Saturday, May 11, 2013

New Zealand intelligence agencies fuck it up yet again.

Stuff reports

US scholar embroiled in NZ security row

                                                                                                 Craig Lebamoff

An American expert who came to New Zealand to write a report on border security claims he was subject to heavy-handed tactics by intelligence agencies that seemed determined to shut him down.
Craig Lebamoff has worked on border security around the world, including Afghanistan and Iraq.
He was working for the high-powered Department of Homeland Security when he won the prestigious Sir Ian Axford Fulbright Fellowship in public policy, and elected to have a stint as an "embedded attorney" with New Zealand's security, intelligence and police agencies. His aim was to write a thesis on border security.
OK one at this point might question his judgement. Let's face it we are at the end of the Earth and our biggest security threat are the Australians.

It gets better if that is possible.

But the New Zealand sabbatical quickly turned sour after seven months and his thesis was never published after the New Zealand Government refused to clear its release.
In an extraordinary series of allegations, he says he was threatened with an investigation by the Security Intelligence Service, locked out of his office at NZ Customs, had his computer hard drive and research materials seized while colleagues reported his rubbish bins being searched - he believes by the SIS.
Lebamoff was at one stage so concerned by the reaction of New Zealand authorities to his border security report he says he feared being stopped as he tried to leave the country.
In an even more bizarre twist, he says he was warned off by the director of New Zealand's Intelligence Co-ordination Group, Roy Ferguson, who is based in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).
Adding weight to Lebamoff's claims, Ferguson does not dispute the meeting and acknowledges he became involved as a matter of national security. He also confirms that a representative of the US Embassy was at the meeting. The embassy has refused comment.

This should actually not surprise anyone in New Zealand or in fact the broader international intelligence fraternity, the simple fact is when the Prime Minister of New Zealand intervenes in the appointment process to ensure that an old mate of his is appointed to the directorship of the GCSB who incidently, initially couldn't be arsed applying  you can expect that the NZ security services are some what less than the international norm of second rate. However this story gets even better.

It all adds up to what seems like an extraordinary over-reaction to a report that largely concluded the major threat to New Zealand's borders was not terrorism but a biosecurity breach.

Which I think justifies a fairly loud " For Fucks Sake " Danyl at the Dim Post actually puts the whole thing into perspective with this observation.

The government is cutting funding for biosecurity while expanding the funding and powers of our intelligence agencies, so it’s not too surprising someone saw red over such a finding.

New Zealand is a very remote, very small country, but we have a sizable intelligence apparatus with extraordinary powers and virtually no oversight. We keep getting told that these agencies are engaged in incredibly important work protecting us from terrorists and other evil-doers, and that the critical nature of this work justifies the utter secrecy.

But every time – EVERY TIME – we get a glimpse into what our spies actually do, it’s nothing to do with keeping us safe or fighting terrorism, or anything that even justifies the cost of their existence. If there is a case to be made that biosecurity breaches are a grave risk to New Zealand and the SIS – or whoever – suppress that finding then they’re actually endangering the state.

New Zealand is fast becoming a major joke mind you that is what happens when you put clowns in charge of a country. 

Hat Tip Dim Post


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