Not even PSA backs Goff

August 6th, 2011 at 11:09 am by David Farrar

Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:

The public service union has weighed in behind spy boss Warren Tucker as Labour leader Phil Goff continues to attack his recollection of secret briefings.

Mr Goff disputes the accuracy of a report signed off by Dr Tucker showing that he briefed the Opposition leader on an investigation into whether Israeli backpackers who fled after the February 22 Christchurch earthquake might be spies.

Public Service Association national secretary Brenda Pilott said using public servants to score political points was “ill-advised”, especially in an election year.

“Public servants are required to keep their politics out of their job and their job out of politics. That means they cannot respond publicly to criticism or become embroiled in political rows.”

I was listening to a Labour MP talk on this issue on the radio yesterday and he was very luke warm in his defence of Goff. Rather than defend Goff, it was more “Wow, what a mystery this is”.

I don’t imagine there is anyone who really wants to say Goff’s memory is more credible than a written file note made at the time four months ago. But Goff continues to insist only he is right and everyone else is wrong.

No Right Turn on SIS

August 5th, 2011 at 2:30 pm by David Farrar

Idiot/Savant by his own words hates the SIS and hate Whale Oil. So when he concludes the SIS have acted entirely appropriately, it is worth quoting:

There’s a lot of shit going round the blogosphere this morning about the SIS’s release of a document which made Phil Goff look bad to a sewerblogger “in preference” to the media. … But it turns out that its nothing of the sort, and there is a very good reason for the difference in timeframes. From Stuff today:

Mr Slater was given the documents five working days after he made the request. Fairfax Media, who made a similar request, received the document last night along with a letter from Dr Tucker which said: “Your request differs from Mr Slater’s in that you have also requested reports prepared for the prime minister”.

Which seems like a perfectly reasonable explanation.

If you want to see some hysterical rants, check out John Pagani who has blogged six times in a row on the same issue, each time claiming the SIS have committed treason, by obeying the Official Information Act. How desperate can you get to distract people from the substantive issue, that Goff lied.

Matthew Hooton blogs:

I find it difficult to believe he is not lying about the meeting with SIS Director Warren Tucker on Monday 14 March.  If he is not lying then his memory faculties and/or his ability to multitask must be seriously in doubt. …

Mr Goff would have it that these documents are fakes.  Mr Tucker wrote things down, and prepared agendas and minutes, that were untrue. He then gave these false documents to the Prime Minister’s Office and to Whaleoil in order to discredit Mr Goff. 

This is an extraordinary allegation for Mr Goff to be making, even implicitly.  How credible is it that Mr Tucker would behave that way?  My intelligence sources tell me he has always been the ultimate straight-shooter and has done more than any of his predecessors to bring openness and transparency to the intelligence community.  Any personal political views he may have are, I’m told, completely unreadable and, as outlined above, he has maintained the confidence of every New Zealand prime minister from Muldoon, to Lange, to Bolger, to Clark to Key. It is impossible to believe he has now risked his reputation to take a cheap shot at Mr Goff, who he served loyally when he was Foreign Minister, Defence Minister and Trade Minister through the 2000s.

Isn’t it far more likely that Mr Goff, having previously said the matter had not even been mentioned to him at all, has been caught lying and is now forced, Nixon-like, to maintain the lie – even if it requires implicitly attacking Mr Tucker’s integrity to the extent of suggesting he has behaved illegally?

The sad thing for Goff is this is totally self-inflicted. It was of little political consequence whether or not he had been briefed or not. But because Goff was so stupid as to attack the SIS, rather than check with them, he has now been forced into a position when he is seen as dishonest rather than merely forgetful.

Idiot/Savant again notes:

As for the actual issue, Ministers and MPs receive a lot of information, and I would not be surprised at all if they forgot something mentioned in passing. And I’d expect them to be aware of that problem, rather than arrogantly assuming they have total recall of every document which has ever passed their desk

Unless you believe the paranoid conspiracy theory that the SIS has fabricated the briefing notes from March, it is obvious that Goff was briefed, and at a minimum had a quick read of the report.

He was distracted by the Darren Hughes scandal, and it is not a big thing that he doesn’t recall the briefing. but his arrogance is proving his downfall. In a measure of his credibility vs Warren Tucker, he doesn’t come out of it at all well.

