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Gwyn report

Written By: - Date published: 10:19 am, November 25th, 2014 - 66 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, john key, national - Tags: , , ,

The full Gwyn report (pdf) is here. The Media release (currently at the top of this page) reads:

Inspector-General publishes report on inquiry into release of NZSIS information to Cameron Slater – 25 November 2014, 10:00am

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, published her report on the inquiry into the release of NZSIS information to Mr Cameron Slater at a press conference in Wellington today.

The inquiry considered whether:

  • the NZSIS acted properly and within the law when it considered and responded to an Official Information Act request from Cameron Slater in July and August 2011;

  • the documents released to Mr Slater were properly declassified;

  • other requests for similar information were treated in a manner consistent with Mr Slater’s request; and

  • there was any evidence the NZSIS acted in a manner inconsistent with its obligations of political neutrality.

The inquiry found the NZSIS released incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information in response to Mr Slater’s request, and provided some of the same incorrect information to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office.

“These errors resulted in misplaced criticism of the then Leader of the Opposition, Hon Phil Goff MP. Mr Goff is owed a formal apology by the Service,” said Ms Gwyn.

Ms Gwyn found no evidence of political partisanship by the NZSIS but did find that the NZSIS failed to take adequate steps to maintain political neutrality.  “Having released inaccurate information that was predictably misinterpreted, the then Director of the Service had a responsibility to take positive steps to correct the interpretation. He failed to do so,” said Ms Gwyn.

Ms Gwyn said she had also investigated allegations, made before and during the course of the inquiry, that NZSIS officers had acted in collusion with Mr Slater or under direction from the Prime Minister or the Prime Minister’s Office. Ms Gwyn said that these allegations were particularly serious and that she had made full use of her statutory powers to investigate them.

“From that thorough investigation, I do not believe that any NZSIS staff member contacted Mr Slater to instigate his OIA request.  Nor have I found any collusion or direction between the NZSIS and the Prime Minister or his Office.”

Ms Gwyn went to on comment that she had, however, established that a staff member of the Prime Minister’s office had provided unclassified NZSIS information to Mr Slater. However, that information was understood by the Prime Minister’s Office to have been provided for media purposes and there was no breach of confidence towards NZSIS in that disclosure.

“That disclosure did not breach any confidentiality or security obligations owed by those staff to the NZSIS. No classified information was disclosed to Mr Slater.” Said Ms Gwyn.

Ms Gwyn commented that the OIA and the obligations of political neutrality and of consultation with the Leader of the Opposition are critical safeguards for public confidence in the NZSIS.

Ms Gwyn has made a number of recommendations around OIA processes and systemic changes to manage NZSIS interactions with Ministerial Offices. The Director of the NZSIS, Rebecca Kitteridge, has accepted all of the Inspector-General’s recommendations.

“The NZSIS undertakes important work, vital for New Zealand’s security. It has talented and dedicated staff.  But those staff, and the work they do, depend upon public trust and confidence.  I hope that through the publication of this report and its recommendations, public trust and confidence can be better sustained.” Ms Gwyn said.

Ms Gwyn said she wanted to acknowledge the high level of cooperation and support provided to the inquiry and acknowledged, in particular, that the former Director, Dr Tucker, had accepted many of the shortcomings identified and had taken personal responsibility for the actions of the NZSIS under his leadership. She said she was pleased that she was able to release her report to the public in full without redactions.

“I hope the public can see from the detail of the report that the inquiry was comprehensive and rigorous.

The report demonstrated the significant powers granted to the Inspector-General.

“While some of the investigative steps I took were intrusive, they were necessary to ensure a rigorous and thorough investigation. It is vital the public has trust and confidence in the oversight of their intelligence agencies, ” said Ms Gwyn.

ENDS

Notes:

(Cartoon on front page by Emmerson in The Herald)
 
 

https://twitter.com/danylmc/status/536991554737422336

66 comments on “Gwyn report”

  1. Weepus beard 1

    Looks carefully watered down to me. No wonder nothing was redacted.

    • BassGuy 1.1

      When we hear so many statements with so much room for interpretation, and apparent lies, it surprises me that we are expected to believe anything released by this government.

