Key knows Snowden's info

TRACY WATKINS IN SYDNEY
Last updated 20:52 06/02/2014

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Prime Minister John Key says he knows what US whistle-blower Edward Snowden has on New Zealand and does not believe it will cause shock waves once in the public arena.

Key and his Australian counterpart, Tony Abbott, will be discussing the Snowden files over dinner with a tight-knit group of offsiders this evening.

Key arrived in Australia this evening for a two days of meetings.

Abbott was embroiled in controversy within weeks of taking office across the Tasman when documents obtained by the former National Security Agency contractor revealed the extent to which Australia had been spying on one of its closest neighbours, Indonesia.

Our government is steeling itself for similar revelations and believes some files obtained by Snowden may already be in circulation.

Key said today he had a "sense of the total level of information" Snowden had, but "nothing I've actually seen worries me."

Asked how he knew what Snowden might have, Key said he knew where the leaks had come from and was aware of what databases Snowden had access to.

"I've done what you'd expect me to do - which is go try and find out what information there is."

Asked if he had done that through the United States government he said "if you work it backwards, yes."

It is widely expected that among the activities likely to be exposed is New Zealand's surveillance of Pacific neighbours such as Fiji, and other flashpoints.

Key would not confirm that, but when asked if such revelations would cause ripples he said it would "depend on the circumstances".

The security intelligence agencies, including the Government Communications Security Bureau, were there to protect the property rights and personal safety of New Zealanders. That included those in international hot-spots of the military.

"We have a responsibility as the government to keep people safe but there won't be revelations of mass wholesale data collection of New Zealanders, it hasn't taken place and I don't think there will be other revelations that will truly shock people.’’


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