The SIS Document

August 4th, 2011 at 6:22 pm by David Farrar


Embedded above is the OIA response from the SIS. The documents:

  1. notes the Investigation into Israeli Nationals in Christchurch was an issue to be discussed with Goff on 14 March
  2. says that Goff asked “What do we know?”
  3. notes it was “discussed at length”
  4. again notes the briefing on 14 March on the agenda for 6 April
  5. has a copy of the actual investigation paper dated 8 March
  6. notes it was discussed with Goff
  7. also notes that Goff read the investigation paper

And look at all that, and then be reminded by Whale that Goff time and time again claimed in different media he had never been briefed – that in fact the first he heard of the Israelis was when the Southland Times ran their story

Goff still can not admit he is wrong

August 4th, 2011 at 1:36 pm by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins at Stuff reports:

A fresh political row has broken out over Israeli spy allegations after Labour leader Phil Goff accused  SIS head Warren Tucker of misleading the public over what he knew about an investigation into the death of an Israeli citizen in the February 22 Christchurch earthquake.

Goff today disputed a notation by Tucker on a briefing note – released under the Official Information Act – which suggested the opposition leader had seen the briefing of the Israeli “spy” investigation.

Goff disputed the notation and accused Tucker of calling his credibility into question.

“In future, I will only meet with Warren Tucker or representatives of the SIS if there is someone independent in the room to keep a true and accurate record of what is discussed.”

Warren Tucker incidentally was appointed Director of the SIS by Helen Clark in 2006.

The notation he made on the briefing note that Goff has seen the briefing paper would have been made in March, when he met Goff. Back then there would have been no thought that this could become a public issue.

Tucker is a long serving intelligence professional. He would have done hundreds or thousands of briefings, and I doubt would be in the habit of being careless about his notations, or would forget to hand over a paper he had with him.

We now have an Opposition Leader who is so arrogant, and so unable to simply say “I stuffed up” (unlike the Prime Minister) he is now claiming the SIS Director is a liar, and incredibly has said he no longer trusts the SIS and will never meet with them again without witnesses. And this is the man who wants to become their Minister.

This fiasco was entirely avoidable by Goff. When it was first reported that Goff had been briefed, he could have checked quietly with the SIS before shooting his mouth off in public. but once he had publicly stated he had never been briefed and knew nothing of the Israeli issue, he has refused to concede he was wrong, and simply didn’t recall the briefing as he was in the midst of the Hughes scandal.

The public forgive MPs who say they made a mistake. Goff though has dig himself a hole and keeps digging.

Goff keeps digging

July 26th, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

People will think this is whack Phil Goff day. I’d rather blog on something else, but he keeps digging. His arrogance and refusal to admit black is black is beyond belief. Let us look at the transcript of Goff with Larry Williams:

LARRY WILLIAMS:         All right. Prime Minister, I think, says if it is an act of global terrorism but anyway, let’s go on to other things. The Israelis, the Prime Minister said his understanding from director SIS, Warren Tucker, that you were briefed and it seems that you were.

PHIL GOFF: No, I wasn’t briefed. He said that I’d received the same document that he had received. I saw no document. There were three documents. I have seen none of them. Briefed is not a description that I would give.

He is effectively calling the SIS Director a liar. Just because one may or may not have received written reports, is not the same as denying you have been briefed. An oral briefing is a briefing. Warren Tucker has said he orally briefed Phil Goff, and Goff’s only response is he doesn’t remember it. That does not mean he was not briefed.

Goff said he was unaware of the issue. He was wrong. The SIS Director had at a minimum orally briefed him. What is Phil Goff incapable of acknowledging he was wrong? Does he think it will make voters like him more?

LARRY WILLIAMS:         Tucker’s an honourable guy, isn’t he? Were you given the papers or not?

 PHIL GOFF: No, I wasn’t given the papers and nor – nor will Warren Tucker say that I definitely received those papers. I would have recalled reading the paper had I been given it. I was not given it.

From my recollection of working in both a Prime Minister’s Office and an Opposition Leader’s Office, the SIS don’t tend to leave copies of their papers behind. Generally you are given it to read, and then sign it, and give it back.

But regardless of whether Goff was given a copy of a paper to read, he was orally briefed on the Israelis. He simply forgot or didn’t pay attention.