Plausible deniability: Smoke & mirrors

Written By: - Date published: 12:56 pm, February 17th, 2014 - 79 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, john key, national, russel norman, slippery, Spying, winston peters - Tags:

As Lynn points out in his post today ‘National’s Herald shows its true colours’, the very visible flaunting of connections between National MPS, the ACT Party, an NZ Herald gossip columnist and Cameron Slater is puzzling.  This all resulted from the press statements by John Key.  Here Key was mainly stressing that he did not get information about Winston Peters’ visits to the Dotcom mansion form the GCSB, SIS or any public agency.

Pablo, who has a background in security research and analysis [* and more- see edit at bottom of post], posted on Kiwipolitico that he is very skeptical about Slater being the source of information about the Peters’ visits.  Pablo argues that it would be perfectly logical, possible and legal for the police, with or without the legal help of the SIS or GCSB, to be monitoring Kim Dotcom and those he associates with.  They could be doing this because they consider Dotcom to be a flight risk, or (that old police dodge) associating with drug users. Pablo concludes:

That is why Mr Key’s version of how he came to know about Mr. Peters’ treks to the Coatesville property is odd. He claims that he got his information about Dotcom’s political visitors from Cameron Slater working with or independently from a Herald gossip columnist. That is troubling.

The Right Honorable John Key is the Minister of Intelligence and Security, so presumably he is aware of the status of security operations and the Dotcom case in particular given its history. But he claims that he received domestic espionage information about Dotcoms’s visitors from a right-wing, admittedly partisan “attack” blogger, rather than from the security agencies for which he is responsible and who have a legal right to monitor Mr. Dotcom. That is a sign of incompetence or willful ignorance on his part.

All this adds up to John Key being very nervous about accusations he has been using state surveillance for political purposes, and keen to divert attention from it.

A bit of a refresher:

Kim Dotcom was spied on illegally by the GCSB in the lead up to his arrest at the Dotcom mansion.

More recently, the USA’s, NSA (National Security Agency) has been implicated in that spying, as stated on Stuff, November 2013).  Evidence indicates some other unnamed agency supplied intelligence to the GCSB:

Police had asked GCSB for help in December 2011 as they gathered evidence for a joint police-FBI raid on Dotcom’s rural Auckland home.

However, the surveillance was illegal as the German was a New Zealand resident which protected him from the GCSB’s activities, that were meant to exclude New Zealand citizens or residents.

The police summary makes a passing reference to “data supplied to the GCSB” in the leadup to the raid, Operation Debut. The US is attempting to extradite Dotcom on internet piracy charges.

The file says: “Because of the origin of the data supplied to GCSB it could not be established to an evidential standard whether the data was gathered at rest or in transit.”

Later in the document it again refers to data obtained by the GCSB: “the investigation could not establish whether it was gathered at rest or in transit when it was acquired. GCSB could not provide the investigation with this information as they did not have it”.

And Russel Norman was quick to point the finger at the NSA. Interesting given that there have been attempts to smear Norman’s perfectly reasonable meetings with Kim Dotcom.

A lot of the sources of information about the actual surveillance of Kim Dotcom are obscured.

Some of the GCSB records have been deleted, apparently as part of normal procedures with “old” information.

Three GCSB staff members have refused to cooperate and supply evidence for the police investigation into the GCSB’s illegal spying on Kim Dotcom.

Police this week released a summary of their investigation of Green Co-leader Russel Norman’s complaint about the illegal spying which was revealed Inspector General of Intelligence and Security Paul Neazor a year ago.

Announcing their findings three months ago, the police said the GCSB’s spying was illegal but as GCSB staff did not act with criminal intent, no one would be held accountable.

However the summary noted that three current GCSB staff refused to be interviewed by police.

On 28 August 2013, Ian Fletcher refused to say yes or no to an Official Information Request.  The request was as follows:

Does the GCSB receive any funding from the NSA? If so, I’d like to know how much per year for the last five years, and what it was expected to be spent on.

Fletcher claimed his non-answer was for security reasons.  However, this request followed information in the Edward Snowden leaks that showed the UK’s 5 Eyes’ spy agency, the GCHQ, had received funding from the NSA.

