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Political staff should give answers under oath

The Inspector General of Security and Intelligence should use her full statutory powers to question witnesses under oath about the leak of SIS information, says Labour MP Phil Goff.

“Leakage of confidential information from the SIS for political purposes is sufficiently serious for the Inspector General Cheryl Gwyn to use the full powers available to her to question those likely to have been involved.

“Cameron Slater knew what was in the records held by the SIS and knew that their release was to be expedited. He said he was ‘sworn to secrecy’ over his source.

“Only the SIS director and the political staff in the Prime Minister’s office to whom he gave this information could have leaked it.

“It is unlikely the director would have committed such a partisan and illegal act. It is the Prime Minister’s office that had the political motivation and connections with the Whale Oil blogger to do this.

“The unprecedented misuse of the SIS for political purposes is a serious offence. Ministers and the Leader of the Opposition are sworn to confidentiality and deliberate leaks by them would result in their removal from office.

“The politicisation of the SIS cannot be tolerated in a democratic society.

“John Key’s chief of staff Wayne Eagleson and former senior advisor Jason Ede must be required to give evidence on oath about their part in leaking the information and their involvement in dirty politics.

“The outstanding question is whether it is believable that the Prime Minister’s staff would have committed such actions without the agreement and knowledge of John Key. Given the seriousness of such behaviour, it seems extraordinarily unlikely that they would have done this without the Prime Minister’s approval,” Phil Goff says.