Thursday, May 14, 2015

Another IGIS investigation

Back in March, we learned that the GCSB had been abused to spy on friendly nations in the name of getting National's Tim Groser a better job. It was an outright abuse of power, verging on personal corruption. And now it will be investigated by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security:

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn has commenced an inquiry into the way the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) considers undertaking foreign intelligence activities.

The inquiry is in response to issues recently raised around a Minister of the Crown’s bid to become Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.

“I consider the issues raised about the process followed when the GCSB considers undertaking particular intelligence activity are of sufficient public importance to warrant an own motion inquiry,” Ms Gwyn said.

“While it is unlikely that I will be able to publicly confirm or deny the specific allegations relating to this process, I can inquire more generally into how the GCSB determines, within its statutory constraints, what intelligence activity to undertake and what policies and procedures are in place to regulate its activities.”

Which is good, because in this case, it looks like a state agency with highly intrusive powers was suborned for personal gain.

Meanwhile, that's two major IGIS investigations as a result of the Snowden revelations, and there are probably more to come. But it also makes you wonder what the hell the current Inspector-General's predecessor was doing during their time in the job, since they clearly weren't conducting an ongoing review and unscheduled audits of the GCSB's actions to ensure they were lawful and appropriate (as required by their governing legislation). In fact, you'd almost get the impression that previous IGIS's saw their role simply as a rubber-stamp and a sop to public opinion, not actually as a watchdog...