The Greens’ Stephan Browning and Russel Norman have also pointed out the legal ways the NSA is able to access NZ communications, as a result of recent NZ legislation and a US ruling.

There will most certainly be more to come on this issue as the Dotcom case proceeds. The stakes are high. John Key has said that it would be the end of his government and him as prime minister, if he was connected with the use of state surveillance on Winston Peters.  He has also said that he would resign if it was discovered that the GCSB was “conducting mass surveillance on New Zealanders.”.

Edited on 20.02.2014:

* Along with his background in security research and analysis, Pablo has, in his own words, “an operational background in such (particularly intelligence and unconventional warfare) matters as well as my former academic interests in the same.”

Apologies to Pablo for the omission, and misleading description.

79 comments on “Plausible deniability: Smoke & mirrors ”

  1. ianmac 1

    I remarked before Karol that I wondered about the Whaleoil being the source. It seemed sort of contrived. Mr Key did not actually say that Mr Slater was his source so he couldn’t be accused of lying. Mr Slater did not actually confirm that he was the source. He just said, “If Mr Key says I was then he must be right.” He could not be accused of lying. Then this morning Mr Williams said (9 to Noon) that it was reported that Claire Cullan was noted visiting Kim Dotcom “carrying a suitcase.” Very detailed?? And that to note that Mr Peters had visited 3 times would need someone to be observing over a period of time, and not a passerby noticing once.
    Mr Key’s demeanor when being questioned was distinctly at odds from when he started talking about an more ordinary topic. (I have known kids to grin very strongly when caught out, I think in an effort to deflect punishment. Just like Mr Key.)
    So I think that there is more to this story that needs to be exposed. It could just mean that an official observer or a private one leaks to another uninvolved person who leaks to another who leaks to the PM. A chain of deniability.

    Can you imagine that Mr Peter’s will let it lie unexplored?

    • Northshoreguynz 1.1

      Whaleoil is on the Judith Collins side in the jockeying for leader after Key, is he not? Could it be that Key is tipping his hat to her as leader, instead of Joyce?

      • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.1

        Slater is also running down the current national party president at every opportunity. While Key supports him.
        It doesnt mean anything, as he has previously disparaged Slater as well.

        Didnt you know that Key is a master Chameleon

    • Bill 1.2

      Key said he was told by – and he hesitated before using this description btw- a member of the public. I didn’t know that anyone was seriously thinking Slater had been that person – aside from him being, perhaps, a mere conduit for the info. (I agree with the take of ianmac, above, on that score)

      Question. Is an off duty cop a member of the public? I think they are.

      So, for the second time in as many weeks, I find myself agreeing with Pablo. It makes sense, in their world, for the cops to have Dotcom under surveillance. So, John Key is in the clear…a scumbag, but in the clear… and his upbeat and confident demeanor when asked about SIS or GCSB involvement, explained.

      Meanwhile, his happy association with a guy who laughs at dead babies, and who slags off the integrity of dead west coasters, will be politely ignored by the corporate media. They enjoy and value those free lunches fed them by John Key and his team through that self same guy who laughs at dead babies

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 1.2.1

        Are members of the SIS or GCSB not also ‘members of the public’?

        • Bill 1.2.1.1

          I’d guess that the reigns and expectations placed on them are much more restrictive when they not on active duty than those that may or may not apply to any cop…ie, they are heavily restricted members of the public who have a far greater onus placed on them to ‘watch what they say’.

          Besides. Seems legitimate to invoke Occam’s Razor in this instance. Cop surveillance. Cop (off-duty) passing info back to Johnny.

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 1.2.1.1.1

            You didn’t answer my question – which is fairly important considering it might be the key to Key’s deceptive statement[s].

            • Bill 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Is it really so important? What sanctions would a member of the SIS face if he/she put operational info into the public domain? Fairly severe, I’d imagine. What would they stand to gain from putting info into the public domain? I’d imagine, 5/8ths of sweet fuck all weighted against the possibility of losing their job and career.

              Apply the same questions to the scenario of a cop and, for that matter, a member of Dotcom’s security team. The cop is the only one in a more or less neutral position as far as potential gain/loss.

              edit – I also don’t think Key was being very deceptive. Cagey, yes…especially on the Slater/ member of the public front. Sure and confident on the SiS front? Yes. Where was the deception?

              • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                “I also don’t think Key was being very deceptive. Cagey, yes…especially on the Slater/ member of the public front. Sure and confident on the SiS front? Yes.”

                O.k that is your opinion.

                Just remember, though:

                Sincerity: if you can fake it, you’ve got it made.
                – DANIEL SCHORR, International Herald Tribune, May 18, 1992

                “What sanctions would a member of the SIS face if he/she put operational info into the public domain?”

                It doesn’t have to be that active on the part of the SIS member. For example: – rewording your question slightly gives us:

                What sanctions would a member of the SIS face if the PM chose to put operational info into the public domain?

                • Colonial Viper

                  As we have seen in the USA, those who leak secret information which happens to help the narrative of the power elite, get away scot free.

                  All other leakers and whistleblowers get crucified.

                  Such is the world of arbitrary rule of law that we now live in.

                  • Akldnut

                    Key still denied it was information gathered from the SIS or any Government agency that he’s the minister of.

                    I wouldn’t put it past Slater to be complicit in this plan to put it over on the public when he said “If Key said it then it must be true”, take the rap for it and remove suspicion from the spies.

                    Key also said he would be happy for Agencies under his ministries to be checked.
                    An open invitation that some one perhaps should be taking up?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      In the USA the FBI have been obtaining and using secret surveillance intel gathered by the NSA in order to progress criminal cases.

                      This is ostensibly illegal (i.e. using the products of the mass surveillance of US citizens) and such evidence could not be produced in court for both that reason, and because the FBI doesn’t want to give away its sources of info.

                      So what the FBI do is this: using the base info supplied by the NSA, they work backwards to create the leads they need to develop a plausible routine criminal case with standard evidence that can then be presented in a criminal court.

                      Looks all above board by the time it gets into the justice system.

  2. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 2

    Thank you for focussing on this Karol,

    It is an extremely serious issue if shonKey is using his position as PM and head of the secret service agency for his own party’s political agenda.

    Prior to right wing advocates dismissing this issue, they should consider for a moment what they would think if Cunliffe took such a heinous approach to his position when he gets into power.

    • Chooky 2.1

      blue leopard +1 …and good post karol …i believe Slater was NOT the leaker…for the same reasons as ianmac (above)

      “Mr Key did not actually say that Mr Slater was his source so he couldn’t be accused of lying. Mr Slater did not actually confirm that he was the source. He just said, “If Mr Key says I was then he must be right.”

      ….also it seems like it was continuous and detailed surveillance on a number of people visiting Dotcom ( police state?)

  3. Papa Tuanuku 3

    if this happened in other jurisdictions, all hell would break lose. barack association with so called far right preacher made him distance himself from him and stop gointg to his services. in oz, gillard was trounced for being an ex coleague oif a union guy that was accused of fraud.

    this is game changing stuff and we need posters linking key and benneet to a guy that says evil things publicly. run properly, the public perception would turn against key, bennet and others and increase skepticism about information we’re presented with by media

  4. Disraeli Gladstone 4

    I just don’t see there being enough of a reward for Key to take the risk of using the GSCB for political reasons.

    Winston and Norman meeting with Dotcom is damaging them a bit, yes, but ultimately it won’t decide the election. Key hasn’t landed some killer blow. Meanwhile being caught using the intelligence agencies for his own uses, he would be gone in a day.

    Too much risk. Too little reward.

    That’s why I don’t buy it.

    Meanwhile, numerous members of Dotcom’s household staffs have recently resigned from his employment.

    Occam’s razor.

    • ianmac 4.1

      I don’t really think that Mr Key would use the official agencies, or certainly not directly. Not worth the risk. But certainly someone is keeping a close watch. Perhaps it is normal to keep an important person who is on bail, under surveillance but then leak the news.
      Someday there will be an answer.

    • Tracey 4.2

      How does Occum’s razor explain Key, Collins and Bennett wanting exposure to someone who recently slagged off a dead man from the West Coast, who openly flouted suppression laws and so forth? No political danger there Disraeli, and if not why not?

      • Disraeli Gladstone 4.2.1

        Really?

