Cabinet Secretary seconded to GCSB

October 1st, 2012 at 3:44 pm by David Farrar

The and SSC have announced:

Andrew Kibblewhite, Chief Executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Ian Fletcher, Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau (), announced today that , the Secretary of the Cabinet,  is to be seconded immediately to the for an initial period of up to three months in the new role of Associate Director of the Bureau.

Ms Kitteridge will be responsible to the Director of the GCSB for the implementation of an immediate capability, governance and performance review.   This work will provide assurance to the GCSB Director that the Bureau’s activities are undertaken within its powers, and that adequate assurance and safeguards are in place.

As Associate Director, Ms Kitteridge will also act as Deputy Chief Executive.

Ms Kitteridge was appointed as Secretary of the Cabinet and Clerk of the Executive Council in April 2008. She is a senior public servant who is responsible for the security and integrity of the Cabinet decision-making system and the New Zealand Royal Honours systems.  She provides advice on ethics and conduct in relation to Ministers of the Crown, and is a key constitutional advisor to the Governor-General and the Prime Minister of the day.

Ms Kitteridge is a lawyer by training and a focus in private practice was on legal compliance for corporate entities. Since joining the public service she has specialised in constitutional matters at both the and in the Legal Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. While in she has advised four Prime Ministers and four Governors-General.

This is a very smart and welcome move.

Cabinet Secretaries such as Rebecca, and before her Marie Shroff, are officials of the utmost integrity and neutrality. They play a key role in accountable democratic government.

Kitteridge is seconded to GCSB to specifically review their systems, improve their compliance framework and to specifically establish new approval processes for requests from law enforcement agencies.

The Cabinet Office is the king of rigorous process. I think they even have a process for if you ask them the time of day :-). As I said, I think this is a very smart move.

 

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41 Responses to “Cabinet Secretary seconded to GCSB”

  1. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    A smart move would be an affidavit from Inspector General Neazor and one from Director Fletcher saying when they both were first aware of this illegal activity. As i read the report Neazor does not say when he or Fletcher found out about the illegal activity and he deliberately does not write in his report these two dates. Putting in someone from the secretary of the Cabinet who is not looking into this does nothing to find out whether there was a cover-up done there. Its no way a smart move as it just looks like an attempted diversion

    [DPF: The activity was known about for over a year. There was a faulty legal analysis of Dot Com's residency status - the GCSB thought an investor residency permit was not permament residence - but they were wrong]

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  2. Mark (1,480 comments) says:

    The is little accountability evident in this whole process. To give John Key credit he has at least fronted with an apology to Dotcom but I cant recall a more damning tirade from a Prime Minister at a government department. I would seem appropriate for someone to fall on their sword over this surely.

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  3. hmmokrightitis (1,586 comments) says:

    That is the noise of balls being broken in the old boys club. Nice :)

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  4. annie (539 comments) says:

    Good, good. Now what about the Police?

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  5. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    John Key had no choice apart from to give a “damning tirade”, you arent saying you bought that did you?.It didnt result in any one being stood down did it, it was just a thespian performance to look like he didnt know anything about it. His thespian performance would of given even more satiety to his Hollywood mentors

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  6. JeffW (326 comments) says:

    “Since joining the public service she has specialised in constitutional matters”.

    I presume she will focus on Treaty issues and give away a good chunk of the security services to Maori.

    [DPF: Heh]

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  7. thomasbeagle (77 comments) says:

    This seems like an over reaction to a ‘mistake’ that has already been investigated and apologised for.

    Just how many other ‘mistakes’ are waiting to emerge into the light?

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  8. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    DPF but how long has it being known to be illegal for? Are you saying Fletcher, Neazor and the Pm all found out about it being illegal on sept 17th?
    And why hasnt Neazor included these dates in his report, they are crucial to deciding if there was a cover-up

    [DPF: The PM yes. I think Neazor yes also. Fletcher I would say no. At some stage they were convinced that their legal interpretation was wrong, and when they were convinced they notified their Minister.

    The conspiracy theory is always fun. But trust me Government is not competent enough to get away with a true conspiracy :-)]

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  9. davidp (3,580 comments) says:

    >This seems like an over reaction to a ‘mistake’ that has already been investigated and apologised for.

    If Kitteridge is going to be posted to every government agency that makes a mistake, she is going to be a very busy woman.

    What I would like Kitteridge to investigate is why KDC was ever allowed to settle in NZ in the first place. He has a string of convictions and at the time he ran a business that was somewhere between illegal and questionable. He is a fantacist. What the country has gained has been rent payments on an ugly mansion, and some free fireworks. But on the other hand we’re paying out millions in bucks for police and other investigations. You can tell the man loves to be in the media, he (and his lawyers and PR advisors) will be whipping up a drama every week in perpetuity, and you know we’ll end up paying for it.

