inadvertently” been supplied to Henry by Parliamentary Service during the course of his investigations. The information had been collated by parliamentary contractors Datacom.

Henry immediately returned the records without viewing them and made it clear he had neither sought nor wanted them, Carter said.

“I stress that the David Henry inquiry never requested this information and recorded that fact immediately the information was received. I am further advised that this information was not used by the inquiry.”

Carter confirmed, however, that Henry had sought phone records detailing which government ministers had phoned Vance.

How does anyone “inadvertently” pass over three months worth of phone records? Looks and smells like bullshit.

The statement about what Henry sought is also inconsistent with what Carter says in the first quoted piece: “asked for information relating to internal calls made to and from Vance’s office phone”.

Journalists who are currently up in arms on Twitter might like to consider more actively opposing the government’s plans to extend its spying activities to the rest of us. Peter Dunne might like to reconsider whether he really wants to lend his one-vote majority to this kind of surveillance state.

80 comments on “Andrea Vance’s phone records were handed to Henry by Parliamentary Services ”

  1. Pete 1

    This should send chills down the spines of New Zealanders who value their civil liberties.

    I never thought that political freedoms would be an electoral issue in this country, but it seems that’s how it will be next year. Expect the Greens to pick up a few votes on this.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      It was bad enough Dunne’s emails being handed over. It was worse when Vance’s access medadata was given. This latest development is incredibly bad.

      It just goes to show though that our understanding that Parliamentary Services emails, for instance, were safe because the OIA did not apply was totally wrong.

      All electronic communications under this regime should be regarded as unsafe.

      • Alanz 1.1.1

        “All electronic communications under this regime should be regarded as unsafe.”

        Yes, agree.

        And Granny Herald will now warn everyone in NZ and yell from rooftops that Democracy is Under Attack!

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          Strangely enough, its likely their journalists and subeditors who are going to be most under attack…

  2. Poission 2

    i was reading that “magazine” for the articles, not the pictures.

  3. mickysavage 3

    Apologies r0b. I had a look but saw nothing in the que.

    • r0b 3.1

      Not a problem! This happens sometimes with fast breaking stories. Hope you don’t mind me piggybacking on your post…

  4. Dv 4

    >>How does anyone “inadvertently” pass over three months worth of phone records? Looks and smells like bullshit.

    How does Datacom INADVERTENTLY COLATE three months of telephone records???

    • Ben 4.1

      That’s a very good question. There’s really two options here: Either the Datacom person was just following orders, or they’re long on initiative and short on brains.

      Would the request that was sent to Datacom for this information be available under the OIA? I doubt it would explicitly state “telephone records”, but it may say something like “all data relating to Andrea Vance.” The former would prove outright lies on the part of Carter. The latter would make it very clear they’re using weasel words when they say “we didn’t ask for phone records.”

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        You gotta love corporate complicity with spying. Why were judicial warrants not required?

      • marty mars 4.1.2

        Yes there is no way that someone would collating that data without explicit instructions. There must be a ‘paper trail’ and by the sounds of it, it’s probably toilet paper. I’m thinking that this arrow may have struck home and pierced the body and that although not necessarily mortal it could severely hamper the gnats.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.2

      Very easily, thats why its done.

      Most modern phone systems are computer based , so all the records are there.
      A quick computer scan of a single number and its done

  5. Adrian 5

    Who’s the Minister of Parliamentary services? Any other country in the world and he would be gone by lunch time?. But here he’s ” relaxed ” about that. Ladeeeeeis and Gennnnelmin, I present the Most Corrupt Prime Minister In our History. Observe and wonder!!!!.

  6. vto 6

    Clearly no information is safe in government hands.

    In addition the government wants to increase surveillance and record all of our communications.

    In addition the government breaks its own laws and spys on the people anyway.

    In addition the Defence Force (I mean, the Attack Force) threatens to murder our journalists.

    This government is dangerous. Watch out. We are in the same space the world was in in about 1930, with the west as the fascists and war-mongers.

    *shudder*

  7. richard 7

    This is absolutely disgraceful. I expect the speaker’s resignation.

    • Ben 7.1

      That would be the right thing to do.

      Which is to say that it probably won’t happen.

      • insider 7.1.1

        Exactly what has the speaker done wrong that requires him to resign?

