Tracy Watkins on her high horse

…Key is utterly convinced that he knows what Greenwald has and is busily rubbishing him as “Dotcom’s little henchman” brought to New Zealand to influence the election and “bamboozle” ordinary Kiwis.

Some of Key’s ministers have gone even further, accusing Greenwald of half baked conspiracy theories and being part of a left wing plot.

That is stronger rhetoric than most other foreign leaders have adopted over the explosive revelations from Greenwald and former defence contractor Edward Snowden.

But what Key has so far failed to adequately address is his Government’s failure to front up a year ago to the fact that the GCSB was considering tools that would enable it to expand its surveillance activities at the very time the country was embroiled in a debate about the extent of its powers.

I can’t understand how precious the media are about this. ?The whole point of national and international security is that it takes place with the least amount of disclosure possible. ? What sort of brain damaged PM would come out and lay out all the tools, the plans and exactly how they go about it? ?

But what seems clear from Key’s comments is that at the very time the GCSB was embroiled in allegations it had spied illegally on Kiwis for years, it viewed the law change clarifying its powers as an opportunity to enhance those powers, rather than curb them.

We seem to have conveniently overlooked, again, that 1) it was only “illegal” due to the fact the Helen Clark Labour Government hadn’t got the law right, and the GCSB was operating with the wrong understanding, and 2) the law change was to fix this.

Instead media go on about “GCSB spying illegally for years” (on 80 odd people, under a legally obtained warrant). ?Tracy Watkins and her ilk are doing nothing but stirring the pot and helping the likes of Dotcom, Greens and Labour with the appearance of legitimacy over this argument.

It’s been left to Greenwald to shed more light on that discussion than anything the prime minister or any of his ministers bothered to provide to New Zealanders at the time.

That being the case, the timing of Greenwald’s trip down under five days out from an election may be cynical – but it can hardly be argued that it is not also in the public interest.

Likely to be drowned out by the row over mass surveillance, meanwhile, are Greenwald’s other likely revelations about the extent to which New Zealand has been spying on its neighbours, both friendly and hostile.

Politically, the fallout from those revelations is unlikely to harm National’s election chances. The last Labour government is likely to be just as complicit as National in such activities.

Yeah, leave it to the last sentence to kind of hint at the fact that this “problem” existed well before the National government?inherited it. ?But hey? anything to give a convicted criminal backed by an accused rapist and a journalistic has-been a head start on a democratically elected prime minister.


– Stuff