memory lapse

Phil can't take an ex-Minister

Phil Goff now says that he will take one of his current MPs, ostensibly an ex-Minister to meetings with Warren Tucker. He says they already have clearance. Let’s check this out against facts shall we, since Phil Goff and reality seem to be completely divorced.

Basically Phil Goff, as is usual these days, gets it wrong. He claims he will take a former minister with an appropriate security clearance into briefings with Warren Tucker. There is a slight problem with that premise.

Ministers don’t get security clearances. Ministers aren’t even vetted. Ministerial staff are, but the clearance doesn’t survive the departure from ministerial services, so even though Grant Robertson had two clearances, initially for MFAT and then Ministerial Services, he currently has no clearance

No ministers ever get vetted and Former ministers don’t have clearances once they cease being a minister.

Basically Phil Goff is wanting to include somebody who isn’t even on the Security and Intelligence Committee in secret and top secret briefings from the Director, and is lying about that person having a security clearance.

Even if it was true that some of his current MPs had a previous clearance, it’s the employing agency that grants a clearance, not the SIS. Ministers don’t have an employing agency. It would be preposterous for a Prime Minister to consult or have the SIS pre-vet prospective Ministers before making ministerial appointments.

Worse still for Phil Goff’s silly premise that his MPs still have clearance is that the Security in the Government Sector manual [alternate link] is very precise about security clearances.

Lapses and Transfers of Security Clearances

60. A security clearance lapses after five years or when the holder leaves the organisation that granted it.

61. When an employee with a clearance transfers to another government organisation, the Chief Executive of the new organisation may grant a new clearance at the same or lower level, without further vetting, if:

  • the previous clearance is less than 12 months old, and
  • the employee’s duties, for which access is required, are broadly comparable to those of the position in the previous organisation.

62. When transferring a clearance, the expiry date of the new clearance should be made the same as that of the original clearance from the former organisation.

63. For advice about confirming original clearance expiry dates and other information relevant to security clearance transfers, consult the NZSIS.

As you can see it is impossible for Phil Goff to suggest he takes another of his MPs or even a staff member along with to see Warren Tucker. All Goff has done now is ensure a Mexican Standoff between himself and Warren Tucker.

Phil forgot this one too

Phil Goff really does have a faulty memory. He can’t remember SIS briefings, he can’t remember 6 soldiers before a court martial for drug offenses and now he can’t remember a Colonel who abused duty free privileges who smuggled vast quantities of liquor, all on his watch as Defence minister.

A senior army officer who abused his duty free privileges while serving as a military attache at the United Nations in New York has been reprimanded and fined $1500.

Colonel Selwyn Heaton, who bought 100 bottles of gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, liqueur and wine and more than 200 packets of cigarettes for a friend just three weeks before his posting was due to end in 2006, pleaded guilty at a court martial at Trentham yesterday to two charges of bringing discredit to the army.

He pleaded not guilty to two alternate Crimes Act charges of deception, which could have carried a much stiffer sentence. Those charges were withdrawn.

The charges follow a major inquiry after an anonymous letter to the UN alleged he had sold duty free goods to a friend.

An audit of Heaton’s activities while a military adviser to the UN from 2002 till 2006 found e-mails from a Canadian friend, Rick Schwartz, asking Heaton to order large quantities of liquor. Heaton signed a form saying it was for personal use.

Duty and taxes of $1180 were avoided on two transactions involving more than 100 bottles of liquor and 200 cartons of cigarettes.

A far cry from his claims that “he could recall nothing similar during his tenure as Defence Minister between 2005 and 2008.

We are fast getting a picture of Phil Goff’s powers of recall.