        • Poission 7.1.1.1

          Misled parliament

          • insider 7.1.1.1.1

            You’ve got a pretty low threshold for resignation and seem to expect speaker infallibility. Firstly, he didn’t mislead parliament as it was a written answer. Next parliamentarians correct the record all the time and never resign.

            • Tigger 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Gross incompetence resulting in a huge breach of privacy. People have been fired for far less.

              • insider

                Not when acting on advice from officials. They mess up all the time on giving inaccurate information – usually through left and right hands not talking.

                • tricledrown

                  outsider this National govt is looking more corrupt every day !
                  Key looks 10 years older than last week the pressure is telling its toll!
                  how many more lies can one man tell!

  8. vto 8

    John Key “”We don’t think [the media] should be subject to surveillance and they’re not”

    There you go folks, another great big bare-faced lie by Key.

    The defence force just the other day admitted they spy on media. Does John Key really expect that people will believe him? Or is it just his compulsive lying habit and his making shit up as he goes habit getting the better of him.

    It is overdue that he was charged with being in breach of the Fair Trading in Politics Act.

    John Key is a liar.

  9. TheContrarian 9

    Disturbing…

  10. Mary 10

    Key says he has “enormous respect for the media”. I thought he said a while back that he didn’t? Oh, well.

  11. Colonial Viper 11

    Hey New Zealand Herald, this isn’t just an “Attack on Democracy”, press freedom is being killed in front of our very eyes, on your watch.

    Unless you want to operate like Pravda in the very near future, I suggest you take strong action. Now.

    Also. MPs better get a very clear understanding of how PS is dealing with their communications data and metadata.

    • Tigger 11.1

      +1 – How many of your journalists is this give spying on, Herald? Do you care?

  12. King Kong 12

    Terrible error however can someone let me know whether this week parliamentary journalist are the defenders of democracy or paid national party shills. It’s hard to keep up.

    • woot 12.1

      well yes – they are supposed to be ‘defenders of democracy’ but most of them (the national party shills) make a terrible job of it. The national party shills will find it pretty hard to give a sh*t about this – same with the GCSB saga.

    • emergency mike 12.2

      Maybe it’s possible that there is more than one kind of journalist KK?

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

    • tricledrown 12.3

      primitive peanuts for brains primate Simple Any journo that doesn’t tow the party line can be expected to be spied on!
      so hard for your small brain to keep up King Kong thats what happens when you try to defend the EMPIRE STATE!
      New name for John key.
      MoogaabKey!
      PM for Zimbaaaaaweee!
      Ironically Rhodesia has had kiwi dictator before Ian Smith no doubt a relative of old lizard eyes
      Nick Smith
      You would know all about that aye Kong being in your red neck of the woods!

  13. emergency mike 13

    That’s right jornos, think twice before you inadvertently pick up that phone or send that email or text.

    Maybe you should just stick to repeating official spin like Gower and Garner. That might be better for your career. Think of your family. Or are you one of them ‘politically aligned’ types?

  14. wyndham 14

    Henry immediately returned the records without viewing them and made it clear he had neither sought nor wanted them, Carter said.

    Yeah Right!

  15. Te Reo Putake 15

    Is Peter Dunne calling Carter a liar?

    “United Future leader Peter Dunne said he was told by the head of an inquiry into the leak of the GCSB report David Henry that he intended to access his phone records along with a Fairfax press gallery journalist.

    Mr Dunne’s comments on his way to Parliament today contradict a statement from Speaker of the House, David Carter.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10905495

    • insider 15.1

      I don’t think he’s calling Carter a liar – he is questioning Henry if you read on. But it does seem like PS don’t have a good grasp of what’s going on. And why it key appearing to answer on behalf of Carter?

      • Te Reo Putake 15.1.1

        Yes, you’re right, Insider. I was being a tad optimistic. But it really does put a strain on Dunne’s relationship with the Nats. Which might be why Key has stepped up to the plate himself.

        • insider 15.1.1.1

          I think Russel Norman is on to the core issue – Eagleson’s role in facilitating events. When it was just Henry there was a veneer of separation from key that could be argued. Hard to do that when your cos is meddling in events. One of the reasons for inquiries is to keep politicians’ hands clean. Haven’t they seen Yes Minister?

