Monday, January 30, 2023

More bad faith from the spies

In November last year, the SIS agreed to pay journalist Nicky Hager $66,000 for illegally spying on him. As part of the settlement, they agreed to publish an agreed statement about the settlement on their website. But two weeks later, it was gone. The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties used FYI, the public OIA request site, in an effort to find out why. The reason? The SIS's general counsel - who had presumably defended the SIS's indefensible actions and negotiated the settlement when it was clear that they would lose - asked for it to be removed "as that story has passed".

This is not the action of an agency which accepts and owns its mistakes and wants to do better. Instead, it is the action of an agency which refuses to accept it has done anything wrong, and seeks to bury the evidence of its misbehaviour. Its a sign that the SIS has no intention of changing its practices. That they are perpetual recidivists who cannot ever be reformed. Which means that if we want our democracy to be safe from them, we have to destroy them: defund them, disband them, reduce them to a rump protective security / security clearance agency.

Meanwhile, I guess the lesson for the future is that you should always take the SIS to trial. Because any "settlement" from them will simply be an exercise in bad faith.