Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The arguably ambiguous GCSB Act

The Inspector-General of Security and Intelligence, Paul Neazor, yesterday finished his inquiry into the GCSB’s illegal spying on NZ residents and citizens. The report has not been made public, instead the GCSB issued a press release.

Whether this press release includes all findings of Neazor’s report, or whether the GCSB has filtered it to show only those findings that are favourable, is not known. It is also unclear whether the report will ever be made public. But according to the GCSB, Neazor “is of the view that there were arguably no breaches and the law is unclear.”

That seems difficult to comprehend – if the law is unclear, how can one come to the conclusion that  it wasn’t breached?

If the GCSB is correct in its summary of the report, this wouldn’t be the first time that Neazor has found that a NZ spy agency has done nothing wrong. In 2005, Neazor found that allegations published by Scoop and the Sunday Star Times that the SIS had been spying on the Maori party were without base, and he came to the conclusion that the papers had been duped.

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