Rodney Hide is back to his usual blunt self in a very good column about the GCSB and the politicisation of the agency by David Shearer, Russel Norman and Peter Dunne.
Such a lot of nonsense has been spouted about the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) that it’s difficult to know where to start.
Let’s begin with the ridiculous. Peter Dunne has been publicly worrying that state agents are spying on him. Believe me, they aren’t. Dunne isn’t very interesting – especially not to our spies.
“Copy that, Foxtrot. Mr Boring arrived Churton Park Community Centre.” Our intelligence agencies have far more significant and pressing work than that.
We then have the notion that the GCSB has been spying willy-nilly on Kiwis. They haven’t been. The Kitteridge report found that over a 10-year period, the GCSB had assisted the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) in instances involving potentially 85 Kiwis, and over six years had helped the police in instances potentially involving three Kiwis.
That’s the GCSB doing its job – it is required by law to assist and advise the police and the SIS. The GCSB was doing exactly what Parliament had instructed it to do.
Peter Dunne used to be called Mr Sensible…a stupid term for a deeply stupid man.
I sat for six years on the Intelligence and Security Committee. The SIS and GCSB took the committee seriously. They answered every pertinent question in full and in detail. They would come to my office on request and whenever a briefing was appropriate.
In that room, behind the door, I learned of real and present threats that made my blood run cold. I know the work the GCSB did countering them.
David Shearer and Russel Norman now sit on that Committee. Peter Dunne used to.
In that role they have broken the cross-party consensus and the check-and-balance that the committee enables.
Winston Peters to his credit knows what is at stake here. He too is aghast at the actions of Dunne, Norman and Shearer.
Peter Dunne at the very least discussed leaking a sensitive report. He now can’t be trusted.
Russel Norman has wrongly declared the GCSB a “rogue agency” and David Shearer has falsely accused the GCSB of illegally seizing and destroying a phantom video of the Prime Minister making a quip.
For the GCSB to do its job, our allies must be assured that it’s secure. That security must extend to the Parliamentary leaders overseeing its operation. That’s what Shearer and Norman have compromised.
Both men are in the unique position of having every concern they may have about the GCSB properly addressed through the Intelligence and Security Committee.
Instead, they have chosen to drag the GCSB into their political attacks. They have risked our national security to score political points.
Peter Dunne cannot be trusted. He should shut up and go away. He has other secrets that he will wish don’t come out. He should follow Bob Parker’s lead and go quietly…or he will go loudly at a time not of his choosing.
Shearer is dangerous, he more than any other MP should know the value of intelligence and security, his life once depended upon it. Russel Norman is just a communist loon, he thought nothing of demanding the Police grab and screen emails, but strangely wants more control over spy agencies…hmmm…I wonder why?