        The information comes from an ex-member of Dotcom’s security. He tells someone. Story breaks. That’s the Occam’s Razor part of the issue.

        What happens afterward is due to people thinking that George Smiley needs to be involved.

        • McFlock 4.2.1.1

          Not really.
          Because the overlap between the meetings period and when various members of the security detail left is not complete.

          There is also not much benefit to any of the security detail to leak the information.

          So that suggests somebody else is watching KDC (because he’s the common link in all the meetings).

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4.2.1.1.1

            +1 McFlock

            Disraeli is providing a very complex scenario for the Occam’s razor theory and doing this simply to get Key off the hot seat.

            Why apologise for Key by making up unlikely stories?

            I just don’t see there being enough of a reward for a security guard to risk not getting another job by breaking the required confidentiality surrounding their job – and with such an out-spoken according-to-Disraeli-‘ex-employer’.

            • Tracey 4.2.1.1.1.1

              unless someone paid him/her, making it worthwhile to them?

              my best guess is Key saw the surveillance information as part ofhis job and has used it for political gain. he as VERY certain of his facts, why would anyone think a gosspi columnist was a reliable enough to base such a gambit on?

              Police monitoring for purposes of flight risk makes sense to me.

              • McFlock

                Assuming that a single member of the detail was knowledgeable of all those meetings (a limited number of folk, probably), there’s still the fact that it’s a highly competitive if lucrative industry. At that level we’re talking about highly trained and qualified staff on limited term contracts – and because of the level of trust required and the size of the industry, staff jobs are often based on word of mouth references.

                There’s always the chance that someone who was looking to get out of the industry was pissed at kdc and wanted a few extra $$ (Occam’s Razor is likelihood, not certainty). But we’re not talking Caribbean money. Especially as extracting the meeting schedule could well be Jonathon Dixon territory.

                • Tracey

                  If the resigned/dismissed employees are known, might be interesting to see where they end up in their next contract?

                  • McFlock

                    nah, that’s getting into stalking private individuals just to see if our PM is a liar.

                    Seems to be a bit invasive for a result we already know (if not about this exact instance).

                • Tracey

                  agree. in fact occums razor is simplest explanation until further information alters it, or somethingi

              • Anne

                Police monitoring for purposes of flight risk makes sense to me.

                Agree. The finger is starting to point the way of the police although I have no doubt other persons outside the police force were involved too.

                Its not the first time confidential information held by the police has ended up in the hands of National prime-ministers. Think Colin Moyle. Years after Muldoon made his accusations about Moyle we learned the info. was leaked by a police officer – or officers. The disgrace was the accusations were wrong and had been based only on circumstantial evidence. Was anyone brought to justice? Of course not.

                • karol

                  Trotter posted on that topic tonight, giving an overview of the case….. and pointing to this election year for comparison.

                • RedLogix

                  Agreed Anne. I think anyone whose been about the block once or twice will understand that you are 100% correct.

                  Most cops of course do a fine job, but there’s more than one or two who do not – and given that squeezing sources and trading information is the lifeblood of their entire career its not surprising their ethical boundaries are pretty porous.

                  • Anne

                    The info. probably passed through Judith Collins hands first Redlogix – maybe Anne Tolley but my pick is Collins.

                    • Anne

                      Ooops a daisy!

                      Guess who is an ardent fan of, and conduit for one, Judith Collins. You guessed it – Cameron Slater!

        • Tracey 4.2.1.2

          You haven’t answered my question.

          • Disraeli Gladstone 4.2.1.2.1

            If the theory I’m proposing is true then Key didn’t plan on revealing his association with Slater. The chain of event is:

            Politicians meeting with Dotcom
            Witnessed by an employee of Dotcom
            employee subsequently leaves
            tells someone what he saw (innocently or more likely was probably paid for the scoop)
            the story goes public.

            That’s a relatively simple alternative to Key using the GCSB. I will say Key hearing something from the police surveillance and deciding to use is also quite likely.

            People start accusing Key of using the GCSB (this is unexpected)
            Key now has to reveal his relationship with Slater.

            He didn’t mean to do that last part purely because he didn’t expect it. That’s why the Occam’s Razor part is the story’s disclosure.

