Dotcom spy debacle timeline | The Jackal

28 Sep 2012

Dotcom spy debacle timeline

In early 2011 New Zealand Police were contacted by the FBI with a request to assist them with the investigation regarding the Mega Media Group founded by Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom.

On January 19 2012, Detective inspector Grant Wormald signed a police planning document that states Kim Dotcom has New Zealand residency.

Kim Dotcom was granted residency on November 23, 2010 and co-accused Van der Kolk holds a permanent NZ resident's visa granted in early 2011. In the same year, Kim Dotcom spent approximately $500,000 for a fireworks display in Auckland harbour to celebrate him gaining New Zealand residency.

A Special Tactics Group Request for Assistance form was made by Wormald on 19 January 2012.

On the same day, Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess authorized the deployment of the STG and a special planning meeting was then held at Police National Headquarters, 180 Molesworth Street Wellington, which an undisclosed number of Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) operatives attended.

Presumably they would have been given a copy of the police planning document that clearly states Dotcom was a New Zealand resident at the time of the meeting.

Wormald then gave evidence in a court of law stating that apart from the police, to his knowledge there was no other agencies involved in the surveillance of Mr Dotcom.

According to John Key, the GCSB spying on Dotcom and co-accused began on 16 December 2011 and continued until the day of the raid on January 20, 2012.

On 15 August, Dotcoms' legal representative Paul Davison QC wrote to request:

Disclosure of all information (if any) provided by the GCSB to the New Zealand Police (including OFCANZ) relating to any information or data intercepted or obtained by GCSB relating to Mr Dotcom, Megaupload and any associated parties.

On 16 August, Bill English then wrote to Inspector Grant Wormald, The Commissioner of Police, Peter Marshall, and the Director of the GCSB to object to the disclosure of any information being released. When questioned by media on 25 September, English was initially unsure whether he had signed the order but later told reporters he hadn't.

It was also reported that Police Commissioner Peter Marshall signed an indemnity order which accepts potential liability if Kim Dotcom lays a claim for damages.

Also on 25 September, John Key stated that he learnt about the illegal spying on 17 September 2012 from the Director of the GCSB, Ian Fletcher. On the same day Key wrote to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Paul Neazor, to request an urgent report into the unlawful GCSB activity he told the media was a simple "mistake".

Key has stated that he previously knew nothing of the GCSB's involvement and despite 15 meetings with the Director so far this year, he was told nothing about the GCSB's investigation.

The GCSB supposedly informed the Prime Minister an entire month after the Prime Minister's deputy, Bill English tried to suppress details of the debacle being released to Dotcom's legal representatives. Key tries to put this down to a miscommunication between himself and Bill English, saying:

He was of the view that the Government Communications Security Bureau would probably inform me of that matter.

The next day John Key said:

The Government Communications Security Bureau recognised the error a few days before it told me—I think it was about 5 to 7 days before it told me.

If true, the time before the GCSB started their illegal surveillance and them realising they had acted unlawfully was nine months. Interestingly it appears that the GCSD apparently realised they had acted illegally at the same time the information was about to be released publicly.

Key also states in the house of representatives that he had received no advice on Kim Dotcom from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the SIS, or the National Assessments Bureau in the last twelve months, despite the high profile nature of the case.

Last night, John Key stated on Close Up that if the GCSB were not involved, somebody could have been killed in the raid on Dotcom's mansion. This is despite the police planning document classifying the operation as low risk.

On the same day Paul Neazor releases his report, which states:

In my view the only issue of illegality arises in this matter from confusion in this instance between the case of a person transferring funds and the general category of residents.

The opposition are rightfully unsatisfied, and the Green's have today made an official complaint to Police commissioner Peter Marshall concerning the illegal GCSB activity.

3 News reports:

"The Neazor Report clearly concludes that the GCSB had no authority under the GCSB Act to intercept the communications of Mr Dotcom and Bram van der Kolk," says Dr Norman.

"Both the Neazor Report and the Prime Minister’s public statements have repeatedly labelled the GCSB’s actions illegal.

It would be good to see the GCSB, the Prime Minister and his deputy held to account for what is at least gross incompetence, if not a conspiracy to breach the law.