GCSB report released

The PM has announced:

Prime Minister today released the report of into compliance at the Government Communications Security Bureau.

Ms Kitteridge was seconded to the to undertake the review in October 2012.

The review had two main areas of focus – ensuring that all the GCSB’s activities are lawful; and reviewing the agency’s compliance framework.

“I had intended to release this report to the Intelligence and Security Committee next week, however the public disclosure of the contents of the report means I have taken the decision to release it today.

“Members of the Intelligence and Security Committee have received the report a short time in advance of my releasing it publicly.

“The report makes for sobering reading. At a high level it finds long-standing, systemic problems with the GCSB’s compliance systems and aspects of its organisation and culture.

Ouch. That is quite damning.

The report Andrea Vance was leaked was a draft report it seems. It would be interesting to speculate on who had a copy of the draft. Drafts normally go to people who might be the subject of critical comment, so they can respond.

“I acknowledge this review will knock public confidence in the GCSB.

“This is why the Government has a comprehensive response underway to address the organisational problems at the GCSB.

“The steps we are taking will be outlined in detail next week and are intended to begin the process of rebuilding public confidence in GCSB.”

The GCSB Act has been in place for 10 years. Over that time, GCSB has been providing assistance to other agencies, including the New Zealand Police, New Zealand Defence Force and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service.

It has done so in the belief that it was acting within the law on all occasions.

The essential problem is legal uncertainty over whether they can assist the SIS with communications interception, when the SIS have gained a warrant to intercept such domestic communications. There is no question the SIS were legally able to intercept communications of these people – the issue it seems is whether they could use the GCSB to assist them.

There are 88 cases identified as having a question mark over them since 2003.

Police have conducted a thorough check of all their systems. Police advise that no arrest, prosecution or any other legal processes have occurred as a result of the information supplied to NZSIS by GCSB.

“I have written to the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security and asked him to look into those cases.

“I have asked him to inquire into each of these cases to determine in each case whether or not GCSB has acted in compliance with the law. I have requested that the Inspector General determine whether any individuals have been adversely affected and, if so, what action he recommends be taken.

“It is not my intention to disclose details of those cases. However, the results of the review will be made public after its completion.

The level of transparency over this is welcome. It would have been politically easy to treat the Dotcom issue as a one off mistake. Instead the PM sent in the Cabinet Secretary to do a full review, and has published the report.

“When I return from China, I will announce details of legislative proposals the Government will be bringing to Parliament to remedy the inadequacies of the GCSB Act.

“At the same time I will announce proposals to significantly strengthen the oversight regime across the intelligence community.

That will be interesting.

The report is not online yet but will be placed on the GCSB website.

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