            You can’t predict/model’s people behaviour into it.

            • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4.2.1.2.1.1

              “Politicians meeting with Dotcom
              Witnessed by an employee of Dotcom
              employee subsequently leaves
              tells someone what he saw (innocently or more likely was probably paid for the scoop)
              the story goes public.”

              Versus

              Key reads or is updated on the ongoing surveillance of Mr Dot Com
              Tells Slater
              Story goes public

        • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.3

          Occam’s razor?

          Seems to me that you’ve simply cut yourself for all to see.

          • Chooky 4.2.1.3.1

            lol CV +100 ….sounds like a pedantic philosopher spinning on the point of pin to try and subterfuge and get John Key off the hook imo

            ….a spinning centrifugal force designed to take attention away from the real point

        • Tracey 4.2.1.4

          Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, KG, PC, FRS, (21 December 1804 – 19 April 1881) was a British Conservative politician, writer, aristocrat and dandy who twice served as Prime Minister. He played a central role in the creation of the modern Conservative Party, defining its policies and its broad outreach. Disraeli is remembered for his influential voice in world affairs, his political battles with the Liberal spokesman William Ewart Gladstone, and his one-nation conservatism or “Tory democracy”.

          William Ewart Gladstone, FRS, FSS (29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898), was a British Liberal politician. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times (1868–74, 1880–85, February–July 1886 and 1892–94), more than any other person. Gladstone was also Britain’s oldest Prime Minister, 84 when he resigned for the last time. He had also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer four times.

          Gladstone first entered Parliament in 1832. Beginning as a High Tory, Gladstone served in the Cabinet of Sir Robert Peel. After the split of the Conservatives Gladstone was a Peelite – in 1859 the Peelites merged with the Whigs and the Radicals to form the Liberal Party. As Chancellor Gladstone became committed to low public spending and to electoral reform, earning him the sobriquet “The People’s William”.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4.3

      Occam’s razor according to Wikipedia:

      The razor states that one should proceed to simpler theories until simplicity can be traded for greater explanatory power. The simplest available theory need not be most accurate. Philosophers also point out that the exact meaning of simplest may be nuanced.

      So, here goes:

      Scenario One:
      1.There is an ongoing surveillance on Dot Com because he is under investigation due to an on-going court-case which involves international relations and powerful interests that need more evidence against him to prove their case – this type of surveillance is no longer illegal because National changed the law recently.

      1. Key, as head of the surveillance of this country gets regular updates. and noting the political activity being conducted by KDC, mentions it in parliament because he believes it serves his party’s political agenda.

      Scenario Two

      Kim Dot Com has an employee that he has pissed off

      That employee either

      a. is stalking Kim Dot Com and noting down all his activities

      b. Or has only recently been dismissed therefore observed the recent comings and goings.

      3.
      a. That employee is politically active enough to consider that Winston Peters or Russell Norman visiting Kim Dot Com is going to lessen Kim Dot Com’s chances on getting elected on with the Internet Party – therefore gets there revenge – oh hang on a minute! This is not damaging to KDC’s Internet Party at all…..o.k we’ll scrap that one….the vengeance-fuelled-ex-employee believes that passing on the information re Winston Peters, a leader of one political party is meeting up with KDC is going to allow National to win – who, being in the Americans’ hands will pass Kim Dot Com to them and Kim Dot Com will be punished….oh hang on! Winston Peters could well be the difference between National getting in again or not….wait, I’ll think of some way that this politically muddled yet active vengeful ex employee is responsible for this leak

      b. No wait! Scrap 3.a. I don’t have to find that rage-filled-ex-employee-who-wants-to-get-revenge-on-KDC after-all….John Key got the information from ‘reading the Herald’…or was it ‘Reading Whale Oil’ …no wait…it was from a “member of the public”….no wait, that’s back to the rage-filled-ex-employee-who-wants-to-get-revenge….that’s right, I remember now, it was from “chatting with Cameron Slater”…no wait…or was it from that other journalist….oh heck I’m confused now….

      Which one is supposed to be the simplest scenario?

      • karol 4.3.1

        Key, as head of the surveillance of this country gets regular updates. and noting the political activity being conducted by KDC, mentions it in parliament because he believes it serves his party’s political agenda.