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  10. rangitoto (239 comments) says:

    I have no problem with the GCSB spying on residents. It should only be citizens who are exempt. Ie change the law to allow spying on the likes of dotcom.

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  11. Piob (16 comments) says:

    You missed the very fine work of Diane Morcom who was Secretary between Marie Shroff and Rebecca Kitteridge.

    [DPF: Oh yes. Diane was excellent and lovely. Far less scary than Marie :-)]

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  12. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    [DPF: The PM yes. I think Neazor yes also. Fletcher I would say no.]

    Fletcher has reportedly met with Key 15 times this year. At no point did Fletcher inform Key about the illegal spying. We have been led to believe that nobody knew of the spying until very recently.

    [DPF: The GCSB knew about the spying since they did it of course. Only very recently did they accept that KDC was a permanent resident for the purposes of their Act.]

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  13. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > He is a fantacist (sic)

    So are a fair few of the KB commenters. Heaven forbid they should be spied on. :)

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  14. RJL (145 comments) says:

    This doesn’t look remotely like a “smart move”. It is just busy work designed to give the impression that “something is being done”.

    @DPF: “The conspiracy theory is always fun. But trust me Government is not competent enough…”

    Well, yes. The only conspiracy in play is the on-going one to avoid holding senior members of the government to account for their incompetence.

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  15. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    DPF i couldnt possibly agree with you on that until the people involved do interviews so they can be questioned on these dates, otherwise i think they are North Korean.
    This article 8th paragraph states that John Key said that the GCSB knew that it had broken the law about a week before they told him.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/editorials/7743923/Editorial-Spying-debacle-raises-more-questions

    So why had Neazor not initiated an inquiry until the PM told him too at least a week later? Is it because this is when the GCSB found out it would be coming out at Dotcoms next court appearance? At the very least this shows that Neazor is not independent as he either chose not to do an inquiry or was not told about the illegal activity until at least a week after the GCSB knew. Under the law that governs the IG if he knew and didnt inquire that is neglect of duty.
    So either he didnt inquire or the GCSB deliberately chose not to tell him, so DPF which one is it that you think does not constitute a cover-up?

    [DPF: Neazor is a Judge, not a GCSB staff member. He does not sit in the office listening in to their meetings. I presume he and PM were told on same day, which is the day Key was back in country]

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  16. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    DFP: Of course he is not there listening into their meetings but he is required as the IG to be told when there is an illegal activity, by phone email, spy-drone or whatever.

    So if you presume that he was not told until the PM came back into the country then you must also be presuming that the director deliberately did not tell the IG for a week, which thus means that there is a cover up.

    And this is being conservative and assuming (becasue Neazor has ommitted to put the dates in his report) that its just a coincidence that the IG only became aware of these illegal activites the week before not because it was due to be revealed in The High Court at Dot Coms next appearance

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  17. RJL (145 comments) says:

    Interesting to note that the I-G has supposedly been reviewing since *2008* the GCSB’s processes to ensure that they exclude NZ citizens and permanent residents from surveillance. So, perhaps not actually a new problem of “confusion”…

    See page 8 of this report (page 11 of the pdf)
    http://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/inspector_general_intelligence_and_security_annual_report_2008.pdf

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  18. berend (1,705 comments) says:

    Insert reference to “Yes Minister” episode here.

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  19. berend (1,705 comments) says:

    DPF: The activity was known about for over a year. There was a faulty legal analysis of Dot Com’s residency status – the GCSB thought an investor residency permit was not permament residence – but they were wrong

    Let me see. The agency whose core task is to make sure it does not spy on permanent residents or citizens gets exactly that wrong.

    And they needed a legal analysis to figure out if they could spy on somebody.

    And how many millions do we spend on this agency?

    Another agency that nobody will miss once dismantled, and another agency National will keep around forever.

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  20. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    So DPF whats your answer?
    Any way you can say an independent inquiry is not needed now?
    Because Il be dammed if in my country there are still people working in the GCSB who think it was alright to spy on a person illegally and not have it properly reported

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  21. Reid (16,290 comments) says:

    [DPF: The activity was known about for over a year. There was a faulty legal analysis of Dot Com's residency status - the GCSB thought an investor residency permit was not permament residence - but they were wrong]

    If that’s the case and let’s assume that’s precisely what happened, then what that is, is one person who fucked up. Has it ever happened before that we know about? Who knows but I don’t recall any public events in the last say, twenty years. So if it’s one person who fucked up once, that by definition means it is NOT a systemic issue and therefore does NOT require a full scale review of the entire process, since the quite elementary fix is strengthen the review process of surveillance applications. Simple. Let’s hope Rebeccah doesn’t recommend this means the Director General has to sign off every single one in future, but I suspect she may.

