The Herald reports:
One of the United States top law officers is in New Zealand.
FBI head James Comey slipped into the country and has been meeting with the Attorney General Chris Finlayson and with the Commissioner of Police.
American sources say he’s here as part of ongoing meetings over security in the region.
Mr Comey was appointed to the job by President Obama late in 2013.
The Trans Tasman political alert reports he’s been laying the ground work for a visit by President Barack Obama.
I’m not so sure about the reasoning.
I think Trans Tasman may well be right that Obama will visit this year. I’ve heard this is reasonably likely (not from NZG people, but others). But I am unsure the presence of the FBI Director is a sign of this. Security checks for a presidential visit would not be done by an agency head, and it is more a secret service function.
Time will tell.
Any presidential trip was likely to be a costly and complex exercise, Mr Key said.
He recalled that during Clinton’s Apec visit, the former president was prevented by his security from going on the Shotover Jet in Queenstown.
Mr Key: “And the reason he wasn’t allowed was nothing to do with whether it was safe or not – obviously it is – but because the Americans didn’t have enough snipers to put on every half a kilometre of the ridge up the top.
“And people were apparently saying, look, this is New Zealand, you don’t need 200 snipers on the ridge over the Shotover River.
“And they said ‘Tough luck, sunshine, that’s the way we roll. We don’t have the snipers so he ain’t going on it’.”