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PM’s questionable brain fades re GCSB

3 April 2013

PM’s questionable brain fades re GCSB

Prime Minister John Key has misled the public about the appointment of his friend Ian Fletcher to head New Zealand’s external spy agency the Government Communications Security Bureau, the Green Party said today.

“The Prime Minister has had a series of brain fades when it comes to his responsibility to oversee the GCSB and the latest claim that he forgot phoning his friend Ian Fletcher and suggesting he apply to head the agency stretches credibility,” Green Party security and intelligence spokesperson Steffan Browning said.

“You just don’t forget picking up the phone and calling your friend to suggest they apply for a job reporting to you.

“The Prime Minister has been downplaying his involvement in this appointment because he knows he acted wrongly.

“The right thing to do here is acknowledge that he inserted himself in this recruitment process and then tried to cover it up.

“John Key was not honest about his friendship with Ian Fletcher in Parliament when he said the State Services Commissioner made the decision but failed to mention that it was on his recommendation.

“John Key was not honest about the fact he had kept in contact with his friend, who turned out to be the first person he thought to ring about a job vacancy.

“Maybe the GCSB was only following his example when it suffered a ‘brain fade’ by illegally spying on Kim Dotcom. John Key couldn’t remember being briefed about the illegal spying nor anything else it appears when it comes to the GCSB.

“John Key provides the only democratic oversight of the GCSB but he has not monitored what they were doing and that turned out to be illegally spying on a New Zealand resident.

“He is accountable and if the job is too much for him he should give it to another minister,” Mr Browning said.

The Green Party has called for better oversight of GCSB with policy that a regular parliamentary select committee replace the government-dominated Intelligence and Security Committee, and the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security become an Officer of Parliament.


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