  2. Bob 2

    “The inquiry found the NZSIS released incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information in response to Mr Slater’s request, and provided some of the same incorrect information to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office.”
    and
    “From that thorough investigation, I do not believe that any NZSIS staff member contacted Mr Slater to instigate his OIA request. Nor have I found any collusion or direction between the NZSIS and the Prime Minister or his Office.”

    Just wanted to point these out before the inevitable “John Key planned the whole thing” brigade come out….again

    • aaron 2.1

      Oh dear, can we get some decent trolling around here?

      Saying that John Key planned the whole thing is such an obvious Straw Man argument. JK set up a dirty tricks crew 6 years ago and left them to do their job. It’s quite obvious from the quality of their work that they don’t need hands-on supervision but he’s still responsible for what they do.

      • sabine 2.1.1

        no he is not.

        nothing stops with Dear Leader. He is infallible, kinda like the pope but in a more secular way.

        You see he is NOT Prime Minister (who if he would be someone else would of course be responsible for the people working for him), He is John Key, Husband to a women, Father to Kids, Pawned by a Cat, Griller of good BBQ, Dear Leader of NZ and at times the Representative of the office of the Prime Minister, but never ever is he the Prime Minister unless he goes golfing with Mr. Obama or when he signs away the country for foreign owned Corporate Interests. Then of course he is Prime Minister cause ….bitches.

        see.
        that was easy.

      • Jones 2.1.2

        It’s more than just being responsible… John Key is accountable for the actions of his office. Responsibility can be shared, accountability cannot. John Key should resign.

    • Tracey 2.2

      If he knew nothing, again. Then our PM has been surrepticiously body snatched by Sergeant Shultz

      He apparently has presided over a culture of MPs, Cabinet Ministers, his own office and his portfolio without knowing what anyone who has behaved badly was doing.

      So, Bob, if he saw and knew nothing about oh so many things, for that alone he is unfit to lead our country.

  3. sabine 3

    and all the twitteres listed voted for him.

    Crows and Hats, uncooked and without salt. Eat it.

  4. Anne 4

    Just listened to an interview with Phil Goff on nine to noon. Goff was brilliant. He demonstrated from his own knowledge of the events leading up to the 2011 campaign that it was an orchestrated smear campaign which was, in his words implicitly or explicitly approved of by John Key. He went on to claim that the Prime Minister is the one who should have made the apology on behalf of himself and his office staff, and that he should now produce evidence either by way of legislation or something else which would give NZers an assurance that… never again will it be possible for a government to be able to use the apparatus of the Security Intelligence agencies for politically motivated purposes.

    Immediately following that interview Ryan read out an excerpt from a press release where Key lays the entire blame squarely at the door of the SIS and apparently makes no mention of his “office’s” role in the campaign. We now know why Key handed the Security keys to Findlayson.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon

  5. Ffloyd 5

    Watch carefully and see the trail of slime jk leaves behind him as he slithers into Parliament today.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1

      I guess the Speaker wont allow a snap debate ?

      And if he did ( by not seeing the hand signals from Brownlee), there would be a rush for the exits by Key and his front bench.

  6. Clemgeopin 6

    This report is a whitewash to save Key.
    John Key wasn’t even interviewed during this investigation involving his office and the SIS, both of which Key is responsible for!

    Stuff reports some statements from Andrew Little:

    Aimee Gulliver
    Little: “It just isn’t believable for the Prime Minister to say he didn’t know what was going on.” Any denial of knowledge from Key was “absolute rubbish”. Some “spectacular misjudgements” had been made at the SIS level, Little said. The report validated Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics book and the claims in it.

    Aimee Gulliver
    Labour leader Andrew Little said the report confirmed there was a smear machine operating out of the PM’s office, and the only person responsible for it was Key.

    Katie Bradford on Twitter:
    Andrew Little says there’s one person who has to take responsibility following IGIS inquiry, and that’s John Key.

    Phil Goff:
    “This report demands accountability by John Key for the actions of his office for which – at the very least – he failed to exercise oversight and in all likelihood knew about and failed to rein in. The actions of two of his staff, his deputy chief of staff Phil de Joux and his senior adviser Jason Ede politicised the SIS and broke rules about confidentiality and political neutrality.

