Cablegate: A/S Fort's October 9-10 Visit to New Zealand


DE RUEHWL #0356/01 2980129
O 240129Z OCT 08




E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/23/2018

Classified By: Pol/Econ Counselor Margaret B. McKean; Reason 1.4 (b), (
c), (d)

1. (C) Summary. During an October 9-10 visit to New
Zealand, INR A/S Randall Fort met with members of the
External Assessments Bureau (EAB), the Chief Executive of the
Prime Minister and Cabinet's Department, Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Trade Deputy Secretary Caroline Forsyth, and
officials with New Zealand's Government Communications
Security Bureau (GCSB). GNZ officials praised USG efforts to
improve intelligence sharing, particularly with respect to
imagery. GNZ interlocutors acknowledged that New Zealand
gains enormous benefits from being part of the Five Eyes
intelligence community. A/S Fort's message focused on the
increasing sophistication of commercial search engines and
the growing number of open source analyses available to
policymakers. In the future, the intelligence community must
find ways to differentiate their products and provide value
added to policy makers, argued A/S Fort. He also discussed
the issues surrounding cyberspace and national security. Key
issues for GNZ officials centered on the recent
Georgia/Russia conflict, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan/Afghanistan,
North Korea and the Pacific region. End Summary.

Security of Public Sector Computers is Key Concern
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (C) INR Assistant Secretary Fort visited New Zealand on
October 9-10, accompanied by other INR staff. Meetings with
GNZ officials included calls on Gregory Baughen, head of New
Zealand's External Assessments Bureau (EAB), working sessions
with EAB officials, a meeting with Bruce Miller, Deputy
Director of New Zealand's GCSB, and a a call on Michael
XXXXXXXXXXXX, Deputy Director of New Zealand Security
Intelligence Service (NZSIS). Discussions with EAB working
level staff and analysts from other government offices
focused on the recent Russia/Georgia conflict, North Korea
and northeast Asia, China, Iran/Iraq, Afghanistan, and the
Pacific region.

3. (S/NF) During his visit, Fort called on Chief Executive
of the Department for Cabinet and Prime Minister's Office,
Maarten Wevers, who manages a staff of 120, including
Domestic and External Security groups, the PM's policy group,
and Wevers also oversees New Zealand's intelligence
committee. Wevers likened his Department to the National
Security Council in terms of breadth of coverage and
responsibilities. He noted that EAB's operations are highly
compartmentalized and EAB reports are tightly held within
Cabinet, with few Ministers seeing them. He explained that
New Zealand's contribution to the Five Eyes intelligence
community consists of two monitoring stations; one in the
northern end of the south island, and the other on the north
island near Wellington. Wevers offered that the GNZ
recognizes that it is a "enormous beneficiary" of the Five
Eyes community and lauded the good bilateral relations on
intelligence sharing, including recent strides in imagery
sharing. He added that New Zealand was "well past the
military issues" of the past. A/S Fort hoped the additional
access would prove useful to New Zealand; the amount of
information and management of the information can be a
challenge. Wevers commented that intelligence and
assessments may mean something different to New Zealand than
to other Five Eyes partners. Often there are significant
differences with Australia, he added, as New Zealand is a
more Pacific country than Australia and the latter is not
always attuned to Pacific developments.

4. (C) A/S Fort spoke about the challenges for intelligence
analysts posed by the rapid growth of commercially available
analytic services outside government and the sophistication
of search engines such as Google and Yahoo. The information
needed by policymakers is increasingly available outside
government, and the size of outside companies or groups is
not a factor. Smaller can be very nimble; the quality of the
analysis is key and the intelligence community must
increasingly look to match outside services and provide
additional value added to remain relevant, affirmed the A/S.

5. (C) Fort turned to issues involving cyberspace and the
Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI), which
will begin with the Five Eyes and then move to NATO
countries. Security is part of the issue, but the A/S also
stressed the relevance to finance and defense. Even small
countries can benefit with a relatively small contribution
towards equipment and personnel. Regarding deterrence, he
mentioned that there are analogues to nuclear deterrence but
the international community is only beginning to think about
cyber threats in similar fashion. Wevers noted that the GNZ
is seized with the issue of cybersecurity, and GCSB is
working with the PM's Department to protect the public sector
computer system and analyze the range of risks.

6. (C) In discussing the Pacific and Chinese activities in
the region, Wevers said that China has recognized that their
competition with Taiwan is not helpful, but their foreign
affairs officials are not always aware of what others in the
Chinese government are doing in the region. Venezuela and
Cuba are now coming into the Pacific, and Wevers likened
their interest to that of the Russians in the past. A/S Fort
mentioned that the backtracking of democracy in the broader
Pacific region (Fiji, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia) was a
Washington concern. The region is more fragile today than 10
years ago, he opined, and urged a coordinated approach by the
stronger and healthier democracies. Wevers offered that APEC
remains an important regional mechanism and the East Asia
Summit, which includes India, is another good venue for
raising issues. Wevers added that China is only now
realizing the very significant law and order problem within
China, as people are making money illicitly without any sense
of the rule of law. The metamphetamine problem in the region
can be traced to China, continued Wevers, and the precursor
chemicals are coming into New Zealand and other countries in
large containers that are difficult to stop.

