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PM staffers, Slater summoned to Sept 11 grilling by intelligence watchdog

UPDATE: At a standup press conference on the campaign trail, Mr Key confirmed several of his senior staff would appear in front of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security's inquiry.

Asked whether he would appear, the PM said, "Apparently not. there's a bit of confusion there."

However, a spokeswoman for the PM's office later issued a statement saying "There was no indication in the letter [from the IG] that the Prime Minister would be called personally and the Prime Minister's office is not aware that would be the case. In terms of Prime Minister's office staff, no date was given in the letter for the interviews to take place."

Labour leader David Cunliffe has called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to restore public confidence. Mr Key said his case was "rock solid". He did not think the allegations were at a level that justified a Royal Commission.
 
The notices sent by the Inspector-General include a reminder that anyone who ignores her summons is liable on conviction to a fine of up to $5000.
 
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EARLIER: Cameron Slater has been summoned to face Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn on September 11.

Rumours have been circulating this afternoon that a number of figures in the Dirty Politics saga have received notices requiring them to appear for a pre-election grilling.

A Fairfax report says Prime Minister John Key plus several senior members of his office including chief-of-staff Wayne Eagleson,  OIA specialist Sarah Boyle and former staffer Jason Ede are understood to have also received a summons.

Mr Slater is the first to go on record confirming to NBR he has received a formal notice requiring him to meet with the IG.

The notice was issued under Section 23 of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act (1996). 

On August 22, Ms Gwyn opened an investigation into the unusually rapid turnaround of SIS documents to Mr Slater following an Official Information Act request from the Whale Oil blogger in July 2011.

The IG is seeking to establish whether the SIS documents were declassified and released to Mr Slater "in order to be used for political purposes".

There have also been questions over whether then SIS head Dr Warren Tucker directly informed Prime Minister John Key about the release of the documents, which were embarrassing to then Labour leader Phil Goff. Mr Key and Dr Tucker both say a direct briefing did not take place, but that the PM's office was updated.

Questions have also been asked over whether Mr Slater was directed by government ministers or their aides to make specific OIA requests (something the Whale Oil blogger and his government contacts deny).

On August 22, Mr Key said he was comfortable with the IG accessing his staff's email as part of her investigation. He also told media that he was on holiday in Hawaii at the time his office was briefed on the release of the documents to Mr Slater. Asked if he could have been briefed by phone, Mr Key said he was happy to open his phone records to any inquiry.

The IG is not expected to report back on her investigation until well after the election.

Separately, also on August 22, Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem said she would open an investigation into the way the Official Information Act is used.

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

Comments and questions
29

None of this would have been necessary if Lbaour MP Phil Goff hadn't tried to mislead the country and parliament by intentionally lying his butt off for political gain. Isn't there supposed to be consequences for misleading parliament, and isn't it in the public good for his dishonesty to be open for all to see?

The OIA information was gained legitimately & through the correct channels.

Next thing the National supporters will be going right back to Adam and Eve - anything to justify the Governments systemic moral and ethical corruption

Nothing corrupt about an OIA request. There is in Goof's lying to parliament and the country for political gain though eh Doc. Perhaps I'm wrong but wasn't the OIA request about the same time as Goof's lies to parliament so your argument about Adam & Eve seems a bit odd? Two things are always guaranteed regarding lefties - they are always dishonest and they are always hypocrites with double standards.

Garbage!!

Maybe John Key could attend too and state his position under oath

That would be interesting

He will. I doubt you will be interested. And he made no issue of Goff's misremembering at the time only commenting that it was easy to forget when you are very busy. Hardly the kind of political knife-twisting you would expect if he had been involved in the exposure, Or if it had been the Lefty politicians commenting on a Nat's error. Or you.

What a naive comment....

If the whole strategy is to keep John Key's "brand" untarnished by petty politics then of course he would not be "twisting the knife" but would instead be smiling and affable so people may think what a "nice guy" John Key is and continue voting for "Team Key" rather than a dull technocrat like Phil Goff.

So your point is that no-one should have been told that Goff lied and neither Slater or the media should have been allowed to find out?

I guess that makes the Left's ethical status perfectly clear. Makes it even harder to defend Hager though, doesn't it?

When was the assertion made that the exposure was either good or bad? Of course it was good. Nor do I have any interest in defending Hager, nor do I believe this is a "left or right" issue, rather it is the politics of power and how people wield it or try to hang on to it - that is where my interest lies.

The assertion that you made that Key can claim the moral high-ground from either being ignorant of what was going on his office or that he didn't engage in political point scoring owing to the fact he wasn't involved in the rapid exposure of that material is where your naivety rests.