        “Plausible deniability” strategy would have had Key, in advance, warning against directly telling him anytthing he could use poltically.

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4.3.1.1

          Has he said that warning was given?

          • karol 4.3.1.1.1

            Of course not, bl. And if such a warning was given, it’d have been implied & not stated directly.

            Plausible deniability is a term coined by the CIA in the early 1960s to describe the withholding of information from senior officials in order to protect them from repercussions in the event that illegal or unpopular activities by the CIA became public knowledge.
            […]
            In politics and espionage, deniability refers to the ability of a “powerful player” or intelligence agency to “pass the buck” and avoid “blowback” by secretly arranging for an action to be taken on their behalf by a third party ostensibly unconnected with the major player.

            • Tracey 4.3.1.1.1.1

              “Governments and Ministers must enjoy the confidence of the Parliament and, ultimately, the public. Faced with today’s revelations, it is no longer acceptable for Mr Peters to offer bluster and insults where simple, courteous, honest answers are required.

              “It is no longer acceptable or credible for Helen Clark to assert a facade of confidence in her Foreign Affairs Minister and to fail to ask the plain questions of him that she has a duty to the public to ask.

              “Faced with today’s revelations, Helen Clark must stand Mr Peters down as a Minister. That is what I would do if I were Prime Minister.

              john key before his incarnation as pm

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4.3.2

        The numbering is all wrong in this above comment because it was changing automatically despite my correcting it and re-correcting it.

        [lprent: When creating a list in a word processor and wanting to have extra space between items, it pays to use “shift-enter” rather than just “enter”. It distinguishes line feed from a paragraph end. ]

      • aerobubble 4.3.3

        Dotcom was informed that should he start his own party Key feasible could trip the extradiction up and keep Dotcom in NZ. I mean how is it we can impute the character of
        Winston and Norman but not Key also. Since Key was looking for partner parties, Key or more likely his chief staff would realize undermining the opposition with smear would also work.

        And here’s the reason why. Had Dotcom started a party and ran, and Norman and Winston still won a place in government, then they are liable to dislike Dotcom losing them votes. So the
        argument raised by the reporter that deals were being done is not only naive but also implausible,
        since its all about Dotcom not running. Its simply a unconscionable contract, that Dotcom, or a reporter would ever imagine Dotcom could hold Norman or Winston to such a deal.

        Winston and Norman would not guarantee Dotcom anything, there is no reason for them to do so, since its more likely just Dotcom being a dick at best, or at worst a put up job to get in good books with Key.

      • Disraeli Gladstone 4.3.4

        One of Kim Dotcom’s staff sees politicians enter (4 member of his security staff, who would of course know who was entering as a part of their job, have recently resigned).

        This person tells Glucina/Slater/someone (maybe for a little cash payment).

        End of chain.

        Oh hey. Look at that.

        We can all make potential situations needlessly complicated.

        • karol 4.3.4.1

          And yet, a highly respected security analyst does not see that as the most likely explanation, DG

          • Disraeli Gladstone 4.3.4.1.1

            Maybe it didn’t happen. I don’t know. None of us know. We’re speculating.

            I don’t see why the ex-employee theory isn’t very likely, though. It’s certainly not as complex as Blue Leopard is trying to make it into.

            But, regardless, I’m not saying that I know what happened. I’m just addressing to me, the biggest flaw in the Key using the GCSB argument, which is that there is a simple alternative and it doesn’t seem to really help Key to be doing so.

            • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4.3.4.1.1.1

              The ‘ex-employee’ theory isn’t as simple as you and John Key are trying to make it

              Nor is the fact that John Key’s first responses were:

              a. I read it in The Herald
              b. I read it on Whale Oil
              c. I got told from ‘er…a member of the public’
              d. I chat with Cameron Slater on a regular basis
              e. I heard it from Ms Glaucoma

              Hell, which one is it?

              Or is it a case of ‘take-whatever-you-find-more-plausible-because-I-really-need-you-to-believe-me-because-my-job-is-at-stake-here-if-you-knew-where-I-really-got-the-information-from’?

              Doesn’t the range of answers bother you at all, Disraeli?

