Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The GCSB coverup

Last night 3News revealed that Police and Spies had engaged in a systematic cover-up of their illegal spying on Kim Dotcom. The details are in 500 pages of court documents obtained by 3News and Grant Robertson. The first batch of these have gone online today and they are utterly damning.

First, there's what GCSB was saying to police when they learned their spying had been illegal. On being sent a grovelling apology by OFCANZ, an un-named person at GCSB said:

[Name redacted is] providing a summary document to our legal advisor about the TF DEBUT case and the compliance issues encountered. This document will likely then be stored on file (in case it is needed for future reference), but we do not expect it will lead to any further action or questions asked. None of us are of the opinion that there needs to be any follow on discussions - certainly at a Deputy Director level.

later that week, someone from the GCSB clarifies;
[name redacted] wrote up a brief document, to catalogue the nationality issues encountered and submitted it to [name redacted]. [He?] was pretty relaxed, and has stored this away in case we need to give an account to the IG. Absolutely no further action required.

They conclude by saying that "People here have been pretty relaxed about it all".

So, just to make that clear: GCSB learns they have been violating their Act by illegally intercepting the communications of a New Zealand resident, and they decide that no-one needs to know about it, nothing needs to be done, and that they can be relaxed about it. Which is what happens in organisations where everything is secret and there is no oversight or accountability.

And in case anyone was wondering, yes, it was a serious breach. The GCSB's affadavit makes it clear that they weren't just tracking Dotcom, but were also interception his communications (in order to determine "atmospherics" within the group). And that isn't just unlawful - its a crime.

Its not enough for GCSB staff to lose their jobs - someone needs to be prosecuted and ideally go to jail for this. Otherwise, the law means nothing.