Friday, November 14, 2014

Another day, another abuse of power from Key

When John Key announced during the election campaign that he would be releasing declassified GCSB documents to counter Edward Snowden's claims of mass surveillance in New Zealand, it was pretty obvious that the release was purely political, aimed at National's security rather than national security. Now, thanks to an OIA request from the Greens, we have it in black and white.

The released documents show that the GCSB declassified the documents in July, but that Key then sat on them and timed release for his own political advantage during the election campaign. Russel Norman calls this an abuse of power, and he's right - and as with the SIS release to Cameron Slater, it shows that Key views classified information and our spy agencies as his personal political tools, to be used for his personal political advantage. Which may work for him in the short term, but only at the cost of further eroding public trust in those agencies.

Meanwhile, the early declassification suggests that the GCSB (or their NSA/GCHQ partners) knew what Greenwald, Snowden and Dotcom were going to release about New Zealand. Which suggests that they're still spying on some or all of those people in a self-serving attempt to limit democratic debate about their activities. That's not something we should tolerate in a democracy, and its another example of why the GCSB needs to be shut down.