    • tracey 15.2

      This is peter dunne who denied everything and then resigned. Finding truth in a den of vipers may be very optimist

    • tracey 15.3

      This is peter dunne who denied everything and then resigned. Finding truth in a den of vipers may be very optimist

  16. bad12 16

    Parliament’s ‘question time’ was interesting today as much for the queries Russell Norman was making of Slippery the Prime Minister on this issue, but more so for the nervous looks of the National MP’s caught in the camera as the PM gave His answers,

    In a nutshell from the questions and answers so far asked, Slippery the PM set up the inquiry and the terms of that inquiry,

    It was Captain Panic Pant’s, Slippery’s Chief of Staff that He delegated from the Office of the Prime Minister who approached Parliamentary Services claiming (i assume), the authority to access the data of not only Dunne but that of the journalist Vance,

    i fail to see what legislation gives the Prime Minister any legal authority to set up such an inquiry where in essence a ‘spying’ operation is undertaken to uncover the previous actions of anybody,

    National MP’s were right to be fidgeting nervously in the House today while these exchanges took place between the Green Party’s Doctor Russell Norman and Slippery the Prime Minister,

    He, the PM, in the House today while trying to get away with his usual ”i know nothing” line also made the slip of accepting that if Captain Panic Pant’s was in breach of any statute or law He was acting in such a manner via delegated responsibility from the PM,

    i am sure Russell Norman will be back with further questions, one hell of a lot more further questions…

    • insider 16.1

      Captain panic pants is Kevin Taylor, former media chief now head of strategy (i think), not Wayne Eagleson.

      • bad12 16.1.1

        Well sorry have i got the wrong man, Eagleson is in fact the ‘culprit’ then, House Speaker Carter is saying He will get to the bottom of this,

        It’s frigging HA HA HA material, the red herring being put about by the agents of the Slippery little Shyster we have as the PM keep on denying it was the Henry inquiry who asked for Dunne and Vance’s data and phone records,

        That of course is correct, it was not Henry, it was Eagleson acting on behalf of the Prime Minister who asked Parliamentary Services for the information,

        Any wrong doing from Parliamentary Services then must be the wrong doing of the Prime Minister as it is the Prime Minister who to all extents and purposes who asked/demanded that Parliamentary Services hand over that information,

        Slippery the Prime Minister can hardly point the finger at Parliamentary Services for handing over the information when it is He who in essence demanded that they do so…

    • emergency mike 16.2

      Yes Russell Norman’s question was good. Key’s responses were classics. Norman asked a number of “Is the PM aware that x?” questions, Key responded twice with “I might not have been absolutely aware of it,” and “I don’t have that information at hand.”

      “I might not have been absolutely aware of it.” What does that mean? He was only a little aware of it? He was 95% aware of it?

      “I don’t have that information at hand.” Which is basically saying ‘I don’t know’ right? But he was asked whether or not he was aware of something. So, he doesn’t know if he’s aware of something or not? Huh? He needs to go away and check with someone about whether or not he’s aware of something? Yes Prime Minister. Of course what he really means is “I don’t want to answer that question, so I’ll stall for time to think about how to get my story straight, and hope that it does’t come up again.”

      There was also a generous amount of his nervous hissing intake of air after giving an answer.

  17. Tiger Mountain 17

    NZ, the “100% stasi curtain twitching, computer tapping, phone and pad eyeballing” surveillance state.

  18. Anne 18

    Calling BLiP… are you there BLiP?

    There’s a whole nest of lies in this here story… 😯

  19. mickysavage 19

    Dunne just said on Radio NZ that he was asked by Henry for access to his landline telephone records so that they could be compared with Andrea Vance’s records.

    This appears to directly contradict what Carter says Henry told him.

    Also it is not known why three months records were needed.

    Curiouser and curiouser …

  20. BLiP 20

    Classic National Ltd™ tactics . . .

    David Carter: “Ummm . . . Boss, it looks like we’ve been caught out”

    John Key: “Quick. Blame the public servants”.

    David Carter: “Yes, of course. You are so wise.”

  21. mickysavage 21

    Here we go … (thanks PG)

    On May 31 NZ First leader Winston Peters demanded the release of phone records to pinpoint the source of the leak in the Government Communications Security Bureau inquiry.

    He used parliamentary privilege to accuse UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne of leaking the Kitteridge report.

    He said in Parliament to Bill English “[a]ll the evidence is in those phone records, and your minister is gone”.

    Mr English subsequently said it was entirely up to Mr Henry whether to seek phone records.

    “If he thinks phone records will tell him something I’m sure he will go and get them. I’m a bit surprised at the detailed knowledge Mr Peters had about the way Mr Henry is doing his job.”

    Hoe did he know that the answer was in the records?

    Was he talking about Vance’s records and how did he discover what was in them …

  22. Pascal's bookie 22

    lol

    This exchange where Keith Ng, John Campbell, and Andrea Vance quietly school Gower some WRT worthwhile narrative:

    https://twitter.com/CampbellLiveNZ/status/362099725610131456

  23. Pascal's bookie 23

    Also, the real time search of John Key on twitter (trending) is fugly as:

    https://twitter.com/search/realtime?q=%22John%20Key%22&src=tren

    • BLiP 23.1

      Oooh luvvverly stuff. And how wonderful to see John Key-specific initiatives being highlighted for the failure they are – The Hobbit, for which the National Ltd™ government sold New Zealander workers down the Baranduin, and the America’s Cup, for which National Ltd™ handed over $36 million so rich pricks can have a yacht race – and all in the name of increasing tourism.

      Keep it up, John, I’m lovin’ it.

  24. David Cunliffe 24

    Great post Mickey. You have nailed issues of grave concern to all who care about civil liberties and the free press needed for a properly functioning democracy.

    Isn’t it now time for the “honourable” Peter Dunne to put his vote where his sympathies supposedly were and stop the misguided expansion of mass surveillance powers dead in its tracks. The GCSB is only passing the House because of his complicity.

    He simply cannot have it both ways. If it is not ok to be forced to give up his own emails to a reporter, and if it is not ok for the same reporter’s private phone records to be stolen, and if those same records might somehow have been passed to Winston Peters to help get the same Peter Dunne sacked, how can the jellyfish possibly vote to legalise exactly the same action being routinely inflicted on millions of Kiwis without a judge’s warrant?

    It beggars belief.

    One thing is for sure, this issue is growing into a damning narrative about Natiknal’s lack of moral leadership. They may get the bill through by shamelessly buying Hon Dunne’s vote, but they will never recover the mana that they wil lose in the eyes of middle New Zealand.

    • Chooky 24.1

      +1

    • mickysavage 24.2

      Cheers David.

      The message to Peter Dunne is that it is not too late. He can end his Parliamentary career making a stand on a position of principle or he can bow out supporting something that will having a chilling effect on civil liberties.

      And his statement that he will not release his own emails because of a stand on a matter of principle rankles. Using Key’s logic if Dunne has nothing to hide he has nothing to fear …

      • Colonial Viper 24.2.1

        Indeed. Dunne can gift himself with a newly polished legacy as an advocate of privacy and civil liberties, at a time that these issues are taking people in the developed world by storm.

      • RedBaronCV 24.2.2

        So what has Dunne been promised? I simply can’t see him standing for Parliament again. First election meeting, somebody makes a smart comment and the place dissolves into laughter. Hard to get votes that way.

        And yes, he could go out on a high/ethical note to balance against his selling of assets but the contra offer must be too good?

        • mickysavage 24.2.2.1

          No doubt a plum overseas posting is in the pipeline if National is following its normal modus operandi …

    • Arfamo 24.3

      +2

    • tricledrown 24.4

      mugaabKey more lies need more spies!
      Nixon and Key tweedle dumb and tweedle dee!
      I am not a crook!

  25. gobsmacked 25

    “Parliament should be very interesting this afternoon.”

    Like many others, I tuned in with anticipation. I can’t be bothered with another round of Shearer-facepalm, so I’ll let readers judge for themselves.

    Scroll down to the bottom and follow the reaction to Question Time, in real time. The overwhelming frustration speaks for itself.

    https://twitter.com/search/realtime?q=%23nzqt&src=hash

    Russel Norman *is* the leader of the opposition.

    • Chooky 25.1

      +1 gobsmacked

      Wouldn’t it be fantastic if he was leader of the opposition alongside David Cunliffe….?
      It would be an unbeatable combination! .

