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SIS Gets Two Hours Parliamentary Scrutiny A Year

SIS Gets Two Hours Scrutiny A Year


by Kevin List


SIS Director Richard Woods And Prime Minister Helen Clark
Who Is Watching The Watchers?

Answers to a parliamentary question from Green MP, Keith Locke, reveal New Zealand's Security Intelligence Services received less than two hours scrutiny in the last year.

Since June 2003 when the committee looked into security matters for the grand total of twenty minutes, the Intelligence and Security Committee has met twice – on 16th December for 49 minutes, and most recently on 15th June again for 49 minutes.

Minus the odd spot of chit chat, general pleasantries and biscuit dunking these figures reveal that the members (at present – Helen Clark, Michael Cullen, Jim Anderton, Don Brash and Winston Peters) have barely spent an hour and a half looking into the implications of :

- the Refugee Status Appeal Authorities criticism of the Security Intelligence Services regarding the Ahmed Zaoui case;

- the possibly illegal seven hour questioning of Mr Zaoui, in early December 2002, without recourse to a lawyer by the Police and Security Intelligence Services, brought to light in early December 2003;

- the resignation of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Laurie Greig, following the High Court decision that prevented Mr Greig from having anything further to do with the Zaoui case for his (Mr Greig's) 'apparent bias';

- &, the stolen passport case involving a number of Israeli citizens - some of whom had connections to Israeli Government agencies.

Also worth noting is the fact that since September 11 2001 and the attacks on America, intelligence agencies, including New Zealand's Security Intelligence Service, have received large increases in funding.

So whilst New Zealand's intelligence agencies have received this extra funding it appears no additional parliamentary scrutiny has gone into checking how these organisations are performing using their extra resources.

SOURCE:
Written Question 11189 (2004) Published - Prime Minister - Normal Reply

Question: On how many occasions has the Intelligence and Security Committee met since 27 July 2002, and for each meeting, what date was it held on and how long did it last?

Portfolio: Prime Minister -Minister: Rt Hon Helen Clark

Answer: Since 27 July 2002 the Intelligence and Security Committee has met five times. It met on 17 December 2002 for 49 minutes, 19 March 2003 for 44 minutes, 10 June 2003 for 20 minutes, 16 December 2003 for 49 minutes and 15 June 2004 for 49 minutes.

LINKS FOR FURTHER BACKGROUND:

A Second Look At The Intelligence and Security Committee
By Kevin List
http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0404/S00081.htm

Should Greig Go To Ensure SIS Is Put Back On Its Toes?
By Selwyn Manning
http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0403/S00318.htm

*** ENDS ***

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