Foreign intelligence agency ran operations out of New Zealand without government knowledge News
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Foreign intelligence agency ran operations out of New Zealand without government knowledge

The Inspector General of Intelligence Services in New Zealand, Brendan Horsley, revealed on Thursday that a foreign intelligence agency has been operating inside the Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB).

Since 2013, the foreign agency has used the GCSB’s ability to host signals to “support action against military targets,” according to the report. The report also states that relevant officials in the government were not informed. The report alleges that this means that many of New Zealand’s security decisions could have been compromised. The foreign agency was not named in the report.

While the current leadership team at the GCSB was unaware of the activity, according to the report, the previous leaders of the agency may have known. The inspector general harshly criticized the GCSB for not having sought ministerial approval of the program, saying, “It was improper for the GCSB to decide to host the system without bringing it to the Minister’s attention.” He also stated that the activity went beyond the standard intelligence sharing the GCSB is permitted to engage in. 

 Overall, the report listed five major recommendations for the GCSB, which the agency has accepted. These include everything from more direct oversight by the Inspector General to a national audit system for the agency that would stop such action from being taken without permission in the future. The director of the GCSB, Andrew Clark, acknowledged the agency’s failure and stated the agency would do better in the future. He also noted that all the members of staff who were aware of the program are no longer with the agency and that the organization had gone through major changes since its implementation.