The Press on GCSB

October 19th, 2012 at 11:06 am by David Farrar

editorial:

In what is turning out to be the drawn-out saga of the extradition of Kim Dotcom, the role of the Government Communications Security Bureau may be a minor irrelevance, but it appears it is about to claim its first scalp.

A senior official is reported to have been placed on leave while an internal review is conducted at the bureau. Whether the official is in any way responsible for the acknowledged errors made by the , and if so what sanction, if any, there should be, will no doubt be determined by the review and, if they are found to be necessary, any subsequent employment hearings.

In the meantime, however, it is clear that there are indications that all is not well within the organisation.

There are four or five ways in which the GCSB hasn’t performed up to the standard expected. They are:

  • The original flawed legal analysis that they Dotcom was not a permanent resident
  • The lack of a clear process for acting on requests from Police
  • The resistance to change its view on the legality of the Dotcom interception for many months
  • Not taking immediate action to inform the Minister and Inspector-General when they first became aware of uncertainty over the legality
  • Taking two weeks to inform the Minister of the brief mention of Dotcom in a powerpoint presentation to him (It should have taken two hours not two weeks)

To his credit, Prime Minister John Key, the minister in charge of the GCSB, has not attempted to conceal its shortcomings. Unlike the normal practice when intelligence organisations make errors – blanket refusal to comment – Key has shown a level of candour unprecedented either in New Zealand or elsewhere. He has also ordered reviews to get to the bottom of the GCSB’s difficulties and install fresh oversight within the organisation.

If there are systemic problems in the GCSB they will not have happened overnight but, given the importance of its work, they must be fixed quickly.

My understanding is that the roasting has been of the superchargrilled variety.

The editorial is right that under Key, the level of candour has been unprecedented. Not just with the issue, but I recall that with the SAS in Afghanistan the previous Govt would often refuse to even state if they were out of the country at a particular point in time.

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24 Responses to “The Press on GCSB”

  1. peterwn (2,935 comments) says:

    “My understanding is that the roasting has been of the superchargrilled variety.” Presumably without coffee.

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  2. GPT1 (2,042 comments) says:

    The last government changed the time honoured tradition of never discussing the movements of the SAS.

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  3. BeaB (1,948 comments) says:

    Just as well it’s a new head or he’d be gone.

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  4. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    The issue is losing relevance as it becomes clearer and clearer Key will not be able to form the next government.

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  5. Viking2 (10,715 comments) says:

    All Key needs to do is apply the same boot up the arse to the time servers in a few more Dept.’s.
    Winz, Acc, Health and very definitely education, police,Transit and go from there. About 500,000 worth of public servants.
    Funnily enough IRD appear to be really getting their act together. Easy to deal with, systems that work, mostly online.

    The sooner Govt. gets rid of stuff to do the better.

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  6. hmmokrightitis (1,458 comments) says:

    The issue is losing relevance as it becomes clearer and clearer Shearer will not be able to form the next government, let alone a complete sentence.

    There, FTFY.

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  7. Redbaiter (6,478 comments) says:

    John Key (by means of his proxy Bill English) signed off on all of this.

    Bottom line- the arrest and detention of Kim Dotcom and the invasion of his home and the confiscation of his property would not have been signed off on by a politician with balls and brains and a clear understanding of the moral limitations on the power of government.

    This was a spineless back up on traditional justice and English/Key did it to please the FBI and Barack Obama and whining Hollywood liberal scum.

    Key and English deserve all they’ve got coming for what they did in signing off on this arrest, an act worse than even what the most heavy handed statist government might be expected to do.

    Its ironic that they are now getting criticised by the left for acting even more left wing than Labour would, but they did it and they deserve it and I hope the jack booted statist bastards go down for this thoughtless stupid betrayal of something that they should hold so dear.

    This is the most prominent example of the ideological cluelessness of National in a long time, and proof that things will not get better in this country until we get a party capable of real opposition to socialism, and get rid the collective of lame confused and spineless appeasers that currently fill National’s ranks.

    Starting with John Key.

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  8. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Key for the chop.

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  9. Keeping Stock (9,788 comments) says:

    Has David Shearer apologised yet for the totally unsubstantiated allegations he made against senior GCSB staff that they deleted data from hard drives? It is of course something that he is unable to substantiate, because it simply did not happen.

    It’s another example of the Shearer Burden of Proof where you make an allegation against someone of which you have no proof whatsoever, then insist that they deny it.

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  10. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Apologise for what? Key is a known liar.

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  11. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    This is a simple series of mistakes that could happen in any organisation.

    I agree with v2 that dealing with the incompetence, trough feeding and “insider trading” that is endemic in most government departments would be a far, far more useful exercise.

