A Conspiracy to Protect John Key | The Jackal

20 Sep 2011

A Conspiracy to Protect John Key

I was interested to see a video of a press conference today on Gordon Campbell's excellent blog, where John Key is questioned about Warren Tucker releasing declassified documents to right wing blogger Cameron Slater.

It reminded me that I'd tried to get to the bottom of the debacle concerning whether Phil Goff had been properly briefed about possible Mossad agents in New Zealand. At first I wrote to the Ombudsman and made a formal complaint under the OIA:
Private and Confidential

Dear Ombudsman,

I write to lay a formal complaint against Warren Tucker for a breach of the Official Information Act 1982.

1. That a request was made by Cameron Slater and granted for information that was not personally relevant to him.

2. That the request was made for secret information held by the NZSIS that was specifically declassified by Warren Tucker so that it could be released under the OIA.

3. That the information was used for a purpose not in connection with which the information was obtained.

4. That the information has been used by Cameron Slater in a vexatious manner and that Warren Tucker knew of the intent of Cameron Slater to use that information in a vexatious manner before releasing it to Cameron Slater.

5. That the release of information was undertaken in a prejudiced manner.

6. That previous requests for the same information were made by other interested parties but only declassified for Cameron Slater's request.

7. That the release of information breaches laws concerning confidentiality between Warren Tucker and the leader of the opposition party.

8. That Warren Tucker supplied information not defined in Cameron Slater's OIA request.

9. That Warren Tucker broke normal NZSIS protocols to facilitate the release of information that would not normally be given.

10. That the information was released for the purpose of discrediting Phil Goff.

11. That the information was released because of a personal interest Warren Tucker (and John Key) had in seeing the information made public.

12. That the manner in which the documents were redacted was undertaken to fabricate an incorrect meaning when the documents were published by Cameron Slater.

13. That Warren Tucker ignored the grounds on which documents can be refused to be released under the OIA.

14. That Warren Tucker has abused his position.

I would appreciate acknowledgment that you have received this email. I look forward to your reply.
Unbelievably, my request in bold that my formal complaint be kept private and confidential was ignored by the Ombudsman's Office:

Thank you for your email of 6 August 2011.

You have raised concerns about the NZSIS treatment of requests for information concerning briefings the Director had given to the Leader of the Opposition. These are not matters which fall within the jurisdiction of the Ombudsmen under the Official Information Act 1982 and because the Ombudsmen do not have jurisdiction over the NZSIS under the Ombudsmen Act 1972, I have referred your complaint to the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.

Leo Donnelly

Deputy Ombudsman
 On 29 August 2011 07:59, Carole Cole Carole.Cole@justice.govt.nz wrote:
Dear Sir

The Ombudsman's Office has referred your message of 6 august to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

The Inspector-General's jurisdiction in respect of complaints is limited to any activity of an intelligence or security agency has or may have adversely affected a New Zealand person who complains or the law of New Zealand may have been contravened.

Please advise whether you have been personally adversely affected in this matter if so how, and whether there is any question of law arising not mentioned in your message to the Ombudsman.

Yours faithfully

Carole Cole 

Personal Assistant to the Inspector-General
Looks like they'll use the exact same rule that should have been applied to the release of previously secret information to Cameron Slater... that the information is not directly relevant to the individual making the request/complaint. It's a rule outlined in the Official Information Act that should have been adhered to by Warren Tucker.
Dear Carole Cole,

As outlined in the initial complaint to the Ombudsman, I believe there has been a breach of the Official Information Act 1982.

The complaint relates to politics. A breach of law that disadvantages one politician over another effects all New Zealander's. I believe as a New Zealand citizen that the law of New Zealand has been contravened.

The question of any further law arising will be determined when I have received a response from my initial complaint.

I specifically requested information in my previous email: Would you be so good as to highlight what section of the Ombudsman Act 1972 states that the NZSIS is not under the Ombudsman's jurisdiction in cases where there is a possible breach of the OIA?

I would appreciate an answer to that question.
On 29 August 2011 12:25, D P Neazor the Inspector-General wrote:
Dear Sir,

I have read your response to Ms Cole. 

Official Information matters are for the Ombudsmen to deal with, not me. If you want an explanation about them you will have to ask the Ombudsman's Office.

So far as my complaints jurisdiction is concerned, the Act under which I operate in my view is clear: I enquire into any complaint by a New Zealand person that that person may have been adversely affected by any act, omission, practice, policy, or procedure of an intelligence and security agency. 

In my view your response does not indicate that you come within the category of people whose complaints are to be investigated, so I will not proceed further with it as a complaint. 

The alternative would be for me to enquire of my own motion into a matter involving compliance with the law by an intelligence and security agency. I do not see it as my function to become involved in politics, which you say this is. Nor do I see any breach of the law of a kind I need to investigate. Accordingly, I will not respond further to your document. 

Yours faithfully

 D P Neazor
Well I thought that was rather rude... particularly because it was Warren Tucker who politicized a release of secret information in the first place. For an excuse that an investigation into a possible breach of the OIA doesn't need to happen because there is a political connotation to the complaint seems rather obtuse! So on the 29 August I again wrote to Carole Cole at Justice:
Dear Carole Cole,

D P Neazor informs me that my formal complaint concerning the possible breach of the OIA is not the jurisdiction of the Inspector-General of Intelligence & Security. If this is the case, why was my privacy breached and the complaint forwarded to them?

The Office of the Ombudsman has informed me that they have no jurisdiction over the NZSIS under the OIA. Could you please clarify who's jurisdiction my formal complaint falls under? I do not think it is acceptable that an organization that is funded by the tax payer is unaccountable and should not adhere to law outlined in the OIA.

Could you also provide information confirming jurisdictional requirements of the Inspector-General of Intelligence & Security and the Ombudsman? Please be specific and provide exact excerpts from relevant Crown Acts?

Please respond to the other questions that have not been answered within my previous emails?

In response to D P Neazor's email:

I said the complaint relates to politics. I also stated that the breach could effect all New Zealander's. It is not the political aspect but the breach of New Zealand's law that should be investigated. I believe there has been a clear breach of the Official Information Act as outlined in my initial complaint. I therefore do not think the dismissal of my complaint is justified.

It would be democratic for the Inspector-General of Intelligence & Security and/or the Ombudsman to reconsider investigating my formal complaint concerning a possible breach of the OIA by an employee of the NZSIS.
That's about where things are at with that one. The Ombudsman says that none of the fourteen items listed in the initial complaint fall under their jurisdiction and the Inspector-General of Intelligence & Security says that he wont investigate because of politics.

They effectively cover Warren Tucker and John Key's arses, and we may never know who is actually telling the truth. Although this obvious picking and choosing what laws to abide by points in only one direction if you ask me.

Anyway here's the video that reminded me of our faltering democratic process. Check out how angry Key gets when questioned about his role in the nasty affair: