“So what?” says Key as allegations emerge from within GCSB that Key cracked jokes about the spooks’ (illegal) involvement in the Dotcom raid when he was briefed by them on February 29th. Well, you’ve previously said that the reference to Dotcom must have escaped your attention at the time (‘it was a small image on a laptop screen’). That seems to be a lie. And we know you knew Dotcom was a resident a month earlier. So, you knew Dotcom was a resident and you knew on February 29th at the latest that the GCSB had spied on him, which you should have realised was illegal or at least asked about. And the fact you didn’t either means you’re incompetent or that you knew all about the illegal spying and didn’t care – that’s what.
Key’s reaction to this is to feign indifference, ignorance, and forgetfulness. It’s a pretty hollow effort, really. But let’s pretend it’s true for a moment.
Let’s pretend that Key can’t remember being briefed on Dotcom and can’t remember later joking about it with the spooks. That doesn’t change the fact that he knew at the time and should have asked questions at the time.
It also doesn’t satisfy questions around the competence of the political management of Key and his staff.
Having failed to ask questions at the time and, we’re meant to believe, having forgotten all about it, once the Dotcom issue started to break in August – Key and his staff ought to have acted. That point was when the GCSB came to the PM’s office asking for the PM to sign a Ministerial Certificate suppressing the GCSB’s involvement in the Dotcom raid after the Police officer in charge apparently lied to the Court and said they weren’t involved.
When that landed in the PM’s office several things should have happened.
That should, in the scenario that Key is trying to get us to believe, all have happened on the 16th of August or very shortly thereafter. It is implausible that Key and his office is so amateur at both politics and governance that they didn’t get all their ducks in a row as soon as they learned there was an issue.
And, yet, we’re meant to believe that Key wasn’t told until September 14th after someone (who?) finally worked out that the GCSB shouldn’t have spied on Dotcom and that, then, Key and his office took basically no action for weeks to establish who knew what when with the result that facts that they don’t know or recall keep on dripping out in the media.
I don’t buy it.
It stinks of the same willful, fake blindness, indifference, and forgetfulness that Banks put on when his anonymous donations were revealed or that Key displayed when the Police report into the Banks affair came out.
Nobody believes that Banks didn’t know full well that Dotcom and Skycity (and others) had donated to him when he lied to the media and nobody believes that Key can’t understand that Banks broke the law and lied about it as a minister.
Likewise, nobody can believe that Key and his staff have simply ignored the GCSB spying issue and hoped it would go away. The very likely truth is that Key knew about it from the start. The very start, when Power denied Dotcom’s application to buy the mansion at the same time as Key was jetting off for his hotly desired meeting with Obama and the US officials in charge of stopping internet piracy.
Why do I think that Key’s knowledge and involvement go back so far? Because he is clearly lying and what is the point in lying unless he has something decent to hide.
If it was a matter of failed oversight – ie. if Key was informed of the GCSB’s involvement on February 29th and failed to ask the right questions even though he is required by law to “control” the GCSB, that would be bad but it would be a boil best quickly lanced.
This feigned indifference, ignorance, and forgetfulness, the half-hearted throwing of a couple of junior GCSB staff to the wolves when anyone could see a proper investigation is needed, suggests he has more to hide than just being a minister who didn’t give two shits about his job. It suggests that he was, as Key himself likes to say, ‘donkey deep’ in the GCSB spying from the start.
If he survives this, and I’m beginning to be less and less sure that he will, the lesson for Key will be ‘don’t cross the spooks – they’re experts at using information against people’.