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Foreign intel operation within the government escaped detection for nearly a decade

Summarised by Centrist

A recent report by the Inspector-General of Intelligence has exposed a clandestine signals intelligence operation, strongly suspected to be of US origin. It was operating under the government’s nose for years without anyone in elected office or even the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) director being the wiser.

Conducted remotely through GCSB facilities near Blenheim and Waihopi from 2012 to 2020, the operation was carried out without ministerial knowledge or approval. 

It is suspected to be part of the US spy program “Apparition”, which was used to locate targets in the Asia-Pacific region during the US “War on Terror”. However, questions remain about the precise nature of intelligence gathered and whether or not international or domestic laws were broken.  

The report suggests lax internal procedures, inadequate record-keeping, and a lack of awareness among senior officials within the GCSB, which allowed knowledge of the program to be lost.  

The revelation comes at a sensitive time as the US and China jockey for supremacy in the Asia-Pacific region. These revelations raise questions about NZ’s security state’s possible role in allowing the US military to skirt NZ’s democratic checks and balances. 

Read more over at Mick Hall In Context

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