    “The Prime Minister was fully aware of Mr Ede’s political role, his regular contact with Whaleoil and the sleaze and dirty politics that were employed through Whale Oil on an ongoing basis. Mr Key has stated before that his staff act for him.

    “The political damage before the 2011 election cannot now be remedied. Mr Key is now obliged to take responsibility for the actions of his staff.”

    • Clemgeopin 6.1

      More from Goff: [from Beehive live on Stuff :
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/beehive-live/63503724/Beehive-Live-SIS-report-release

      Aimee Gulliver
      Goff received apology from new SIS director Rebecca Kitteridge this morning.

      “But there is one acknowledgement that has not been made in this whole sorry affair.”
      That is an acknowledgement by Key that leaks were coming from his office to WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater, as outlined in Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics.

      Goff regrets that Key was not required to give evidence before the IGIS as he was. It was not too late for him to accept responsibility and “come clean” and give an absolute undertaking that he will no longer undertake the misuse of confidential information from the SIS for political reasons, Goff said.

      Aimee Gulliver
      Goff said Key should go under oath before the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security and give evidence on what he knew.
      “John Key has nowhere to hide on this issue, he must take responsibility.”

      Goff questioned whether Key knew his office was involved in passing information to Cameron Slater.

      “If he didn’t know, he is still responsible for actions of his office staff.”
      But it “defied belief” that a staffer would do something as big as leaking confidential SIS information to a “scurrilous blogger” without Key’s knowledge.

      “The Prime Minister employed Jason Ede to do exactly what he did.”

      Aimee Gulliver:
      Stopping short of calling Key a liar, Goff said he could not believe Key was unaware of the dirty politics being run out of his office.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      SIS report: Andrew Little, Leader of the Labour Party (Video)

      And Little is wrong at the end there. Key needs to take responsibility and resign (Although I’d prefer it if he was found guilty of a crime and jailed).

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1

        Amusing, that comment didn’t go into moderation until after I’d edited it and added the last sentence.

        [lprent: There are some distinct oddities about how the bug operates. ]

  7. One Anonymous Bloke 7

    Key has already interviewed himself and finds that he has been completely exonerated.

  8. ghostwhowalksnz 8

    The SIS Act states this:

    4AA Political neutrality of New Zealand Security Intelligence Service
    (1) The Director must take all reasonable steps to ensure that—
    (a) the activities of the Security Intelligence Service are limited to those that are relevant to the discharge of its functions:
    (b) the Security Intelligence Service is kept free from any influence or consideration that is not relevant to its functions:
    (c) the Security Intelligence Service does not take any action for the purpose of furthering or harming the interests of any political party.

    Seems like a direct breach of section C. Futhering the interests of the National Party.

    They were declassifying material to release to Slater, it cant have just suddenly occurred to them out of the blue this is a great idea as we are open and transparent.

  9. Yoza 9

    I’m sure Key must be running out of room under the bus he has been throwing people.

  10. alwyn 10

    I feel rather sorry for Andrew Little with all this stuff coming up.
    He seems to want to try and get the Labour Party to move on and he has Phil Goff continuing to try and fight the 2011 election campaign all over again.
    Give up Phil. You can pin-prick all you like but the public really doesn’t care and all you are doing is continuing to attract attention away from Little and back onto your own denial of reality.
    You lost Phil. Get over it.

    • sabine 10.1

      oh dear. that was very very lame.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 10.2

      ….your own denial of reality.?

      Someone isnt the brightest spoon in the draw

    • ankerawshark 10.3

      Alwyn 10 B off troll You are not worth responding to.

      • alwyn 10.3.1

        Then why on earth did you bother?
        You aren’t required to do so you know.
        You aren’t required to read it either.
        I won’t be hurt if, given that you don’t think I am worth responding to, you don’t waste your no doubt precious time in doing so.
        It will also save me time looking at the responses to my comments.

        • ankerawshark 10.3.1.1

          Alwyn @10.3.1. I thought it was worth the bother to get rid of you, not engage with you. A bit like how I treat flies.

    • adam 10.4

      Put it down and walk away alwyn.

      Slowly, slowly, you’re spinning, you’re spinning.

