Ian Fletcher must resign | The Jackal

9 Apr 2013

Ian Fletcher must resign

On the back of revelations that the appointment of Ian Fletcher by his mate John Key to the Government Communications Security Bureau was anything but above board comes information that makes his remaining in that position untenable!

Today, The Dominion Post reported:

The Government's beleaguered intelligence agency may have unlawfully spied on 85 people, a top-secret review reveals.

The report, ordered after the Kim Dotcom fiasco, contains extensive criticism of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).

The revelations are contained in the report prepared by Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Kitteridge, and seen by The Dominion Post.

It was handed to Prime Minister John Key last month but has yet to be made public.

It's not a good look that John Key has sat on this report for a month and in my opinion he should have been up front about the additional illegal spying.

The revelations confirm that the illegal spying was far broader than the Dotcom case - involving up to 85 people and cases dating back nearly a decade.

The GCSB is clearly a rogue organisation that needs reigning in... But unfortunately John Key has shown no inclination to do so.

The report's criticism will heap more pressure on Mr Key, who as prime minister oversees the bureau.

GCSB director Ian Fletcher said in February that his agency did not illegally spy on anyone else on behalf of law enforcement agencies. But the Kitteridge report contradicts this - questioning the lawfulness of GCSB surveillance involving 85 New Zealanders.

Unless Ian FLetcher was unaware of the further illegal spying, which is unlikely, he's most assuredly lied! But it's a lot worse than that, because Fletcher has actively tried to hoodwink the public, with the NZ Herald reporting in February:

GCSB Director Ian Fletcher referred three other cases "where there were potential issues" to Inspector General of Intelligence and Security Paul Neazor.

"The Inspector General has reviewed all cases put before him and has concluded that we were not in breach of our legislation," Mr Fletcher said in a statement this afternoon.

"It has been a very thorough process in which we provided an audit, responded to queries from the Inspector General and made available classified material in a secure environment."

It appears that Fletcher has referred three cases to the Inspector General knowing that there was no problem with them, while not referring the 85 other additional cases of illegal spying that he must have been aware of.

That impropriety should ensure he's forced to resign or is dismissed... But considering Fletcher was personally chosen by his mate John Key to head the GCSB, that's unlikely to occur.

Clearly the delay in disclosing the Cabinet Secretary's report was to give National enough time to come up with a game plan, and we can expect a concerted effort from right wing propagandists to try and deflect any flack away from Key.

As the Minister who's meant to oversee the GCSB, John Key is ultimately responsible as well. Let's hope there's at least a little bit of accountability this time round, but given the Prime Minister and this governments track record, I'm not counting on it.