Report into spy debacle a woeful whitewash
David Shearer | Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 15:03
The report into our spy agency’s unlawful snooping on Kim Dotcom and his associates is a whitewash because it ignores the complete failure of democratic oversight by Prime Minister John Key, says Labour Leader David Shearer.
“John Key is in charge of our spy agencies and national security. The buck stops with him. It is astonishing, therefore, that this report fails to deal with how he managed to be so blissfully unaware of what was going on under his own nose when he is the person with sole democratic oversight. It is farcical.
“The report also doesn’t deal with the shocking breakdown of communication within the Beehive, including asking who knew about this within the Prime Minister’s office, among his other officials, the Intelligence Coordination Group, or why his own deputy failed to tell him about the illegal surveillance.
“It also doesn’t address why, in the 15 meetings the Prime Minister had with GCSB this year, he was not briefed about this issue given it involved national security and a massive police operation involving the FBI.
“This debacle has exposed an absolute failure of leadership from the Prime Minister. Yet the report ignores that and allows John Key to slide out of any responsibility.
“There are also questions about whether it is appropriate for the Inspector-General to be the only person inquiring into this fiasco, given his own role as watchdog of the agency. In effect, Paul Neazor is potentially inquiring into his own actions or oversight.
“A broader inquiry is needed that looks at the failures at the top echelons of Government.
“It is important that the Government Communications Security Bureau meets its legal obligations in future to give New Zealanders confidence that they will not be subject to an illegal invasion of their privacy and to restore our international reputation for honest Government.
“But the Prime Minister and his Government have also let the country down. National security and New Zealanders’ right to privacy is paramount but John Key has shrugged off any responsibility or care for that.
“New Zealanders expect better of him,” said David Shearer.