INDEPENDENT NEWS

NZ Herald’s Mystery Man Not Scoop Source On 'Leaf'

Published: Wed 24 Nov 2004 09:02 AM
NZ Herald’s Mystery Man Not Scoop Source On Leaf
By Selwyn Manning – Scoop Co Editor
A man the New Zealand Herald today said was behind Sunday Star Times allegations of SIS bugging is not a Scoop source of information on Operation Leaf.
The Herald claimed: “One of the alleged spies behind newspaper allegations of the SIS bugging Maori MPs and activists is a mysterious New Zealander linked to other questionable sensational stories. Inquiries by the New Zealand Herald indicate he is not an SIS agent.”
The New Zealander identified by the Herald is based in China and did act as an official representative of Nauru after setting up a ghost embassy that traded in Nauruan passports.
The Herald reported that the man was in contact “with Maori activist Whititera Kaihau, who features in the Sunday Star-Times' story claiming that agents were hired to dig dirt on Maori figures. Mr Kaihau yesterday told the Herald the person who corresponded with him identified himself as Jack Sanders.”
Scoop can confirm its sources on Operation Leaf do not include Jack Sanders.
Among Scoop's sources on Operation Leaf is a respected member of the intelligence and foreign affairs network – an individual who has lines of communication connecting to the New Zealand Government.
His experience goes back decades, and his advice on foreign intelligence has been sought from the highest levels of office. Scoop will not reveal this man’s name (hereafter referred to as Contact ‘A’) – but we can testify that information provided by this individual has at all times proven to be factual and that he is a patriotic New Zealander who believes strongly in the requirement of security intelligence when that information is acquired through legitimate means and for the benefit of the nation.
Information provided to Scoop asserts that the SIS was the lead agency/department/service in Operation Leaf. Scoop first announced that the SIS was investigating the Maori Party, networks and individuals on November 11. See… Intelligence Sources Say SIS Investigating Maori Party .
The Scoop expose was ridiculed by the Prime Minister’s spokesperson as ‘laughable’. Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia was later personally assured by SIS director Richard Woods that there was no cause for concern over Scoop’s claims.
Turia accepted the director’s assurances. On Sunday November 21 Fairfax’s Sunday Star Times newspaper published a six-week investigation claiming:
• The SIS contracted "computer geeks" to engineer contact with Maori organisations and plant bugging equipment on their computers or change the settings to allow remote access.
• They were told to gather intelligence on internal iwi business negotiations, finances and Treaty claims and inter-tribal communications.
• They were instructed to watch for "dirt", including "personal information, relationships, money issues, family secrets" on Maori leaders.
• Serious divisions exist within the intelligence community, with some spies believing the SIS is too deferential to Western agencies.
Much of the Sunday Star Times’ investigation centred around an operative referred to by the name of Peter who was recruited to provide ICT expertise and to spy on targets of Operation Leaf.
Scoop’s senior contact insisted the Sunday Star Times’ claims are factual and correct.
Following the Star Times articles Tariana Turia claimed her telephone had indeed been bugged immediately prior to her leaving the Labour Party.
And on Monday November 22, Turia wrote to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Justice Paul Neazor, asking him to initiate an immediate inquiry into the allegations about the SIS.
Turia said in a statement: "There are too many serious questions left unanswered. New Zealanders take for granted that our freedom to live in an open democracy is a basic standard of living for our nation."
For more see… FULL COVERAGE: Operation Leaf…
Selwyn Manning - Scoop Auckland
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