Stuff put up a nothing piece about a US Spy visiting New Zealand and insisting John Key reveal who he is.
Straight away that’s a nothing article. Who in their right mind expects a sitting Prime Minister, who is in charge of New Zealand’s own spy agency, the GCSB, to name a visiting intelligence professional?
By demanding an answer of Key, who had to politely decline in a number of ways, they asked enough questions for Stuff to fashion some sort of atmosphere of denial, suggesting all these goings on are super secret and there is something the public needs to know.
Key, in his usual way, takes the air out of the tyres:
“I don’t track every [US security] official that comes to New Zealand. People come all the time. Some come on planes, some don’t … I don’t bother going to ask who’s on those particular planes.”
He agreed it must have been a senior figure in US President Barack Obama’s administration.
“There’d be lots of senior and important people that come to New Zealand.
“If someone parks a US plane at Wellington airport, in my opinion, that doesn’t count as a secret.
“If someone was secretly trying to get into New Zealand you presumably won’t park a marked plane at Wellington airport.”
The article speculates about the possible reasons and sources of the visit, but apart from Key’s denial, they have nothing to go on.
That’s where the non-news article should have ended – if published at all.
But no, Fairfax/Stuff takes out the longbow and leaves readers with these final two sentences
[Overseas security officials meet] regularly across the globe. They are believed to have met in New Zealand in September.
Within days Key ordered an investigation into illegal spying by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) on internet piracy accused Kim Dotcom.
I’m sure Key was also seen in a set of toilets the same day and people, who are yet to be identified, were in the stalls next to him. Some observers “are believed” when it is thought words may have been exchanged.
Within days, the GCSB tape that was believed to exist by a senior government official believed to have strong links with the Labour Party, is believed to have been destroyed, because it has not been located since.
It’s interesting to note the Stuff hit piece is published as a “Fairfax” article, and no journalist has dared to put their name on it. The headline for this hit piece? “Key refuses to identify visiting US spy”.
Oh, and they managed to mention Dotcon.
Do journalist get paid under the table by Dotcon for every mention of his name? It is believed they do.