  26. Mary 26

    Key had his lying look on when he was trying to explain the emails on the TV news tonight. I always like that look on him.

    • Lanthanide 26.1

      I’d prefer he didn’t lie and just told the truth for a change.

      • Mary 26.1.1

        I like his lies because the more he does it the greater the chance he’ll be voted out. Key telling the truth about what he’s doing doesn’t make what he does any better. The GCSB issue might help turn voters against him but we could do with a few lies being exposed for good measure. Have been looking forward to the Dotcom evidence and now there’s the Dunne email debacle. You never know what just might be lurking around the corner for him, and we do need to stay hopeful.

  27. BLiP 27

    I can’t help but wonder how long this sort of thing has been going on. I mean, what drove John Key to, unprompted, admit in Parliament that he’d know Ian Fletcher since school? Did he know that there was some chatter going on within the opposition and media?

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      Possibly, in which case you definitely want to control the release of information, its timing and its framing

  28. BLiP 28

    Russell Norman skewers the “blame the public servants” spin now picked up by the media with his questions in the House today. Turns out Parliamentary Services was asked directly by the Prime Minister’s office to hand the data over. Grant Robertson twists the knife by pointing out John Key’s answer to Parliamentary Question 8179.

    • bad12 28.1

      yeah Blip, i cannot make that link work, But, i watched Russell ask His series of questions yesterday and am damn sure that among the usual denial’s, am not sure’s, and, maybe’s, the Slippery little Shyster admitted that it was His Chief if Staff and even went so far to give an (unbelievable) apology,

      It’s like being the occupant of 2 different planets at the moment, i foolishly read the Fourth Estate’s version of events this morning where the Heralds Fifth Columnist political commentators don’t make a mention of Question 2 in the Parliament yesterday,

      Henry, at the head of the inquiry denies asking Parliamentary Services for Vance’s phone records, and, it may not be coincidence here that Dunne keeps asserting that He did, then again Dunne may be deliberately dragging the big red herring across the trail in an attempt to keep attention firmly upon Parliamentary Services and OFF of the actions of the Prime Minister and His office,

      Here’s how i pick events to have unfolded, Henry asks Dunne for access to the phone records, Dunne says No Way,

      Henry then approaches the Prime Ministers Chief of Staff as per Henry’s instructions given to Him by Slippery the Prime Minister when He initiated the inquiry,

      Slippery’s Chief of Staff Eaggleson, under instructions from the Prime Minister to give Henry all the help He needs to conduct the inquiry, being told by Henry that He is being denied access to phone records he feels He needs to complete His inquiry, it is then Eaggleson who approaches Parliamentary Services, in essence acting on behalf of the Prime Minister, and asks for/demands the phone records sought by Henry,

      Who then must carry the can for Parliamentary Services handing over the phone records???, Slippery the Prime Minister must, both Henry and Eaggleson are the Prime Ministers agents acting upon His instructions,

      It does not matter one iota IF the Prime Minister did or did not DIRECTLY instruct either Henry or Eaggleson to approach Parliamentary Services seeking those phone records and blaming Parliamentary Services for handing them over is to say the least f**king spurious when it was the Authority of the Prime Minister and His office which caused the phone records to be handed over in the first place…

  29. Observer Tokoroa 29

    I regret to say there is no sign that Peter Dunne is a person who chooses principle as his underpinning motivation. Using the word “principle” is not the same as following principle. There is no point in pining for his change of vote.

    For that reason, it is so important than non national politicians form a solid pact to present an overwhelmingly alternative Government at the next election! Such a Government will be able to calmly unstitch weird legislation brought into New Zealand by the current extraordinarily strange politicians.

  30. tracey 30

    Key dropped the supervisory ball which saw 80 kiwis spied on his watch….. then his office demanded vances emails without his knowledge…. he prolly shouldnt have positions of responsibility.

  31. tracey 31

    Key dropped the supervisory ball which saw 80 kiwis spied on his watch….. then his office demanded vances emails without his knowledge…. he prolly shouldnt have positions of responsibility.

  32. tracey 32

    Sorry I misheard. I thought the pms office had the phone records. Apologies

    • Colonial Viper 32.1

      PM’s chief of staff gave the OK for PS to get the records…at least that’s what I understood from this morning.

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