GUEST BLOG: Denis Tegg – Which of John Key’s many statements on the GCSB will Glenn Greenwald challenge and refute?


We already have Glenn Greenwald’s assertion on The Nation that John Key has misled New Zealanders as to whether the GCSB has engaged in mass surveillance of Kiwis.

But Key has made many other statements about the GCSB’s powers and activities. So which of these other public statements made by Key will Glenn Greenwald challenge and refute ?

1   Sharing of information
December 3, 2013 John Key: “we share information in isolated cases about New Zealanders with our partners, and we do that when the is a really good reason to do that.”

Isolated cases?  Oh really?

2 Using others to collect information to circumvent New Zealand law
December 3, 2013 
John Key: “the GCSB did not get other countries to collect information on New Zealanders to circumvent New Zealand law”

So GCSB does not access NSA data on New Zealanders?  OK


3 Does the NSA collect wholesale information on New Zealanders
Dec 3 2013:  “I don’t have the answer to that – I don’t know”.  John Key’s response to the question as to whether the NSA collected wholesale information on New Zealanders for their own purposes.
I think we know the answer to this one John. And so do you.

4 Does the NSA tap into New Zealand’s Southern Cross Cable which carries approximately 95% of New Zealand’s Internet traffic?  
John Key may not have been specifically asked this question.  But a NZ Telecom lawyer said it was wholly unaware of recently disclosed US surveillance programmes”. 


Hopefully Greenwald will be able to provide the definitive answer.

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5 Is there a NSA SSO (Special Source Operation) site in New Zealand?
A NSA technician visited NZ in 2013 to assist the GCSB with plans to install one. The GCSB refused to say whether it went ahead with plans to install an SSO site in New Zealand, but a spokesperson for John Key said “there was no (SSO) cable tapping operations in New Zealand and there were no plans to introduce one”

So is there an SSO site in New Zealand? If so is that a cable tapping operation? If not is there some other type of NSA SSO site or operation of the kind which operates in the USA and UK, such as:-

  • hacking into ISP’s large industrial scale Routers
  • Corporate Partnerships with NZ companies,  (such as NSA had with Google Facebook Yahoo! etc)


6 Does GCSB share data on New Zealanders through ICREACH (the NSA’s own Google)?
John Key – “any metadata that is used would be used appropriately and within the law”

7  Has a loophole been deliberately placed in the GCSB Act to allow lawful warrant-less spying on New Zealanders?

And does this make a mockery of Key’s comforting assurances that the GCSB always acts within the law?

8 Does the NSA fund GCSB’s operations?

Mr Key refused to say whether the NSA helped fund the GCSB. But does the NSA in fact fund the GCSB through a Five Eyes program called Windstop, which carries out cable tapping operations, or through some other mechanism?
The refusal to say speaks volumes.

9   Is raw data on New Zealanders collected by the GCSB or the NSA and shared with Israeli Intelligence Services?

Is Israel effectively part of Six Eyes? When did the NZ Parliament agree to share raw data on its citizens with Mossad?

John Key’s fitness to be PM is on the line over more than the issue of mass surveillance.  Hopefully Glenn Greenwald will provide the proof on many of these other critical issues and the media will have the mettle to hold Key to account.

Denis Tegg is a Thames lawyer with an interest in state surveillance and the erosion of civil liberties


  1. I’m certainly no computer-guru, but here’s my tuppence-worth anyway:

    I really believe that the issue of “tapping into the undersea cable” is a convenient red herring that has been raised by Nat-supporters. That is, its a diversionary tactic.

    Essentially if you have a computer that is connected to the internet then basically it is already connected IN PRINCIPLE to every other computer on the internet.

    We know this because:

    1.It is possible to send an email to any other connected user if you know their address, and

    2. Expert hackers can break through the various firewalls that have been put in place to gain access (illegally) to other computers WITHOUT the need for a “physical tap”.

    I don’t imagine for one moment that every time a major site-hacking event takes place that it was done by physically tapping into any cable or any other piece of hardware.

    Call me naive, but it appears that”break-ins” can be done by even relatively amateurish hackers ELECTRONICALLY (as opposed to being done via a physical tap).

    So, given the vast resources that lie behind an organisation such as the NSA, who on earth really needs a “physical tap” to break into secure information? Certainly not the NSA!

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