Dotcom spy investigators get nod from target's sister agency

Police investigating illegal spying on Kim Dotcom by the GCSB have received security clearances to conduct their inquiries - from the other spy agency which reports to the Prime Minister.

The Security Intelligence Service has cleared the five senior police officers appointed to carry out the investigation, Operation Grey leader Detective Inspector Peter Read said yesterday.

It came as police said five senior police officers had been appointed to the investigation into illegal spying by the Government Communications Security Bureau.

The investigation was begun after a complaint from Green co-leader Russel Norman . It followed an admission of illegal spying on Mr Dotcom from Prime Minister John Key, who then apologised to the internet tycoon.

The GCSB and the SIS report to Mr Key. The bureau is focused on electronic intelligence gathering and is banned from spying on New Zealanders. The intelligence service has more domestic freedom and a focus on human intelligence gathering.

Mr Dotcom has previously been reviewed by both agencies. The SIS checked him in October 2010 when he applied for residency, notifying police at the time of the FBI's interest in his Megaupload file-sharing business.

The GCSB was then drawn into the FBI case after a request from the police's Organised and Financial Crime Agency of NZ, which was helping the FBI inquiry. Ofcanz staff sought the bureau's help in monitoring Mr Dotcom in the month leading up to the police raid in January, which saw him arrested on FBI charges of copyright violation. He faces an extradition hearing to the United States.

Mr Norman said the ability for the SIS to "veto" investigating officers undermined the equal position each person was meant to have under the law. "The problem is they are the sister organisation of the organisation being investigated."

Meanwhile, Mr Dotcom's new Mega service has suffered a setback. The Me.ga domain is registered in the West African nation of Gabon, which was reported yesterday as wanting to suspend the site.

- David Fisher of the NZ Herald

 

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