Spies' request for information 'naive'

Last updated 05:00 13/04/2013

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Fairfax Media has rebuffed a request from the country's spies to disclose whether it intends to publish classified information from the leaked Kitteridge report into the Government Communications Security Bureau.

The report - which revealed the GCSB may have illegally spied on 88 New Zealanders - was leaked to Fairfax Media prompting the Government to bring forward its official release.

Prime Minister John Key had planned to address the report when he returned from a trade mission to China.

Acting Prime Minister Bill English said this week he did not know if other as yet unpublicised parts of the report, including its highly sensitive appendices, had also been leaked.

"Who knows, the person who leaked the document might own up tomorrow," English said.

If the appendices appeared in the newspaper, we would know they had been leaked, he said.

"The prime minister does not have the capacity to guess whether someone has them sitting in a shoebox under their bed."

The bureau's strategic communications manager, Anthony Byers, has emailed Fairfax asking: "As discussed, based on the leak of Rebecca Kitteridge's Compliance Review, is it possible that we might see classified information in any Fairfax media?"

Fairfax Media group executive editor Paul Thompson said the company would not be responding to the request for information.

"We are surprised that the spy agency has asked such a naive question, and also that such an agency has the need for a strategic communications manager."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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