              Or does not wishing to consider that Key might be lying come between you and asking yourself that question?

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4.3.4.2

          You don’t appear to see the complexity in your scenario, Disraeli. You require someone to have ‘just left’ because otherwise they would have to be stalking the Dot Com household (kind of like the secret services are paid to do)

          Besides, I just don’t see there being enough of a reward for a security guard to risk not getting another job by breaking the required confidentiality surrounding their job – and with such an out-spoken according-to-you-‘ex-employer’.

          • Disraeli Gladstone 4.3.4.2.1

            There are apparently four members of Dotcom’s staff who have “just left”. That’s why I don’t think it’s complex.

            • McFlock 4.3.4.2.1.1

              At least one of them left before at least one of the meetings.
              So now you’re down to those four getting together and comparing notes, or a fifth party interviewing each of them independently, cross-referencing responses for consistency, and getting each of them to open up.

              Limited number of folk with the time, resources and inclination to do that. Much easier to place a $300 camera outside the gate and run the plates of visiting cars. Maybe even see the occupants, if the lighting is right

      • Ron 4.3.5

        or Scenario Three:
        John Key is really a alien shape shifting lizard that can crawl under doors and listen in to conversations etc. Note Key did n ot actually deny that he was a shape shifting lizard nor did he prove otherwise.
        I have my doubts

        • Tracey 4.3.5.1

          he’s most definitely a chameleon

          “Governments and Ministers must enjoy the confidence of the Parliament and, ultimately, the public. Faced with today’s revelations, it is no longer acceptable for Mr Peters to offer bluster and insults where simple, courteous, honest answers are required.

          “It is no longer acceptable or credible for Helen Clark to assert a facade of confidence in her Foreign Affairs Minister and to fail to ask the plain questions of him that she has a duty to the public to ask.

          “Faced with today’s revelations, Helen Clark must stand Mr Peters down as a Minister. That is what I would do if I were Prime Minister.

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4.3.5.2

          lolz Ron,

          I have a newspaper article (for what it is worth) that does indeed convey that Mr Key issued a denial (for what it is worth) about being a reptilian overlord after stating that he consulted a doctor and a vet prior to rejecting the claim (for what it is worth and note he didn’t know the answer himself and had to get a 2nd and 3rd opinion on the matter – we also have to take Mr Key’s word – for what it is worth – that he did consult these specialists and that they did conclude that he wasn’t…..).

          I am of the understanding however none of the experts consulted, nor the denial issued addressed the part about ‘ushering humanity towards enslavement’ – this really is a worry….
          [/humour]

          • You_Fool 4.3.5.2.1

            The interesting thing there, assuming your comments about the visit to the doctor and the vet coincide with timelines, he went to the doctor first and then needed a vet to prove he wasn’t a reptile. This would suggest either the doctor was unsure, or Key wasn’t happy with the “you are a human” diagnosis and went for a 2nd opinion.

  5. Tracey 5

    karol, stop posting facts.

  6. fambo 6

    I was wondering why Key would out himself as having an association with Slater when I first heard a newsbyte on Friday night. I thought he must have been forced to admit it for one reason or another. Now that I have found out he is claiming that is how he knew about the three visits it becomes obvious he is just trying to hide the true source of his information.

  7. Tracey 7

    Has anyone seen this John Key?

    Last seen in 2008, pre election

    “Mr Key said the Prime Minister’s comments left her with “explaining to do”.

    He said: “This is a stunning revelation. Months have gone by since Helen Clark was informed by Mr Glenn about the $100,000 donation.

    “The public was firstly told that Mr Peters had not received any money from Mr Glenn, then the public was told that Mr Peters had in fact received a donation but had not known about it, and then finally yesterday they were told that Mr Peters had personally solicited the donation.

    “Today, we learnt that Helen Clark herself had the relevant information all that time.

    “The public are entitled to know why she withheld this crucial information for so long.””

  8. Tracey 8

    ” “Governments and Ministers must enjoy the confidence of the Parliament and, ultimately, the public. Faced with today’s revelations, it is no longer acceptable for Mr Peters to offer bluster and insults where simple, courteous, honest answers are required.