      Deep breaths Deep breaths,.

      Yes John Key got caught out as a spin merchant again – it’s OK he lies for a living.

      You can go back to your fantasy bubble soon.

      Breath it will be OK, the mole from the ministry will come with your shots soon.

    • Murray Rawshark 10.5

      Phil Goff, much as I dislike him, has been vindicated. If you think wanting our elected leader to obey both legislation and convention is pinpricking, that’s very sad. Given the extension of squirrel powers that are about to be voted into law, there is nothing more appropriate at the moment than pushing for accountability on this matter.

  11. Clemgeopin 11

    Aimee Gulliver @aimeegulliver

    Goff called on PM John Key to resign – said he is not fit for the job.

  12. I don’t understand how these two statements can be reconciled

    However, while Ms Gwyn said her investigation revealed a staff member in Prime Minister John Key’s office had effectively guided Mr Slater to request information about the briefing…

    and from key,

    “The report makes it absolutely crystal clear that my office did nothing that was either unprofessional or breached any of the requirements on them.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11364057

    and I found this statement by key to be revealing

    “Yesterday I strongly suspect that the Labour Party did exactly that by leaking this report. The only reason they would have breached the confidentiality agreement and leaked the report 24 hours prior to its release is they know that the very strong allegations they made about my personal involvement weren’t stacked up in the report and they were trying to get their own spin on it.”

    Keep talking key and we’ll soon know all your sordid details.

    • Tracey 12.1

      Did a single journalist ask Key if he has made a formal complaint to the police about the leak and his evidence it was the Lp?

      Key seems so sure it was LP yet it could have been the nats, just as easily…

      To gague public opinion, cue farrar polling last night
      To blame LP for it.

      I have no evidence but Key sounds certain. Someone fucking ask him if he has laid the complaint

  13. McFlock 13

    In 2011 a security service edited documents prior to declassification in a manner that aided its minister against his political opponents, and allowed misunderstandings that resulted from that editing to persist.

    In 2014 a security service declassified documents that its minister claimed made a telling blow against his political opponents.

    In 2017 – oh, I’m sure it will all be purely coincidental. /sarc

    • Macro 13.1

      But Ms Gwyn says that “no evidence of political partisanship by the NZSIS but did find that the NZSIS failed to take adequate steps to maintain political neutrality.” That seems very contradictory to me! Either they maintained political neutrality or they didn’t. And two incidents just prior to two Elections when the polls are indicating a tight race is just too damning for words. This is clear partisanship and needs to be exposed for what it is. A blatant misuse/abuse by the Prime Minister of the power invested in him, for his own political ends. HE HAS TO GO! (and yes Lprent I am shouting, and so should we all, and marching in the streets, calling for this despot to go)

      • McFlock 13.1.1

        They were impartially non-neutral.
        They had a non-partisan bias.
        It’s all bewilderingly comprehensible 🙂

  14. mac1 14

    So, in the past week we seem to have CEOs and heads of organisations who are very much at fault. Rennie, Sutton, Tucker, and within the Prime Minister’s Department.

    W hy are so many of these top people dodgy? Who takes responsibility for their hire and promotion? CEOs of decent quality must be very concerned at the sullying of their positions.

    Why are those who have acted outside the law not taken through a judicial process? That is, (for example) Mr Tucker, you broke the law and now you have left your job so you can’t be punished by sacking, both with the loss of the job and the infamy that such a sacking should entail.

    Jason Ede destroyed his e-mails. If this was done to fudge an investigation, should that not be actionable?

    The enquiry brought out that Ms Gwyn had the ability to discover that Cameron Slater was on the phone to Justin Ede at the actual moment of transmission by computer of an OIA request.

    What does that tell us about the level of intrusion into our lives.

    This Gwyn report et alia is alarming at many levels about our SIS, our top management, electronic surveillance, and our unwillingness to cop responsibility by so many people, staring at the top with Prime Minister and former minister responsible for the SIS and the Prime Minister’s Office, John Key.

    • weizguy 14.1

      Re Ede: Surely deleting emails is the information age version of shredding documents.

