The Herald reported:
Security Intelligence Service chief Rebecca Kitteridge has apologised to Kim Dotcom for the behaviour of her spies, who swapped emails about the internet entrepreneur’s weight and wife while mocking his chances of getting New Zealand residency. …
One reply stated: “He was never going to get far from the cops on foot, was he?” Another SIS staffer said Dotcom was like the Daleks, the wheeled villains in Dr Who, because “he could be defeated by a small set of stairs”.
That may be the funniest thing ever written by an SIS Officer! Yes I know it was inappropriate, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t very funny.
The more interesting aspect to this story is that the e-mails were released, and this is no doubt due to Kitteridge. In the past any e-mails about someone who had been investigated by the SIS would have been declined under the OIA, and it would not have been difficult to fund a reason to justify this such as prejudicing security or international relations.
The e-mails were written in a culture where they never ever thought they would be potentially released. In the past the SIS pretty much refused all OIAs. But Kitteridge has obviously decided that unless there is a direct link to security and international relations, then material will be released. This is a significant change – one of many the security agencies have gone through in recent years. I suspect in future SIS staff will confine their humour to the oral sphere.
At some stage I’ll do a post looking at all the changes in the last few years around the security and intelligence agencies. They have been significant, and most heading in the right direction.