Meeting with MFAT Deputy Secretary Caroline Forsyth
--------------------------------------------- ------

7. (S/NF) DepSec Forsyth welcomed A/S Fort's visit, stating
that the GNZ values its contacts with the Washington
intelligence community. The twice-weekly CIA-Commonwealth
briefings are very useful, but the Five Eyes provides greater
depth. She added that intelligence reports go to the PM's
office, who "absorbs" the paper. A/S Fort explained that the
State INR Bureau is relatively small, and therefore focuses
on core issues. Currently, Washington policymakers are
focused on the longer term implications of the recent
Russia/Georgia conflict and what is holds for Russia's future
and adherence to international norms. With North Korea, the
Six Party Talks are the central issue, but also Kim Jong Il's
health and possible successor. Afghanistan's trend lines are
worrisome, he added, particularly due to the link with the
Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan.
Pakistan's transition to civilian leadership is being watched
closely in Washington, noted the A/S. He and Forsyth
discussed Iranian nuclear pretensions and possible Israeli
reaction. A/S Fort offered that Israel is likely to strike
if the government of Israel believes Iran has met their red
lines; an Israeli strike against Iran would be more complex
than those launched against Iraq and Syria, he said. A/S
Fort added that the US-India nuclear deal was an historic
diplomatic achievement for the Secretary. Responding to
Forsyth's question, Fort downplayed Venezuela as a threat to
USG interests and characterized Chavez as more of an
annoyance with limited political influence within the region.

8. (S) Forsyth praised the US-New Zealand bilateral
relationship, noting that the highlight of the year had been
the Secretary's visit to New Zealand and onward travel to
Samoa, which had provided a window into the challenges facing
the Pacific, particularly to the micro-states of the region.
New Zealand views the situation in Fiji as "acute," and
appreciates USG support for the Pacific Island Forum (PIF)
position on Fiji. A/S Fort commented that GNZ sigint had
been critical to USG understanding of the 2006 coup. Forsyth
offered that New Zealand sees an arc of instability in
Melanesia, as there is a great deal of money but little to no
capacity to use it wisely. The Solomon Islands are under
control at the moment but there are still significant
problems in terms of governance and corruption. The GNZ is
weighing the necessary structural changes needed to make a
long-lasting improvement in the SI society so that RAMSI
security forces might depart. Vanuatu is coping for the
moment, she added, and New Zealand is putting significant
assistance towards agricultural projects there.

9. (S/NF) Moving to North Korea, Forsyth asked if the
stalled progress on the Six Party Talks was linked to a DPRK
assessment that the U.S. election aftermath might offer a
better deal. A/S Fort replied in the negative, noting that
foreign policy continuity is the norm. Oscillation is part
of the DPRK strategy, he added, and the current situation is
complicated by Kim Jong Il's health issues and the succession
process. Kim Jong Il played off the former Soviet Union and
China to his benefit and may be trying to use the U.S. in the
same way as the Soviets. China's role has been constructive,
continued Fort, largely because Beijing does not want to see
a nuclear Korean peninsula and the ramifications of a
northeast Asian arms race. The A/S mentioned that North
Korea faces a food crisis despite World Food Program
assistance. Forsyth said that the New Zealand high
commissioner in Seoul would be going soon to North Korea for
a periodic visit.

10. (S/NF) The MFAT Deputy Secretary asked for A/S Fort's
assessment of Afghanistan and Pakistan. New Zealand has
troops stationed in Bamiyan province and the GNZ is concerned
over the malevolent influence from the tribal areas of
Pakistan, particularly since the international community has
been trying to transform Afghanistan into a state since 2001.
Fort responded that Afghanistan will be an enduring
challenge for generations requiring cultural changes. The
U.S. is determined to be more aggressive in addressing
Taliban cross-border operations, and is weighing the
political costs with Pakistan. Forsyth and Fort discussed
prospects for the Indian government to improve its relations
with Islamabad to ease pressure on the Pakistan army to fight
insurgents in the FATA.


11. (C) GNZ interlocutors were pleased to have the
opportunity to discuss a range of global issues of bilateral
concern. All meetings focused on GNZ support for the
intelligence sharing partnership and, in particular, the
singular role of Prime Minister Clark in ensuring good
cooperation. As of this writing, the New Zealand HC based in
Seoul has already returned from her trip to the DPRK; we will
try to get a readout from MFAT. End Comment.

12. (U) A/S Fort has cleared this message.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN News: Monkeypox Outbreak Can Still Be Contained, Insists UN Health Agency
The monkeypox outbreak that has been reported in 16 countries and several regions of the world can still be contained and the overall risk of transmission is low, the UN health agency said on Tuesday...

UN: “COVID-19 Is Not Over”, Tedros Warns World Health Assembly
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) told global health Ministers on Sunday that although reported COVID-19 cases and deaths have declined significantly, it is not time to lower the guard... More>>

UN: Bachelet Calls On Mexico To Step Up Efforts As Tragic Milestone Reached Of More Than 100,000 Disappearances

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday called on the Mexican authorities to step up efforts to ensure truth and justice for victims of disappearances, who now number more than 100,000, according to official data... More>>

Access Now: Elon Musk’s Twitter Buyout Must Not Come At The Expense Of Human Rights

Following today’s announcement that Elon Musk will acquire complete ownership of Twitter in a cash sale of around 44 billion USD, pending shareholder approval, Access Now urges Twitter’s Board, employees, and shareholders... More>>

UN: Biodiversity And Ecosystem Protection Highlighted On Mother Earth Day

Marking International Mother Earth Day, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid urged on Friday, for collective action to safeguard biodiversity and protect ecosystems... More>>

Ukraine: Hundreds More Reach Safety After Fleeing Besieged Mariupol
In Ukraine, humanitarians said on Wednesday that hundreds of people have managed to reach safety after fleeing Mariupol, where there’s also been condemnation for the killing of Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius... More>>