Dom Post journos get it wrong – again!
Yet again, journalists who are experienced, professional, and supposedly well-informed have made a mistake about the pre-amended GCSB Bill. From the above article written by Tracy Watkins, Stacey Kirk, and Michael Fox stated,
The Government changed the law in the wake of revelations the GCSB may have spied illegally on more than 80 New Zealanders.
The law at that time supposedly prohibited them from doing so.
One. More. Time.
The GCSB Act 2003 was very specific in restricting the Bureau from spying on New Zealand citizens and permanent residents. Section 14 of the Act stated with unambiguous, crystal clarity;
14Interceptions not to target domestic communications
Neither the Director, nor an employee of the Bureau, nor a person acting on behalf of the Bureau may authorise or take any action for the purpose of intercepting the communications of a person (not being a foreign organisation or a foreign person) who is a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident.
The law at the time could not have been any clearer. (Unless it was written in big red crayons!)
Key’s Official Party Line that the GCSB Act 2003 was “vague” or “flawed” was accepted almost without question by many journos too lazy to actually get on the internet and look up the law (as it stood at the time) for themselves.
There were exceptions though.
Audrey Young from the NZ Herald knew the Act very well, and said so in no uncertain terms;
The GCSB Act 2003 expressly forbids it from spying on the communications of New Zealanders.
But, by a series of snakes and ladders through the stated functions and objectives of the act, it convinced itself it was allowed to help the SIS and police spy on New Zealanders.
Another journo was Tracy Watkins from the Dominion Post;
“The GCSB’s interpretation of the law was so loose it managed to spy on 88 New Zealanders even though the law specifically stated it was not allowed to do so.”
The same Tracy Watkins who put her name to the more recent story above, “Key dismisses GCSB spying claims from Greenwald” which suggested “the law at that time supposedly prohibited them from doing so”.
I can only assume Ms Watkins did not read that part of the story before putting her name to it.
Fairfax media: Key dismisses GCSB spying claims from Greenwald
Legislation: Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003
NZ Herald: Spying on NZ: More power to watch us
Dominion Post: Spy bungles start to entangle PM
Previous related blogposts
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
= fs =
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