Key denies knowledge of spy visit

Last updated 11:06 04/12/2012

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A number of foreign spies held a meeting in Wellington last week, Prime Minister John Key has confirmed.

Key has been coy about the identity of a mysterious senior American official who flew into the Capital.

"I just don't know," he told reporters this morning.

But he has confirmed "a number" of US intelligence officials were here to meet with our spooks.

"There was a routine meeting held in New Zealand last week...with a number of other countries," he said.

However, he has denied it was a meeting of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, made up of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand 

Key - who has responsibility for the intelligence agencies - says he wasn't involved in the meeting and doesn't know what was discussed.

"I don't track every official that comes to New Zealand. People come all the time. Some come on planes, some don't...I don't bother going to ask who's on those particular planes."

He agreed it must have been a senior figure in President Barack Obama's administration. "There'd be lots of senior and important people that come to New Zealand."

Pressed by reporters for the second day running on the passenger, he has agreed to find out more. "If someone parks a US plane at Wellington airport, in my opinion, that doesn't count as a secret

"If someone was secretly trying to get into New Zealand you presumably won't park a marked plane at Wellington airport."

Five Eyes meets regularly across the globe. They are believed to have met in New Zealand in September.

Within days Key ordered an investigation into illegal spying by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) on internet piracy accused Kim Dotcom.

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- The Dominion Post

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