Key refuses to identify visiting US spy

Last updated 14:43 04/12/2012

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Prime Minister John Key is refusing to reveal which US spy flew into Wellington last week.

He has reviewed paperwork about "several meetings", but says it is not in the national interest to go into details.

"I could make a wild guess... but I don't know. I'm not their travel agent and I don't inquire how they travelled to New Zealand."

He said the government did not talk about who attended security meetings.

"There are routine meetings," he said.

This morning Key confirmed "a number" of US intelligence officials were in the country 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 was not involved in the meeting and does not 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 US President Barack Obama's administration.

"There'd be lots of senior and important people that come to New Zealand.

"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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- © Fairfax NZ News

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