Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The deadline for the Intelligence Review Looms

Lisa Fong will be the person in the hot seat when the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament receive the promised Intelligence Review.

On Monday, 15 February, two weeks before the deadline for the Intelligence Review is to be tabled, Una Jagose took up her new role as the Attorney General and Lisa Fong, former GCSB chief-legal advisor, is now the acting director.

According to the GCSB, Lisa has been employed there since 2012 – the date may be arguably incorrect though (or an example of incorrect data gathering on the part of the GCSB). The official government release announcing Lisa Fong's appointment as acting director states that she started work at the GCSB in April 2013.

However, if the 2012 date is correct, that puts Lisa working at the GCSB when they were found to have spied illegally on 88 New Zealanders. She may have been giving advice then to Hugh Wolfensohn, the Deputy Director of Mission Enablement (DDME) and part-time legal advisor, who resigned in March 2013 just weeks before the Kitteridge report became public.

Regardless of whether she started in 2012 or 213 though, Lisa would have been working there as the legal advisor when operation 'WTO Project' was active and the GCSB was spying on Tim Groser's rivals for the position of director-general of the WTO. The GCSB operation involved covert surveillance of candidates from Brazil, Costa Rica, Ghana, Jordan, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and South Korea.

Whilst Lisa has been working there the GCSB has also been spying on Pacific countries and everyone residing, passing through or holidaying in that area.

Lisa was working there when it was written in tbe 2014 NZIC report that, among other things, the intelligence community had to ensure they comply with the law.

When the far from independent Intelligence Review is finally released, it will probably herald law changes to make legal a lot of the unlawful activities that have become public since the Dotcom raid and the Snowden leaks of 2012 and 2013.

To make law changes is the role of the Intelligence Review, this was clearly stated in the top-secret briefing to John Key in 2014.The briefing stated that the "review should provide a sound basis on which to develop new legislation."

Any new legislation will only strengthen the already only so-called 'arguably legal' acts of the GCSB and ensure that NZ stays firmly entrenched in the Five-Eyes. 

The next few weeks may prove busy for Lisa Fong.