I was fascinated that a former GCSB Director went on Campbell Live (a good scoop for them) and criticised the selection process of Ian Fletcher.
He seemed very miffed that Fletcher had no military background and that someone he had known for 25 years was not interviewed. I wonder if that person was the former Associate Director who has now left the GCSB for his actions in the Kim Dotcom saga?
The review of the GCSB by Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Kitteridge should be released soon, and I suspect it will be very scathing (in a diplomatically worded way) of the CGSB processes, and As Sir Bruce Ferguson was Director from 2006 to 2011, he could feel slighted. Time will tell.
My view is the same as yesterday that it would have been preferable for the PM not to have called Ian Fletcher to ask him if he was interested in applying. But to be fair to the PM, it has been revealed that he did not solely phone Fletcher, but also another person to see if they were interested. The other person was not available.
The better course of action would have been to pass on the contact details of both people to the State Services Commissioner.
The Dom Post editorial today says:
There is nothing wrong with John Key calling an old mate’s brother and telling him there’s a public service vacancy he might be interested in applying for.
There is everything wrong with the prime minister misleading the public about his involvement in the appointment of that old friend’s brother, Ian Fletcher, as head of the Government Communications Security Bureau.
Mr Key’s fondness for picking up the phone and talking directly to those at the coalface is a trait he shares with other go-getters who have become prime ministers. However, his predecessors all recognised the importance of maintaining public confidence in government.
Mr Key has now failed to do so on at least two occasions – first by advocating on behalf of one of the potential builders of a new convention centre in Auckland and now by being less than candid about his role in Mr Fletcher’s appointment.
Again it would have been better to have had the full details put out there at the beginning.
David Shearer was ridiculed for forgetting his foreign bank account for four years. While it is more believable to forget about a phone call, it means that politically the focus shifts from Shearer’s blunder to Key’s actions.