Mind you the deductive reasoning that you have displayed in your comment doesn't lead me to believe that you are comprehending fully the machinations of what is being played out in front of you. I suggest reading "Rubicon" if you are looking to understand some of the dynamics of the politics of power - the time may be different but people are still people...

Paranoid rubbish. There is no point in rushing to expose Goff's misstatement if you then dismiss it as inconsequential. I have no doubt investigation will confirm Key was out of the country and played no part in this storm in a teacup. Equally I am sure no apology will be offered by the monkeys currently hurling abuse at him.

Totally agree. This has all happened on his watch so he too is accountable for the outcome. Dodging his responsibility as PM is not an option given how deep this is into his "portfolio" watch.

With friends like slater, who needs enemies ! For all his posturing about the mainstream media and the nasty party, he has behaved as poorly as any of those he has targeted in his hate blog.

Mr Slater boasts on his blog that he is shining sunlight onto questionable behaviour. Welcome to sunlight Mr Slater.

And we know how much slaters like sunlight.

Hope Hagar the email thief,and selling of them for a pecuniary interest gets a please explain as well .Or would that be asking too much for such a THING TO HAPPEN.

Of course if the bureaucracy was really doing its job we would be getting an inquiry into the usually slow turnaround of FOI requests, not the unusually fast.

Seems Goff was caught lying at the time.Would be great to see some balance in the allegations.

What is wrong with you guys so desperately trying to defend the National Party? I was a member for 30 years and bailed 12 months into John Keys first term. I am on record posting that there was bias in our News Agencies and something was very wrong. I am probably the same age as many of you and you did not see this coming? Blinkered!

Put it this way, I did not vote for John Key to claim that by voting for him I somehow agreed with the asset sales. That was not made clear to the voters. We had a one term mayor in my area who told the local punters that we voted for him to make decisions for us. NO! He was gone in one term and so should any party that twists what people voted for (other things) that did not translate into consultation e.g. sale of assets. The voters said no but he went ahead anyway. So what are you defending - the National Party or Democracy?

So you think assets should never be sold and you call other people blinkered?

Di Dixon

You put your case clearly. I believe many thinking New Zealanders will be feeling the same way as you do.

The sooner this corrupt affair is wrapped up the better.
But blame must be sheeted home to the main instigator,regardless of rank!
paleo

Regretfully, this sad affair shows that NZ is not as free from corruption as we like to believe.
liberte

I listen to the "Larry Williams" show Talkback NZ most evenings and always had some respect for Cameron Slater's offerings. But wow I think that he has done more damage to those that he "loves" than the exclusive brethren ever dreaded.

It is sickening to hear the excuses being made for the kind of activities that have recently come to light. It seems, to these people, maintaining democracy is incidental, their only concern is keeping their man in power by whatever means.
Our sense of decency and morality has sunk so low that in these times it's not a matter of whether something is morally right or wrong, it's a matter of whether or not you can get away with it.
I think of our Great Grandfathers and Grandfathers whose heroic efforts in the First World War we've recently commemorated - what would they make of all this? I think they would be deeply shocked to think that any New Zealander, regardless of their political leaning, would not want to clean this rot from our political system.

The Great Grandfathers and Grandfathers were the victims of grand delusion and great deception.

Doubt they would be deeply shocked - they were youths in their prime sacrificed to maintaining the the might and glory of the British Empire.

Remember them for who they were but let's not kid ourselves that what is going on now (here and anywhere in the world) would shock them - there are no greater victims of mass deception as them.

Exactly what activities have been proven that justify your high horse?

The first day of Spring dawned clear in the South.

So different to Auckland where the rain buckets down while Team Key comes close to foundering in a perfect storm.

Very few commentators seem to be making the connection between Nicky Hager's and Edward Snowdon's revelations.

A common response to the Surveillance State is that "you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide". However, as history shows, the real danger of a Surveillance State is that once established, it is inevitably turned against the political opponents of the ruling elite.

As the minister responsible for the SIS and GCSB, John Key promoted changes to the GCSB legislation in 2013 to remove restrictions on the GCSB's surveillance of New Zealander's communications.

It should concern all New Zealanders that John Key may now be implicated in dirty politics and the misuse of power.

My nomination for the MASTER DODGER in this election goes to.....not the Horrible One.....not to Slimey Slater....not even Judith Collins, but to the INVISIBLE Matt McCarten. Shhhhhh. Don't tell anyone about the puppet master.