GCSB’s response to the Inspector-General’s 2018-19 work plan
Director-General of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), Andrew Hampton, has welcomed the release of the Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Work Programme 2018-19.
“The oversight provided by the Inspector-General is fundamental to the public being able to have trust and confidence that the GCSB is acting legally and appropriately,” Mr Hampton said.
“The GCSB will continue to work constructively with the Inspector-General to ensure her office has access to our information and staff as required to properly undertake their inquiries.”
The Inspector-General’s Work Programme includes an inquiry into the role of GCSB (and NZSIS), if any, in relation to certain specific events in Afghanistan. This inquiry has some parallels with the Government Inquiry into Operation Burnham and related matters.
“The GCSB provided intelligence support to the New Zealand Defence Force’s Afghanistan operations and has a legislated role to advise and assist the New Zealand Defence Force,” Mr Hampton said.
“It is of the utmost importance that the public are assured that GCSB acted lawfully in supporting New Zealand Defence Force’s Afghanistan operations.
“GCSB will provide all necessary support to the Inspector-General and also the Government Inquiry into Operation Burnham to ensure their success.
“In the interests of supporting the effective conduct of the two inquiries, I do not intend to make any further comment until the inquiries have been completed.”
Mr Hampton welcomes the Inspector-General’s proposed report into how the GCSB (and NZSIS) are operating under the new Intelligence and Security Act 2017.
“The new Act constituted a significant change for the GCSB, including the introduction of a completely new authorising regime for our warranted activity,” Mr Hampton said.
“In addition to the work of the GCSB legal team, we have also sought Crown Law’s view throughout this implementation process to make sure our interpretation of the new legislation and what is required of us is correct.
“The legislation also allows for the GCSB to cooperate with international intelligence partners, access information infrastructures with the authority of an intelligence warrant and requires the issue of ministerial policy statements to provide guidance on matters such as obtaining and using publicly available information. These are all areas the Inspector-General intends to look into.
“These are all actions that GCSB undertakes to produce intelligence that informs government decision-making on a wide range of matters – including matters affecting the security of New Zealand and New Zealanders.
“As with all of GCSB’s intelligence activities, these actions must be carried out lawfully, in accordance with the Government’s intelligence priorities, and consistently with human rights obligations recognised in New Zealand law.
“The release of the Inspector-General’s Work Programme follows her certification, for a third year in a row, that GCSB has sound compliance procedures and systems in place.
“I have been consulted on the Inspector-General’s report about its intelligence activity in relation to New Zealand’s interests in the South Pacific region and we look forward to its release.”
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