Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Little's whitewash

One of the obvious questions which immediately arose after Friday's act of terrorism was why our extremely well-budgeted spy agencies didn't stop it from happening. The fact that it happened, and 50 people were killed, represents a huge failure on the part of the SIS, and one the public deserves answers about. Yesterday, in her post-cabinet press conference, the Prime Minister suggested that we would get those answers, promising an inquiry into the question. But her Intelligence Minister Andrew Little has just pre-judged the outcome:

The Minister in charge of New Zealand's intelligence agencies, Andrew Little, says an inquiry into the events surrounding the Christchurch terror attack will show those agencies did their jobs.


Speaking to Q&A on Monday night, Little welcomed the news of the inquiry and said it would show the intelligence agencies did their jobs.

"… these agencies have done the correct things and done nothing other than fulfil their mandate in terms of security and intelligence."

He rejected any comments there was too much attention given to surveying potential Islamic extremism over other kinds of extremism.

So I guess we'll be getting a whitewash then, an exercise in arse-covering designed to protect the reputation of the spies, while doing nothing to address the question of who they target. Just like the Operation Burnham inquiry. Except of course they'll probably try and grab even more intrusive powers along the way.

We spend $80 million a year on the SIS, an amount which has nearly quadrupled in the last 15 years. What do we get for it? 50 dead bodies. They need to be held accountable for that, and we need to know where they went wrong, so we can be sure it will never happen again.