Israeli spy claims: Goff dismisses PM's 'excuse'

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 15:39 25/07/2011

Relevant offers

Politics

Continuing fall in forecast dairy payout is concerning, says Bill English Helen Clark says women are still being held back by 'family duties' Steven Joyce downplays economic recession talk Northland bridges: going once, going twice 'We genuinely like each other', says NZ First trio Council claws back rebuild power Ron Mark new NZ First deputy Two new housing areas in south Auckland to provide 1800 homes More than one in five Auckland homes is being sold within two years Murray McCully's peace aspirations gives the knockers material

The intelligence and security committee should have been briefed on an investigation into Israeli backpackers, Labour leader Phil Goff has said.

Prime Minister John Key has said not all of the five parliamentary committee members had security clearance.

But Goff said ''very sensitive and confidential matters'' go before the committee and dismissed Key's reasoning as ''not …a good excuse''.

The top-secret committee, made up of party leaders, oversees the activities of the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).

''That item was never raised …But I can assure you that the confidential nature and the sensitive nature of the items that are often brought up …would not make that a good excuse if the prime minister or the SIS considered it serious enough it should have been raised,'' Goff said.

Government agencies including police and the SIS investigated the actions of a group of backpackers following February's massive earthquake in Christchurch. They concluded they were not Mossad spies.

Goff was angry that Key claimed he was briefed on the investigation. After hearing Key's remark, Goff contacted SIS director Warren Tucker for a ''please explain''.

Tucker told him he had ''flicked the issue past him'' during a regular meeting with Goff in March. The pair meet every eight weeks. Goff said he couldn't recall the matter being discussed in the meeting, which occurred a week to a fortnight from the quakes.

Goff said he was shown one of three documents about the investigation this morning, but wouldn't discuss its contents.

''The head of the Security Intelligence Service said he flicked the issue past me and said there wasn't much to it,'' Goff said.

''He 'didn't dwell on it', was his comments.

''If there had been anything of substance said to me I'm sure I would recollect it.''

The Intelligence and Security Act says the fuctions of the committee are not to inquire into "any matter that is operationally sensitive".

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content