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NZSIS Welcomes Coordinated Review Into The LynnMall Terror Attack

Director General of Security Rebecca Kitteridge:

Firstly, I would like to recognise those who were affected by the LynnMall terror attack on 3 September 2021, including victims, witnesses, and their whanau, and first responders.

The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service acknowledges the findings of the Coordinated Review inquiry report into the LynnMall terror attack, and welcomes the comments relevant to the NZSIS.

The coordinated review by the Independent Police Conduct Authority, Office of the Inspectorate for the Department of Corrections and the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security looked at the actions of Police, Corrections and NZSIS in relation to Ahamed Samsudeen’s terror attack.

The report clearly details how Mr Samsudeen came to the attention of the NZSIS in 2015 and was soon assessed as someone who had an established violent extremist ideology and was looking for ways to act on those beliefs. Mr Samsudeen’s activities prompted significant levels of investigative effort being committed to his case by NZSIS, which the Combined Review described in its report as “effective, proportionate and measured”.

After learning of Mr Samsudeen, he soon became a high priority subject of investigation for NZSIS, because of the behaviours and activities he was demonstrating. From the very beginning, NZSIS worked closely with partner agencies because of the serious threat he posed to the public.

The report notes NZSIS lawfully and appropriately shared intelligence with partner agencies in a timely, necessary and proportionate way based on the threat Mr Sumsudeen posed. No intelligence was found to be withheld and information was supplied at the lowest classification settings possible, to ensure the right people had the right information at the right time.

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The report also acknowledges Mr Samsudeen was identified early as a determined lone actor, and that the NZSIS displayed no bias in prioritising him as a subject of investigation.

The report sheds light on how the national security system dealt with a highly complex situation. It explains the role NZSIS plays in collecting, analysing and reporting intelligence relevant to Aotearoa New Zealand’s national security. It also shows how NZSIS works to fulfil its mission to keep New Zealand and New Zealanders safe and secure.

NZSIS is committed to working closely with agencies across the system. Our security intelligence is designed to help inform a range of decision makers. There may be times when our intelligence and expertise can help to inform a rehabilitative approach, but NZSIS does not have any legislative function or capability to provide or facilitate rehabilitation programmes or social services. This is made clear in the report.

The Coordinated Review is an important document that provides a useful picture of NZSIS’s counter-terrorism role. As with any significant review, NZSIS has gained insights that will help ensure our intelligence continues to be appropriately effective to achieve good national security outcomes.

As outlined above, this particular operation was a longstanding effort that required considerable resourcing and dedication from NZSIS’s intelligence professionals. I thank those staff for their important mahi and dedication to ensuring our collective safety.

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