As the sh*t storm over Nickey Hager’s book, Dirty Politics engulfs the National Party; Key’s teflon coating is being scoured away by the nova-like searing heat of public glare; Cameron Slater is shown to have been the weapon-of-choice for the government’s dirty tricks campaigns; Judith Collins is embroiled (again) in claims of mis-using her ministerial position; SIS information was leaked to Slater; etc, we have David Farrar – blogger for the National Party – now making this incredible (and somewhat incredibly stupid) public post on Facebook;
To quote in cut-and-pastable text;
“For reasons I’ll make clear tomorrow, but should not be hard to guess, I need to do a security check of my home and office. I need to check for bugs, implanted software and the like.
Does anyone know of a good but reasonably priced firm that can both check for physical bugs, but also check laptops, computers, phones etc for any electronic nasties?
I’m rather sad and angry that I have to do this, but it seems it is necessary.” – David Farrar, Facebook, 14 August 2014
Farrar hasn’t spelt it out, but I’m guessing that he’s not pointing the finger at the GCSB/SIS/Police/NSA for needing to do a “security check of [his] home and office” and needing “to check for bugs, implanted software and the like”?
I’m also guessing that he’s making a snide reference to alleging that Nicky Hager or an accomplice has bugged his home?
And I’m also guessing that Farrar, the National Party’s blogger-of-second-choice, is hoping that the media will pick up on this – an extremely clumsy attempt at deflection – by running a counter story/smear against Hager.
Pathetic, Mr Farrar, absolutely pathetic. Also throw in desperation mixed with a bit of juvenile dramatics.
Is this your best defense after being found out?
Anyway, Farrar is a fine one to be complaining bitterly about being “bugged” (even if we were to take him even minutely seriously). After all, Farrar supported the GCSB and Related Legislation Amendment Bill which, which finally passed on 21 August 2013, against massive public opposition;
“These are good changes. I had talked on TV about one area of concern being the proposed ability for the Govt to add other agencies onto the list of agencies the GCSB can assist with interceptions. Having Parliament, not the Government, make any changes is desirable.
Despite these significant changes, Labour appears to still be voting with the Greens against the bill. Ironic as it was a Labour Government that caused this problem with their 2003 law change.
Dunne and Banks have shown how you can have a constructive role in improving legislation.” – Kiwiblog, 24 July 2013
“What I think is important is that the GCSB can’t just help the SIS with any old request. That their assistance is limited to cases where the SIS has gained a warrant due to security concerns. Let’s look at the SIS Act for the criteria. That:
the interception or seizure or electronic tracking to be authorised by the proposed warrant is necessary for the detection of activities prejudicial to security
And what does security mean:
- the protection of New Zealand from acts of espionage, sabotage, and subversion, whether or not they are directed from or intended to be committed within New Zealand:
- (b)the identification of foreign capabilities, intentions, or activities within or relating to New Zealand that impact on New Zealand’s international well-being or economic well-being:
- (c)the protection of New Zealand from activities within or relating to New Zealand that—
- (i)are influenced by any foreign organisation or any foreign person; and
- (ii)are clandestine or deceptive, or threaten the safety of any person; and
- (iii)impact adversely on New Zealand’s international well-being or economic well-being:
- (d)the prevention of any terrorist act and of any activity relating to the carrying out or facilitating of any terrorist act
So it is important to recall that the 88 cases cited in the Kitteridge report, all had warrants authorised under the SIS Act because they met one or more of the criteria above. The issue is not that they should not have legally had their communications intercepted – but whether the right agency did the interception.
If you do not amend the law, then there will be no reduction in the number of NZers who have interception warrants issued against them. The only difference is the SIS will do the interception directly, rather than use the GCSB.” –Kiwiblog, 15 April 2013
“Yet Labour and Greens are opposed to the GCSB doing what it did under Helen Clark – assist the dSIS. The problem is the law passed by Clark does not make it clear if the clause saying it will not monitor NZers over-rides the clause saying it can assist other agencies such as the SIS.
