The new acting director of the GCSB, Lisa Fong, will be the person in the spotlight when the Intelligence Review reports back. The Review is due to be tabled on Monday 29th February and according to OASIS (Organising Against State Intelligence and Surveillance), the Review will be nothing but a rubberstamp for ever more powers for the GCSB and the SIS. It will also strengthen NZ’s role in the Five-Eyes and the global network of surveillance.
“The review is most likely to usher in law changes making legal a lot of the unlawful activities that became public whilst Lisa Fong was the legal advisor,” said Anna Thorby for OASIS.
“Lisa Fong, according to the GCSB web-site,” said Ms Thorby, “has been an employee of the GCSB since 2012. She was there when the GCSB was spying illegally on 88 New Zealanders. She may even have been giving advice then to Hugh Wolfensohn.”
Mr Wolfensohn was the Deputy Director of Mission Enablement (DDME) and part-time main legal advisor who resigned in March 2013 just weeks before the Kitteridge report became public. The Kitteridge report revealed that the GCSB had illegally spied on New Zealanders and heavily criticised the GCSB’s understanding of the law.
“Maybe Lisa Fong should have gone with Hugh Wolfensohn,” said Ms Thorby. “But then again, the GCSB may have recorded the wrong start date for Lisa. It could just be another example of the GCSB getting their facts wrong.”
The government press release announcing Lisa Fong’s appointment as acting director states that she started work at the GCSB in April 2013.
“Regardless though of when she started working for the GCSB, Lisa Fong would have been working there as the legal advisor during operation ‘WTO Project’,” said Ms Thorby. “She was there when the GCSB was spying on Tim Groser’s rivals for the position of director-general of the WTO.
“She has also been working there whilst the GCSB has been spying on Pacific countries and everyone residing, passing through or holidaying in that area.
“It’s worth also noting that Lisa Fong was the legal advisor when it was reported in the 2014 State Services Commission that the intelligence community had to ensure they comply with the law.
“Lisa Fong clearly has had issues knowing the difference between legal and illegal. Yet when the Intelligence Review is finally released, Lisa Fong, as GCSB Acting Director, will probably be in charge of putting in action all the law changes to make legal a lot of the unlawful activities done whilst she the legal advisor,” said Ms Thorby.
It is known that one of the key agendas of the Intelligence Review is to make law changes. In a top-secret, but now declassified, briefing given in late 2014 to John Key and Chris Finlayson it clearly states that the “review should provide a sound basis on which to develop new legislation.
“The Intelligence Review will be tabled soon,” said Ms Thorby, “and we know that it will change nothing. It will only bring ever more invasive and repressive surveillance. The GCSB and SIS will continue to do what they do regardless. People like Lisa Fong will continue to bend rules.
“We do not need more law changes,” said Ms Thorby. “We need to disband both the GCSB and the SIS and get out of the Five-Eyes now.”