    “It is no longer acceptable or credible for Helen Clark to assert a facade of confidence in her Foreign Affairs Minister and to fail to ask the plain questions of him that she has a duty to the public to ask.

    “Faced with today’s revelations, Helen Clark must stand Mr Peters down as a Minister. That is what I would do if I were Prime Minister.

    all john key, version 2008

  9. Yupp!! 9

    The masters of distraction. Really someone just deviated off the set plan (discredit opposition and ignore own hypocrisy, our media outlets will assist) and the rest is just creative arse-covering from the PM down.

  10. Tautoko Viper 10

    It seems the NSA are using the tracking of SIM cards for targeting drone attacks. It would be interesting to take, say Winston Peter’s phone sim card (without Winston accompanying it) to Dotcom’s mansion and see what gets reported.

  11. Tracey 11

    THE STORY IS;

    Two politicians visited a wanna-bee politician; and

    john key speaks with, and reads Cameron Slater.

  12. geoff 12

    I think he did get the info from Slater. That video of Key is very revealing, he’s caught off guard, I don’t think that’s acting. But maybe Slater got that info from a police officer?

  13. Crunchtime 13

    Too much info. The main point here is how much John Key wants to distance himself from the surveillance/spy/police state. He is clearly nervous of ending up on the wrong end of a backlash, which could very well end up mobilising a lot of people to vote him out.

    Teflon John is working very hard to keep his feet from getting sticky.

  14. View Balanced 14

    Spin spin spin spin spin
    It’s largely irrelevant how we all know about who was visiting Dotcom. What is more of interest is that they were visiting him, and how poorly that reflects on their integrity around these issues.
    All the rest of it is just straight out deflection.

  15. Pablo 15

    I am late to the discussion and have not read all the way through the thread, but on the subject of plausible deniability and Key’s statements, consider this: all it would take for Key to put distance between himself and official surveillance of Dotcom (which as I said in my KP post is perfectly legal), is for the police or other monitoring agency (but most likely the cops) to tell a “member of the public” (say, a constituent in Key’s electorate or a Key staffer in his electorate office, perhaps even Slater) about the supplicant politician visits, who then could relay that info to one of Key’s advisors.

    It would astound me if there is no ongoing monitoring of Dotcom but NZ security agencies given the stakes involved. I would be surprised if the cops would share info with Slater given their history. As for former disgruntled employees being the source–perhaps but not likely given the payouts involved and non-disclosure agreements inevitably tied to them.

    In any event, the three degrees of separation principle is at the core of a plausible deniability strategy and Key undoubtably knows that.

    One correction for Karol: I have not just been a security researcher and analyst. Unlike many security pundits in NZ, I actually have an operational background in such (particularly intelligence and unconventional warfare) matters as well as my former academic interests in the same. I would prefer not to be lumped in with the armchair quarterbacks.

    • bad12 15.1

      Agree with your analysis, i too would be a little more than surprised if there was not a 24 physical surveillance of DotCom and ‘the mansion’…

    • karol 15.2

      Thanks for this explanation of how the degrees of separation could happen, Pablo.

      I will correct the post re your last point. I was thinking to include a bit about your operational background, but wasn’t sure how to categorise it. I was thinking that research included your university/academic experience, and that analyst would be part of your operational experience.

      I definitely don’t put you in the category of “armchair quarterbacks”.

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  • ROBERT MacCULLOCH: Fletcher Building – it is time to break up NZ’s most useless company.
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  • Mortgage rates seen high for even longer
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  • Member’s Day
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  • Three Waters go down the legislative gurgler – but what should we make of Local Water Done Well?
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  • Gordon Campbell on five of Luxon’s Gaza absurdities
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  • PM shocked and saddened at death of Efeso Collins
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  • Greater support for social workers
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  • State of the Nation
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  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
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  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
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    6 days ago
  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
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  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
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  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
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  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
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  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
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  • Minister congratulates NZQA Top Scholars
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  • New diplomatic appointments
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  • Speech to the Committee for Auckland
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  • Getting Transport Back on Track in Auckland
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  • Government to axe Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
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  • Greater focus on getting people into work
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  • Ministers reaffirm Pacific connections this week
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  • Rt Hon Christopher Luxon – Waitangi speech
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  • High Court Judge appointed
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