    Taking the action Key has makes NO sense in the real, rational world, UNLESS this is a seen to be done exercise, as martin alludes to above:

    John Key had no choice apart from to give a “damning tirade”, you arent saying you bought that did you?.It didnt result in any one being stood down did it, it was just a thespian performance to look like he didnt know anything about it. His thespian performance would of given even more satiety to his Hollywood mentors

    Partial banana Martin. It’s definitely a thespian performance but it’s not aimed at Hollyweird it’s aimed at the US Congress and more specifically, those who are involved in the TPP negotiations. It’s also aimed at deflecting any blame from all those NZ ministers including Key who, when they heard the FBI was interested in Dotcom, almost certainly directed the heads of ALL the relevant depts: Police, SIS, GCSB and Crown Law to simply bend over backwards to put their very very best feet forward so the US doesn’t think we’re a complete bunch of wallies. And of course, when your own CEO SPECIFICALLY DIRECTS that s/he expects everyone involved to leap and salute and give them four bags full, then no-one in the circus wants to be the nay-sayer. No-one at the lower levels where all these things were being worked out, wanted to put their hand up in the meeting and say, hang on, are we SURE that’s right? That’s what happened and no doubt DPF will allege it’s a “conspiracy theory” because he would say that, wouldn’t he. But we who work in the real world, all know that’s precisely how organisations operate and we all know that’s the most likely explanation of what we’ve seen unfold. So it’s certainly not a “conspiracy” it was merely a SNAFU but it is of course, a theory.

    However one of the basic tools of process improvement is root cause analysis, and I guarantee that when Rebaccah writes it up, one of the conclusions on the Ishikawa (fishbone) diagram under the “People” branch, will be “All the Ministers went mental and as usual, everyone saluted and followed suit with their own mentalism which consequently seeped into every pore of Operation Dotcom.” How the fuck you’re going to ever fix that without completely reforming Westminster Democracy I don’t know, but one small hint is to swim upstream and track the mentalism back to where it all began. If I was running the review I’d recommend that Heads of Dept are all issued with tasers so when Ministers do this again, which they will, the CEO is REQUIRED, not optional because it would be written into their employment contract, to taser the Minister and then wait and see what s/he says once they stop twitching and writhing in agony on the floor. Repeat as required until the mentalism stops.

    I guarantee if you did that, this would never happen again, not in GCSB nor in any govt dept where mentalism raises its ugly head.

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  22. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > Neazor is a Judge, not a GCSB staff member.

    He is a former Judge, now retired. But he reviews the work of the GCSB, and looks at the issuing of interception warrants, etc. To suggest he has no working relationship with GCSB is nonsense. Having said that, given his recent ramblings about his annual report being comparable to a Browning poem, he should be put out to pasture before his possible dementia worsens.

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  23. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > the director deliberately did not tell the IG for a week

    That may nor may not be true. But given Neazor’s state of mind, would he remember when he was told?

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  24. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Ross whether or not its true, either way its a conspiracy as either Director didnt tell him for at least a week on purpose or the IG chose not to inquire himself and get to the bottom of it.
    If Neazor remembers, cant remember or does a “I cant recall” at least we deserve to know which it is

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  25. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Reid she is not inquiring into what went on at all, her remit is ONLY at the current processes etc

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  26. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Martin,

    The Director should’ve known for quite some time that the spying on Dotcom was illegal. It’s been known – and well publicised – for many months that Dotcom was a permanent resident. Before the raid, Dotcom bought a $4 million property in Auckland. His residency was mentioned at the time of that purchase.

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  27. peterwn (3,243 comments) says:

    davidp – Immigration probably do not wish to act on Kim’s status at present if he is potentially facing charges in the USA (or here if that were the case). He would need to respond to Immigration’s questioning and this would undermine his right to ‘take’ the Fifth Amendment (which is also part of NZ law). Better to wait for the criminal matters to be settled first.

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  28. Reid (16,290 comments) says:

    martin, yes I know. Politicians setting the terms of reference is always a flag to their real intentions. In the best Yes Minister style, you NEVER hold an inquiry unless you already know the outcome. They already know the problem and they’re simply either trying to put lipstick on the pig or, what I suspect, blame some poor low-level flunky who gets his or her career sidelined through no fault of their own other than an honest mistake because they were trying to do what their boss required. I wouldn’t be too surprised to also see for cosmetic purposes a high-level official, perhaps head of Legal Services take the resignation plunge, even perhaps the D-G. But one should recognise the real “official” at fault is in fact the Minister in charge of the GCSB and guess who that is?

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  29. chiz (1,135 comments) says:

    martinh:So if you presume that he was not told until the PM came back into the country then you must also be presuming that the director deliberately did not tell the IG for a week, which thus means that there is a cover up.

    Or, possibly, realising that this wasn’t an urgent matter that required immediate attention then and there, they decided to tell people and made appointments to do so.

