Helen Clark denies she knew anything about the spying on Locke, despite being Minister of the SIS for the seven years from 1999 to 2006 Locke claims the SIS spied on him.
It is of course no surpise that Locke was once a target of SIS interest:
Locke is the son of prominent environmentalists and Communist Party members Jack and Elsie Locke – they were reportedly described by former Prime Minister Robert Muldoon as the most notorious Communist family in the country.
Some of the 400-plus documents in Locke’s security file date back to when he was 11 years old.
Keith Locke joined the Socialist Action League in 1970. He was too radical for Labour, which tried to expel him in 1974. He joined the Greens and in 1999 he entered Parliament. He campaigned strongly against New Zealand’s imprisonment of Algerian dissident Ahmed Zaoui, which was supported by the SIS.
As I blogged a few days ago, the 70s and 80s were very different to today. the western world was in a struggle with the Societ Union Empire for global domination. Luckily the West won.
On the face of it, the SIS should not have been monitoring Locke once he became an MP, unless there was clear reason to suspect his involvement in something sinister – and if that was the case you would expect the Minister to authorise it.
However there may be a more benign explanation. As far as I can tell, Locke has not released his SIS file. We just have the following to go on:
The declassified file showed that he had previously been covertly photographed, that the SIS had kept track of his private work with constituents and that he had been monitored in other ways as late as 2006. …
Warrants to mount covert surveillance operations, like phone bugging, are overseen by Sir John Jeffries, the Commissioner of Security Warrants.
There are two levels of spying. Interception warrants are only needed when intercepting phone calls, mails, bugging a room etc. This has presumably not happened against Locke since 1999, as Clark would have to had authorise it.
So the alleged post 1999 surveillance has been based on direct observation.
Now I’m not making excuses for the SIS (they themselves say there has been a change of policy on what they monitor), but it is possible that Locke himself has not recently been the target of the SIS, but instead the people he meets with. For example Zaoui? So it might just be that his file was updated whenever he met with Zaoui, just like in the 1980s you would get a file note if you were seen entering the Soviet Embassy.