Wednesday, November 26, 2014

This takes the cake

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security is now threatening John Key's victim with prosecution:

As the Inspector-General stated at the release of the report yesterday morning, she is examining what steps to take over the early disclosure of information from the report.

That disclosure was contrary to the non-disclosure obligations under which affected parties received some limited prior notice of the report and was also unfair to others.

Ms Gwyn said that she was aware of Mr Goff's subsequent statements that he had disclosed some information concerning findings in the report. She will be seeking further information from Mr Goff and others.

The broadcast or publication of that information may also have contravened the IGIS Act and, in any case, these events raise questions for the handling of future reports. Any issue of prosecution will, however, be for the Police.

Presumably such a prosecution would be under section 29 Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996, which prohibits the unapproved publication of IGIS reports. But it is difficult to see how such a prosecution could possibly succeed, because the report was approved for release. While it was discussed with the media before the IGIS made her announcement, a press embargo is a PR measure, not a security one. Any court with a proper respect for the right of freedom of expression affirmed in the BORA would find that. The IGIS doesn't have a leg to stand on. Instead, by attempting to bully a victim of the SIS (and an MP), all she has done is bring her office - and the whole idea that it is an effective check and balance on SIS behaviour - into disrepute. And if they're going to try and bully Members of Parliament - their ultimate bosses - I'm happy to see both the IGIS,and the spies she supposedly "oversees", shut down permanently.