Spy Review Satire: Land of Confusion
Land of ConfusionSatire by Lyndon Hood
Following the release of the Cullen/Reddy review, Scoop has an exclusive interview with the New Zealand Person in Charge of Intelligence and Security Stuff.
Scoop: Good evening.
Person in Charge of Intelligence and Security Stuff: That's an operational matter.
Scoop: I was planning to start by asking about spying on New Zealanders.
PiCoIaSS: I know.
S: Why is this change necessary?
P: Well, the law, as it stands, sometime stops the GCSB spying on New Zealanders.
P: And we find that really gets in the way of the GCSB spying on New Zealanders. It's all very confusing.
S: Confusing how?
P: Well, we in the intransigence and sanctimony community…
S: Intelligence and security.
P: … yes … We're kind of all about the spying. If you try to be like 'don't spy on this though' it kind of blows our minds.
S: But it's part of your job to uphold the law, isn't it?
P: Exactly, how can we do that properly if there's some pesky bit of legislation stopping us? It's bewildering.
S: Any new law will be written by the same people who replaced the 'confusing' old laws…
P: Oh, those were so perplexing. Said we couldn't spy on New Zealanders. We kept breaking them by accident when we tried to spy on New Zealanders.
S: … with the 'confusing' 2014 laws…
P: Ugh. Having to get permission to do things. What does that even mean?
S: … and it'll be drafted and passed in a hurry, probably ignoring most of the submissions. What makes you think any new law won't be confusing for you?
P: Well there might be some teething problems but based on my experience as an intemperance and sophistry professional, if we break the law a few times someone will fix it for us.
S: Convenient for you, isn't it, that no security review ever recommends less powers?
P: No, no, you're completely wrong. It should be 'fewer' powers. It's easy to get confused about this because it involves words and that means it's almost like legislation. You use 'fewer' when you're talking about discreet units.
P: … and our units are extremely discreet. For example, when we share all our mass data collection with a bunch of other countries without looking at it, we make them promise not to peek at New Zealanders' personal information. I can't imagine anything more discreet than that.
S: Not sharing it?
P: That is outside the bounds of my imagination.
S: Just now, you were referring to your mass surveillance in the Pacific?
P: No, we don't do mass surveillance. You're thinking of mass data collection.
S: Isn't that the same thing?
P: I mean, really. It's indolence and secretary 101. If we were looking at everyone's data we'd have to hire absolutely everyone to do it and there'd be nobody left to read the reports. All we're do is collect everyone's data in case we want it later.
S: I'm pretty sure that counts.
P: No, look – we're just spying on everyone and sharing the results with our overseas partners. Not reading it. Unless we want to.
S: It's very confusing.
P: It's perfectly clear to me. Look, this is a very serious issue. It the insouciance and telemetry agencies' job to protect New Zealand. From everyone except us. And our friends. And sometimes our bosses.
S: And it's not like the Prime Minister, for example, might declassify information just to embarrass a political opponent.
P: Oh, no, that totally happened. But my point is, we are state agencies, bound by public service rules.
S: It's worse than I thought. But the proposals do suggest more oversight.
P: Yes, it probably was.
P: An oversight. I'm sure that'll be fixed. Otherwise it might lead to someone stopping us doing whatever we want and that would be too baffling for words.
S: And we'll have to stop there. That was our interview with the Person in Charge of…
P: Inflammability and sausages.
S: … Stuff. Thank you.
P: Oh good, just time for a walk in the sun.
S: It's raining outside.
P: Well I need it to be sunny.
S: Water is falling out of the sky.
P: Oh dear. It's very confusing out there. Do you have any sunblock?