Wednesday, August 20, 2014

SIS OIA turnaround times

One of the central allegations in Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics is that Cameron Slater received favourable treatment in the handling of an OIA request to the SIS. That allegation is now the subject of an investigation by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, but its worth noting that Slater certainly thought that was the case; his facebook messages to Aaron Bhatnagar released today say it was "expedited in the public interest".

So was it? Here's some data:

  • Slater's request (via Donotlink) was made on 26 July and responded to on 2 August - a turnaround time of 5 working days.
  • There are five successful requests to the SIS made via FYI. These were responded to in 8, 24, 12, 49, and 26 working days respectively, for an average of 23.8 working days.
I think that speaks for itself. Slater's turnaround time was the fastest ever observed by the SIS. And I think its pretty obvious why: someone in the Prime Minister's office told them to hurry it up. Whether this violates the SIS's statutory duty of political neutrality is left as an exercise to the reader.