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  12. Redbaiter (6,478 comments) says:

    “This is a simple series of mistakes that could happen in any organisation.”

    No they are not.

    Someone should have asked questions about the plan.

    Nobody did, and there are consequences to this failure.

    They Key has given the opposition something to beat him over the head with is probably only a part of it.

    Look- you guys really need to get over the delusion that there are two parties at war here.

    There is only one party, the National/ Labour revolving door socialist/ progressive partnership.

    What you are observing is merely an internicene battle for the leadership of that party. (Its also what each election is about)

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  13. Keeping Stock (9,788 comments) says:

    Key isn’t the issue as far as Shearer’s need to apologise goes Hamnida. He has made serious allegations of misconduct against senior public servants which he cannot back up with evidence. He has besmirched their professional reputations and their integrity with his innuendo, and in a small community such as Wellington, that is seriously damaging.

    If he became Prime Minister he would have to work with these people. Instead he has effectively used them as a means to attack the PM, not caring whether what he has alleged can be proven. That is appalling behaviour; the kind of thing that one would expect from Trevor Mallard.

    And it gets even worse when lackeys such as yourself repeat the lies in the hope that they will gain traction. It didn’t work for Labour in 2008, and it didn’t work for them last year. Shearer promised that things would be different, but he is showing by his own example that nothing has changed.

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  14. Zapper (843 comments) says:

    Hamnida is a known liar. He should be chopped. He’s also an idiot.

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  15. Manolo (12,624 comments) says:

    Many people failed here, but it’s NOT a good look for Neville Key. In fact, the whole DotCom fiasco has been a debacle for National.

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  16. iMP (2,152 comments) says:

    When are NZers going to wake up that we are not producing enough wealth in this country to hold on to our iconic companies? And that gradually NZ will be purchased by overseas interests with more money.

    - Can’t mine
    - Can’t do wind power, dam, dig for oil
    - Can’t use water to improve the environment
    - Can’t start new companies because of a weevil in the grass
    - Can’t do didlie squat because CHANGE is evil

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  17. smttc (638 comments) says:

    After all this business with Banks, Dotcom/GCSB and now the drinking age vote, John Key needs to wake up every morning and remind himself (because he seems to have forgotten) that it is just another day when the Opposition will take every opportunity to demonise him and to sow the seed in the public’s mind that he is incompetent, a liar and an idiot. He needs to sort out his act and constantly remind himself that it is his role to deny the Opposition these opportunities. Cos I see that is what the Opposition has now resorted to – Shearer, Robertson, Norman, Mallard and Turei now resorting to little more than denigration and calling John Key a liar and an incompetent idiot. It’s Key’s job to maintain the integrity of his office. Smarten up your act Mr Key.

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  18. Bill (19 comments) says:

    They just used the wrong spies.
    They should have used the SIS spies.
    Big Deal!

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  19. tvb (3,939 comments) says:

    The Prime Minister should not have a warrant request put in front of him that was unlawful in a very basic way. In other words the PM Is entitled to EXPECT the lawfulness is correct. BUT the PM could have asked more questions as he is the only protective step. It carries quite a lot of responsibility unlike much more routine stuff. The PM gave the impression he treated it in a routine way and that is a error in this case.

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  20. RightNow (6,338 comments) says:

    I see Hamnida has given up and is just trolling. Another ‘high IQ’ liberal becomes a slobbering dolt.

    Next.

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  21. superflynz (9 comments) says:

    Hamnida.. do you actually believe the drivel that comes out of your brain or do you just do it to see if you get a reaction?

    Is it a natural consequence of being a card carrying commie to have to take the opposite side to this Government on every issue, regardless of merit?

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  22. Nostalgia-NZ (4,686 comments) says:

    What price will be paid for the silence of the spy now apparently out in the cold, political expedients such as this have a habit of being low on oil and can often lead to noise or breakdowns. 16 years in the service and a renegade, a fall guy perhaps, someone with information that might be uncomfortable to others, this is a belated response and the slowness of this must have reasons beyond just one man.

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  23. questions (132 comments) says:

    It’s very clear that they deleted the tape.

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  24. Nostalgia-NZ (4,686 comments) says:

    I don’t agree that is all that clear, was always possible though and could explain statements made on the matter earlier.
    I suspect there will be some working hard on trying to reconcile why a top man has apparently gone in isolation. GCSB isn’t a ‘one man band.’ Also I don’t think it’s members are roll over pussy cats, a lot seems to have been unsettled at GCSB for a long time and some might find that the silence they thought they were owed, or guaranteed isn’t the foregone conclusion they considered.
    The problem seems to have been dithering or prevaricating on disclosure and decisions. The longer one prevaricates on a decision of disclosure the longer they’re seen to have owned it.

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