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  30. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    ross,yes thats a big question i really want to know but MR DPF is happy having his head in the sand as according to him no Govt is competent enough in his opinion to achieve such a thing. So if we all believe that no govt would ever try it on then according to DPF they never will.
    So we in a democracy (not a Stalingrad), according to DPFs belief in the 5th estate role, never need to get our questions answered.

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  31. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Chiz, exactly. The IG has made no mention in his report of when he was made aware and when he initiated anything, reading the report, nothing in there states that he was made known of it before the PM contacted him.
    It is the most important legal constraint on the GSCB that it cant spy on NZ citizens, so Chiz you think that the possibilty that hundreds or however many other people in Nz were being spied on illegally was not an urgent matter? Not just for the ethical but also for the legal ramifications?

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  32. david (2,556 comments) says:

    You are all freakin mental if you think that the answer to one simple request “please let us know when these 3 people are all at Coatsville” was the all-consuming issue for the GCSB for the best part of a year. It will have been one of thousands if requests and management of bits of information from the highly critical to the ordinary and almost meaningless.

    FFS get a grip people and put this circus into context. GCSB assisted in locating some hot bodies and nothing I have seen indicates that it was anything more. There are altogether way too many people who should know better getting their rocks off on this.

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  33. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > GCSB assisted in locating some hot bodies

    If you think Dotcom has a hot body, may I suggest you get your eyes tested:)

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  34. Nostalgia-NZ (5,119 comments) says:

    david

    ‘It will have been one of thousands if requests and management of bits of information from the highly critical to the ordinary and almost meaningless.’

    Sure.

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  35. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    David, well heres something, that I was just reading, to add to your incomplete list
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1210/S00006/key-dotcom-and-hollywood.htm

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  36. Paul Marsden (996 comments) says:

    Key is a money trader and adept at calling bluffs. It is just too implausible that so many people at the highest level, knew the machinations of the illegalities what was going on with Dotcom and the claims that Key wasn’t in the loop, simply does not fit. I call hogwash on Key’s denials, and his pending trip to Hollywood is just another bluff to fool NZ’r he has nothing to hide. I wouldn’t be at all surprised that the US will drop all charges against Dotcom, in the not too distant future. If Key is telling the truth regarding events, then he is very poorly read, informed and presides over various people in govt departments who consider themselves to be above the law. Either way, Key has to be history.

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  37. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Paul personally I dont think Key has being that bad considering alternatives, ive actually found him quite good at many things; but pulling this kind of sh#t on the people you govern treating them like they dont deserve to know the truth whatever that is, is unfair

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  38. sparky (235 comments) says:

    @Paul Marsden,
    We see no conspiracy with regards to John Key.We see him as a man who is transparent, an maybe too transparent for his own good. The left and the media, are the one’s muddying the National government, and quite frankly are a dam disgrace. We can see straight through the LEFTS dorky carry on. Who in their right mind would believe their tatics. We see the Politics at the moment as pathetic from the left, and to add to that who would want Shearer, Norman, Peters, Harawira running the country. They wouldn’t last five minutes. As for the DotCON saga, we hope he is extradited. With his criminal history, he should never of been allowed into the country. All we want to see is the stupid carry on from the Left to stop, and let the Government, do their job.

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  39. Paulus (2,607 comments) says:

    It is part of the media’s “Ambrose” Utu – throw anything an hope it sticks – so keep on throwing.
    It will be interesting when after the 2014 election the Green/Labour/Winston coalition gets to power, at any cost, the media will still fawn to them.
    SIS and GCSB will be closed first I would expect.

    Great to see Tamahere will challenge Waitakere for Labour in next election.
    Will make again a good MP again.
    He will win against Bennet, who the media continue to hate, who has been outstandingly good Minister nevertheless.
    Sapuloni will be unhappy today at the thought, but who cares – she is a Labour nobody.

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  40. Bevan (3,923 comments) says:

    Paul personally I dont think Key has being that bad considering alternatives, ive actually found him quite good at many things; but pulling this kind of sh#t on the people you govern treating them like they dont deserve to know the truth whatever that is, is unfair

    WTF do you expect? The agency in question is without equal the most secretive organisation this country has and it MUST be that was for them to operate effectively.

    Dont like it? TFB.

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  41. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Bevan “WTF do I Expect”
    Well i expect them to operate within their law, otherwise as Dotcom has shown it can throw up a whole lot of other issues which can end up costing the country a lot of money.
    Also the laws are written so they dont do things NZers dont want them to do, its not up to them to do whatever the hell they want which is what you a wanted permitted.

    So if you are into spy agencies running the country why dont you take your little schoolboy follow the leader cant stand up for myself attitude and go and get a nice big meal of it and TFB in Pyongyang.

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