NZ spied on allies, Greenwald claims

Further bombshell revelations from the Snowden files will reveal New Zealand spied on allies and its Pacific neighbours - and could throw its bid for a UN Security Council seat into chaos.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald has confirmed he is planning to report more ''significant'' details about the surveillance activities of the Government Communications Security Bureau.

He hopes to make his disclosures soon, before an October vote on whether New Zealand will get a non-permanent seat on the powerful international body.

 ''I don't want to give you the reporting before it's ready ... but what I feel comfortable saying is part of the reporting will identify the other nations on which the GCSB spies, either for its own purposes or at the behest of the United States,'' he said.

''And that list includes adversary countries that most New Zealanders will probably expect and want the GCSB to be spying on.

"But then it also includes countries which I think will be very surprising, including Western democracies or neighbouring countries or countries that are deemed allies of New Zealand.''

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The Snowden documents revealed last year that the United States National Security Agency intercepted the mobile phone calls of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Australia became embroiled in a diplomatic stoush when it emerged it snooped on Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife Kristiani Herawati and government officials.  

The files also blew open covert interception points at Australian embassies and diplomatic posts across Asia, going as far back as 2007.

Fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden appeared by video link to the ''Moment of Truth'' event organised by the Internet Party on Monday night.

He said Kiwis were subject to mass surveillance by the GCSB, and the foreign spy agency used the controversial data harvesting technology, XKeyscore.

The former analyst, who is sheltering in Russia after leaking the top-secret archive, also claimed the NSA operates facilities in New Zealand.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday rejected this as ''unsubstantiated'', saying it was unlikely NSA agents were operating here without his knowledge.

However, he will not be drawn on XKeyscore, despite an admission by retired GCSB director Sir Bruce Ferguson that his agents were trained in the technology.

''The only bases that operate in New Zealand that I'm aware of are New Zealand ones,'' Key said yesterday, while campaigning in Dunedin. 

''There is no mass surveillance of New Zealanders, there never has been mass surveillance.  I'm just not going to go into  ... the particular techniques we use.''

Key has repeatedly attacked Greenwald, in Auckland as a guest of Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom. 

Greenwald says Snowden's previous disclosures on signals intelligence have never been disproved, and NSA documents were produced as evidence on Monday.

Ferguson's admission backs up Snowden's evidence about XKeyscore - but Greenwald argued Key cannot confirm it because he promised to resign in the event the GCSB was found to be carrying out mass surveillance.

''The reason that John Key won't admit what Mr Ferguson himself admitted  ... is because XKeyscore by its nature is a system of mass surveillance,'' he said.

Greenwald also said he believed the NSA tipped off the National-led Government about what was coming. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer took his information to the US spy agency on Sunday. 

Following this, Key admitted the GCSB had proposed a programme of mass surveillance, which he canned in March 2013.

''He clearly learned about the documents that we intended to publish that show that this had gone beyond the proposal stage and was partially implemented,'' Greenwald said.

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