Key corrects his story on Dotcom knowledge
Oct. 16 (BusinessDesk) - Prime Minister John Key has endured the ritual humiliation of making a Personal Explanation in Parliament to correct statements that he only learnt of a spy agency's involvement in the Kim Dotcom case in September, when in fact he was briefed in February.
The much-anticipated setting straight of the record saw New Zealand First leader Winston Peters ejected from the chamber by Speaker Lockwood Smith after repeatedly attempting to raise a Point of Order.
However, the explanation added no new knowledge to the swirl of allegations surrounding how much Key knew about the interest of the Federal Bureau of Investigations in his flamboyantly wealthy Helensville electorate constituent, internet millionaire Kim Dotcom, and the assistance of New Zealand authorities for the FBI's investigation.
However, Labour Party leader David Shearer appeared not to lay a glove on Key, and is under pressure himself, with media commentators criticising his inability to back claims a video exists of Key discussing the Dotcom affair at a Government Communications Security Bureau briefing in February.
However, Key conceded he had now seen briefing notes used for a presentation at the meeting, which referenced the Dotcom case as an example of cooperation between the police and the GCSB, which monitors telecommunications, internet and signals for intelligence-gathering in coordination with the US, UK, Australia and Canada.
GCSB's involvement in intercepting Dotcom's communications has been found to be unlawful because Dotcom had New Zealand residency, and the spy agency's brief requires that it not monitor New Zealanders.
Key told media earlier in the day he would now take a staff member to GSCB briefings, in contravention of existing protocols, which include not providing written briefing materials and strictly limiting information shared with the Prime Minister.
"One of the problems with the GCSB - and it's just a situation that's been there the whole way - is because of the sensitivity of information that is used there, you never have staff members, you generally don't get pieces of paper, everything's done orally, and so people are asking me to recall things from eight months ago," Key said.