    • Tracey 14.2

      Ray smith of corrections…

    • Olwyn 14.3

      I wonder if we still have any effective mechanisms for reining this out-of-control government in, since it seems as if Key has his people posted at practically every point from which a meaningful threat might come. It is said that Plunket is calling for his resignation, but that only shows that Plunket thinks he can afford the gesture for perception’s sake, since nothing is going to come of it anyway. And the more they get away with, the more license they will assume – it’s very scary.

      • Weepus beard 14.3.1

        This.

        When I heard Plunket was one who had “called for John Key’s head”, I immediately thought it was so out of character that on this occasion he’d been the one in Key’s vast network of media and state-service psycho-phants shoulder-tapped to offer some doubt about the great one’s behaviour in order to run distraction and present an over all picture of impartiality.

        • Olwyn 14.3.1.1

          I wonder if they even need shoulder-tapping, or simply tailor their actions to prevailing conditions and the result they are after. For example, if by some strange fluke, the GG expressed ‘grave concerns’ and it looked like he might dissolve parliament, then Plunket would very likely turn his hand to Key’s defense. But as it is Key looks safe so he can attend to his own ‘journalistic integrity’ and retain his clout.

  15. Tracey 15

    Labour should now oppose the urgent terrorism changes today, unless and until this dysfunctional service and its cabinet ministers (Key and Finlayson) can prove they are trustworthy with such a power as 48 hours surveillance without a warrant. Not words. Proof.

    • Murray Rawshark 15.1

      NAct cannot prove that, and even if they could, Labour should oppose the legislation. There is no need for it. The last changes went far further than they should have.

  16. Here is my two cents:

    Why Was Phil Goff Silenced And Why Did Netanyahu Phone John Key Four Times On The Day Of The Chch Earthquake http://wp.me/p638n-4BM

    Update: First sentence of the final report:

    NOTE ON REPORT
    This report is an unclassified version of a report that has been provided to the Prime Minister who was at the relevant times the Minister in Charge of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service and is now the Minister for National Security and intelligence.; the Minister in Charge of the New
    Zealand Security Intelligence Service and the Director of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service

  17. Anne 17

    If anyone had any misgivings about Andrew Little’s debating abilities in the House… watch his contribution to the Urgent Debate currently taking place – when the video becomes available. I think you will be more than happy with his performance!

  18. Blue 18

    After reading the report, my preliminary thoughts are as follows:

    1. The public of New Zealand would expect that SIS briefings are given to the Prime Minister personally, not to his office staff. The report confirms that this was the practice prior to Key being PM. The idea of national security briefings being given to office staff is not something I am comfortable with and I doubt many people would consider this ideal, particularly not when it leads to abuses as it has in this case, with SIS info being given to partisan bloggers with impunity.

    2. The Director of the SIS, Warren Tucker, was repeatedly warned by several people not to release the information to Slater, and he ignored every single one of those warnings and released it anyway. And not just released it, but released it with such speed as the SIS would never normally show, and while ignoring all requests from mainstream media journalists. The report whitewashes this and attributes it to incompetence. I don’t believe anything of the sort. The idea that the Director of the SIS would be gung-ho to release information under the OIA to a private citizen whom he knew nothing about against the advice of his own officials is quite simply incredible.

    3. The report confirms that Jason Ede fed information to Slater, worded the OIA for him and wrote draft blog posts for him to post on his site. He sent emails from private email addresses in an attempt to stay off the grid. All of this while working in the Prime Minister’s office. His behaviour is utterly beyond the pale and the Prime Minister is responsible for Ede’s employment and how he formed the idea that this conduct was acceptable.

    4. The idea that the staff of the Prime Minister’s office did nothing wrong by releasing the information to Slater is astounding. There is no legitimate reason whatsoever for politicians or their office staff to communicate any information to a partisan, extremist blogger. The idea that this is acceptable and a normal part of political communication is something I strongly resist.

    This whole matter is incredibly disturbing in what it reveals about how Key’s government functions.

  19. I just hope that they’re able to pull out more information from whatever depths of storage they have so we can have soeme proper diclosure about what is really going on with this inquisition. SO much talk about doing something but not much to show for it. It’s no wonder that Ms Gwyn said “I hope the public can see from the detail of the report that the inquiry was comprehensive and rigorous.”

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