Prime minister John Key now accepts he could have been told of Kim Dotcom’s surveillance by the Government Communications Security Bureau in February.
The government spying agency has been under fire since late last month when it was discovered the GCSB had been illegally spying on internet mogul Mr Dotcom.
Director Ian Fletcher has met with Mr Key again after reviewing all the relevant material.
Among the latest findings released today Mr Fletcher says:
- John Key was not briefed by the GCSB on its role in the Dotcom matter, nor any issues of potential illegality, until Monday, September 17.
- John Key was not briefed by any group or official within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on the GCSB’s role in the Dotcom matter ahead of the September 17 meeting. Roy Ferguson, Director of the Intelligence Co-ordination Group, was made aware by GCSB of its role in the arrest of Mr Dotcom the day of the raid but only after it occurred in January 2012. Mr Ferguson has advised the prime minister that his records indicate he did not subsequently brief the prime minister on the matter.
Until now, Mr Key has insisted he was not told of the involvement until September 17, when he was briefed over GCSB's bungle.
“While neither the GCSB director nor I can recall the reference to the Dotcom matter being made during my visit to the bureau back in February, I accept that it may well have been made,” Mr Key admitted in a press statement.
Mr Key visited GCSB’s offices on February 29 to talk about the bureau’s wider capabilities when a power point presentation made mention of the Dotcom arrest a few weeks earlier and contained one small picture of Dotcom.
In advising the prime minister later of the talking points at the meeting, Mr Fletcher told Mr Key he had no recollection of the Dotcom matter being raised at the meeting.
In a statement issued today by Mr Fletcher, he says another case from 2009 has been identified where the bureau was asked by police for call data record relating to a telephone belonging to a New Zealand resident. In that case, no surveillance was carried out.
There were also two further cases identified from 2010 and 2011 which raised a potential issue relating to the relationship of the GCSB’s legislation and that of other law enforcement and security agencies.
Since GCSB’s bungled handling of the Dotcom affair has been made public, Mr Fletcher has publicly apologised to Mr Key and Dotcom and cabinet secretary Rebecca Kitteridge has been installed as associate director to carry out a review of the GCSB.
Mr Key now plans to correct his statements made to the House when it sits again on October 16.