The Prime Minister has admitted for the first time that New Zealand spies did look into a form of mass surveillance on Kiwis, but never actually went through with it.
John Key was responding to the arrival of journalist Glenn Greenwald, with thousands of documents taken by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that he says prove New Zealanders have been subjected to wholesale spying by the Government.
Mr Key has always said that he would resign if that was proven, but tonight he’s launched a counterattack.
Mr Greenwald claims he will produce evidence that could take down the Prime Minister, but just a short while ago Mr Key hit back and upped the ante big time, promising to get ahead of Mr Greenwald and declassify top-secret documents that will prove him wrong.
Mr Key has repeatedly denied spy agency the GCSB conducts mass surveillance of New Zealanders, even saying he would resign if it were prove, and he was standing by that today. . .
“Kim Dotcom is a man who is trying to gerrymander the election,” says Mr Key. “He’s paying a guy who’s coming to New Zealand to make claims.”
Mr Greenwald denies he’s being paid by Kim Dotcom to be here and says he’s donating his fee to charity.
But Mr Key had little charity for Snowden, describing him as a hacker, not a whistleblower.
“Unfortunately he may have hacked some information, but not all of it,” says Mr Key.
Mr Key says that bit they missed is what he’s about to release.
Mr Key has admitted for the first time that yes, New Zealand spies did look into what he calls a “mass protection” option that he concedes could have been seen as “mass surveillance” or “wholesale spying”, but that, and this is the important bit, he says it never actually went ahead.
Mr Key has revealed that after two major cyber-attacks on New Zealand companies, in late 2011 and early 2012, the GCSB stared to look at options with the help of partner agencies like the NSA.
But Mr Key says this idea never got past the business case stage because he deemed it too invasive.
This was before the Snowden leaks, and Mr Key says the fact he said no is why he has been able to be so resolute that there was no mass spying on Kiwis. . .
Who do we believe?
The answer to that probably depends on our political views.
Those of us who know and trust the PM will believe him.
Those on the left of the spectrum won’t. They’ll back the hacker with the half-truths.
Those who aren’t political tragics might well be asking whose election is it?
Ours or that of a foreigner with a very dodgy background who’s admitted:
“I hacked our German credit rating system and put our Prime Minister’s credit rating to zero because I didn’t like the guy,” said Dotcom. “You have all figured by now there’s another Prime Minister I don’t like.”
. . . A number of individuals, ranging from Colin Craig at one end of the socio-political spectrum to the mystery hacker Rawshark at the other, have set out to influence this election in ways and to degrees not previously seen in this country.
History may show the overwhelming focus was on the least significant and troubling of the various interventions and that Whaledump was exactly that: a cloud of waste matter floating through the (air)waves.
Within hours we had revelations from another foreigner paid by Kim Dotcom in an attempt to influence the election
Accusations of big money buying elections usually come from the left. How ironic that this time it is the puppets in Internet Mana who’ve allowed themselves to be bought.