Prime Minister John Key today announced he has requested an inquiry by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the circumstances of unlawful interception of communications of certain individuals by the Government Communications Security Bureau.
Mr Key says the Crown has filed a memorandum in the High Court in the Megauploadcase advising the Court and affected parties that the GCSB had acted unlawfully while assisting the Police to locate certain individuals subject to arrest warrants issued in the case. The Bureau had acquired communications in some instances without statutory authority.
After being informed about the matter by the Director of the GCSB on September 17, the Prime Minister referred the Bureau’s actions to the Inspector-General, Hon Paul Neazor. The Inspector-General is an independent statutory officer with the power to enquire into any matter related to a government intelligence agency’s compliance with the law.
Mr Key says he has also asked the Inspector-General to recommend any measures he considered necessary to prevent the issue from happening again.
Mr Key expressed his disappointment that unlawful acts had taken place.
“I expect our intelligence agencies to operate always within the law. Their operations depend on public trust.
“I look forward to the Inspector-General’s inquiry getting to the heart of what took place and what can be done about it,” says Mr Key. “Because this is also a matter for the High Court in its consideration of the Megaupload litigation, I am unable to comment further.”
There have been so many stuff ups by law enforcement in this case, that once the court action is concluded it could be worth having a wider inquiry into the entire way NZ authorities deal with extradition cases such as this.
It’s good there is no attempt to hide what happened, and that there will be a formal inquiry into what the GCSB did, and who was responsible for authoring actions that they did not have authority for.