She rejected that the Government Security Communications Bureau routinely spied on New Zealanders as that was “not part of their remit”.
And still will not be, despite the hysteria. In fact the bill will provide greater transparency than in the past over what work the GCSB does do.” – Kiwiblog, 4 August, 2013
Plus this bit,
“What is being proposed is that the GCSB can continue to do the actual interception on their behalf as they have the expertise. If the bill fails, it won’t mean a single less domestic interception. It will just mean interception infrastructure will be duplicated and exist in multiple agencies, rather than one.” – Kiwiblog, 25 June 2013
“The Inspector-General has said that basically on balance of probabilities he does not believe their actions have been outside the law – but again, that it is not absolutely clear.
A recent review of compliance at the GCSB by Rebecca Kitteridge found difficulties of interpretation in the GCSB Act. Following the Prime Minister receiving that report, cases involving 88 New Zealanders were referred to the Inspector-General. All were cases where the GCSB had been asked to help another agency.
Mr Fletcher says the Inspector-General found that all of the cases were based on serious issues including potential weapons of mass destruction development, people smuggling, foreign espionage in New Zealand and drug smuggling.
Nothing to worry about then!
- 15 cases involving 22 individuals did not have any information intercepted by GCSB.
- another four cases involving five individuals were the subjects of a New Zealand Security Intelligence Service warrant and the GCSB assisted in the execution of the warrants. The Inspector-General is of the view that there were arguably no breaches and the law is unclear.
- the Bureau only provided technical assistance which did not involve interception of communications, involving three of the individuals, so no breach occurred.
- the remaining cases involved the collection of metadata, and the Inspector-General formed the view that there had arguably been no breach, noting once again that the law is unclear.
It is worth noting that this is over around a 10 – 12 year period, so we are not talking a huge amount of activity.
Mr Fletcher says the Inspector-General is of the view that the interpretation of “communication of a person” is one of the issues where there are uncertainties in the interpretation of the GCSB Act, when it comes to metadata.
An example of metadata is the information on a telephone bill such as the time and duration of a phone call, but not the content of the conversation or identification of the people using the phone.
Now it is not good enough that interceptions happened when there was uncertainty over the law. The operations of the spy agencies must be beyond doubt legally. Hence the major changes being made to GCSB to ensure no repeat. But it is worth putting this into context, especially compared to the current scandals in the US with Associated Press and Fox news journalists having their communications intercepted to try and find out their sources on security issues.” –Kiwiblog, 21 may 2013
So after cheerleading National’s law-change to allow the GCSB to spy on all New Zealanders, Farrar is now bitching that someone *might have* spied on him?!
Not for the first time, I remind certain right-wing politicians and apparatchiks that Karma is an implacable goddess, and not to be trifled with.
But if this is a cunning plan to deflect attention away from this crisis, that Farrar is trying to dangle in front of the media – well, it’s a damn, piss-poor amateurish attempt.
Farrar and his Tory mates need to understand one simple thing; this is a small country. Like Cunliffe and his screwy plan for a Trust fund during his Party leadership campaign, secrets do not stay secrets for long.
If there is one thing that the media loves in this heightened commercial, competitive, ratings/advertisement-driven environment: it’s a sensational headline.
The National Party dirty-tricks team have generated many of those headlines. Now it’s their turn.
The only ‘bug’ that Farrar needs to concerned about is a slater.
Scoop media: Nicky Hager book launched today
Facebook: David Farrar
Kiwiblog: GCSB Changes
Kiwiblog: Labour and GCSB
Kiwiblog: Clark on GCSB
Kiwiblog: What if the GCSB bill doesn’t pass?
Previous related blogposts
The Standard: Cameron Slater dirties John Key (or vice versa?)
The Dim Post: Dirty politics
Public Address: Dirty Politics
The Jackal: National’s death by association
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
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