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Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald

Henchmen

Henchmen

He’s Dotcom’s little henchman: PM attacks journalist’s spy claims

Prime Minister John Key says he will prove Glenn Greenwald’s claims by the GCSB was involved in mass surveillance on New Zealanders are wrong, dismissing the prominent US journalist as “Dotcom’s little henchman“.

Mr Key was responding to Greenwald’s comments on The Nation this morning that on Monday he would reveal information showing the GCSB had misled New Zealanders by claiming it had not conducted mass surveillance.

Greenwald, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, said that New Zealand’s spying agencies had been conducting mass surveillance on New Zealanders as part of the Five Eyes arrangement between the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Mr Key said that was wrong. “There is no mass surveillance of New Zealanders by the GCSB and there never has been. Mr Dotcom’s little henchman will be proven to be incorrect because he is incorrect.”

He believed Greenwald was jumping to conclusions based on partial information. Greenwald has worked with Edward Snowden over material Mr Snowden obtained relating to the activities of spy agencies worldwide.

 

“There are a variety of reasons why, in the international environment we collect information. But when it comes to New Zealanders, there is no mass surveillance, there never has been mass surveillance. Dotcom’s little henchman is wrong and unfortunately, he might have hacked some information but not all of it.”

 

Greenwald will be speaking at Kim Dotcom’s highly anticipated announcement, billed as the “Moment of Truth”, on Monday.

Mr Key said he would respond to Greenwald’s revelations on Monday “in the fullness of time.” “But mark my words, I’m right and he’s wrong and I’ll prove I’m right.”

Greenwald responded to Mr Key’s attack, tweeting: “Does the Prime Minister think that bizarre ad honimen attacks against me will make the facts – and the documents – disappear?”

He also rejected suggestions that he was on Mr Dotcom’s payroll, saying Mr Dotcom had offered to pay his standard speaking fee but that he had said he should give it to charity.He added that only his travel expenses had been paid, and that he had already disclosed this.

Last year Mr Key said he would have to resign if the GCSB was shown to have conducted mass surveillance because it would have been illegal. That related to the new GCSB Bill which defined the circumstances in which the spy agency could spy on New Zealanders on behalf of the SIS or Police.

Mr Key said he still stood by that. He had been reassured by the GCSB they had not conducted mass surveillance.

He said the GCSB provided support to agencies such as the SIS and Police when required, but that was very targeted.

“It’s primary aim is to gather foreign intelligence. It’s done that over successive governments.”
He also tried to attack Greenwald’s credibility for working with Mr Dotcom, saying Mr Dotcom was trying to “gerrymander the election.”

“Let’s understand what’s going on here. Kim Dotcom is paying Glenn Greenwald to come to New Zealand a week before an election and he’s trying to influence New Zealanders. Problem is, he’s got his story wrong.”

Under the law, the GCSB can not spy on New Zealanders unless it is on behalf of an agency such as the SIS or Police and it has a warrant to do so.

Mr Key said such cases included suspected terrorists and other issues relating to security.


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