Slater, Greens plan complaints after Hager revelations

Cameron Slater
Cameron Slater
Blogger Cameron Slater says he will complain to police about the hacking of his Whaleoil website and will name entrepreneur Kim Dotcom as someone detectives should speak to.

He said he would also complain to the Privacy Commission, relying on a recent High Court ruling to force from author Nicky Hager his source material for the book.

The Green Party has also said this morning it intends to lay complaints with police, Parliamentary Service, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security and the Privacy Commissioner following revelations made the book.

Slater has come out swinging this morning after publication of the book Dirty Politicswhich aimed to paint a picture of a National Party obsessed with dirty tricks.

Drawing on emails obtained by a hacker, the book claims Slater is the lead "attack blog" driving negative coverage of political opponents using information from a staff member of the Prime Minister and a senior Cabinet minister.

Slater said it was a clear criminal offence to hack his computer and take his emails.

"There was an illegal obtaining of my emails. There was no legitimate way they could access it. It had to be a hack. I believe it's a criminal offence and there will be a complaint to police."

He said he had an "implied admission from Kim Dotcom to one of my sources that he was behind it" so would name him when speaking to police. He said the case would be clear for police to prosecute.

Slater said a recent decision by the High Court which stripped Privacy Act protection from book authors meant he would be able to force Hager to divulge source information.

Slater said the book was a selective use of emails which were taken from his website during the Denial of Service attack in January.

The "selective" nature of the communications used showed "he's playing judge and jury with other people's communications".

Slater said the information was taken during a 15-minute window during the attack, which was designed to take over his website's defences.

Slater said there was another 10-minute window beyond that during which his social media accounts were exposed.

Slater said suspected information had been taken from him during the Denial of Service attack.

"I kept that quiet to see where it turned up. I had no idea what they had got. I knew an attempt to get in had occurred but not that they had taken anything although one must assume they have."

He said he did not warn anyone their communications had been taken because he had "no idea as to the extent of it".

Slater said he had 80GB of email data which meant the 8GB that Hager claimed to have was only a fraction of the content he had.

It's still a massive breach of privacy. Nicky has clearly breached my privacy."

Slater said it contrasted with Hager's revelations about surveillance systems. "The guy is a sanctimonious hypocrite."

He questioned the authenticity of emails communications between himself and Justice minister Judith Collins. The book claims there were hundreds of emails exchanged but Slater said Mrs Collins rarely emailed him.

"I would think there would be very few emails from her. It's certainly not embarrassing for me and I don't think it's embarrassing from her perspective."

Slater also rejected claims he was paid to place articles on his website for the alcohol and tobacco lobby.

"I run a business and I offer PR and social media advice and I charge for that privilege."

He said he was not paid to post material. "I get paid for advice."

Asked if the "advice" resulted in posts on the blog, he said: "It may have."

He said mainstream media companies were also forming commercial relationships which influenced their editorial content. When compared to what he did, he said there was no difference.

Green Party to lay complaints

The Green Party plans to lodge a series of complaints after revelations in Nicky Hager's new book alleges corruption and abuse of power.

The complaints may have the effect of closing down any further debate by politicians before the election.

Complaints by the Greens are expected to be made with the Police, Parliamentary Service, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security and the Privacy Commissioner, paving the way for named politicians, including Prime Minister John Key, to use the investigation process to avoid answering questions about the allegations.

Green co-leader Metiria Turei said Mr Key had degraded New Zealand's democracy.

"The Green Party is today promising to hold a Royal Commission of Inquiry when in Government to get to the bottom of what has gone on and to seek recommendations on how to rebuild a clean and fair political system in New Zealand, she said.

Among the issues the Greens will raise in the complaints are the alleged involvement of Mr Key's adviser Jason Ede in supplying confidential information to a blogger and officials working for Me Key using or diclsoing any inormation obtained to gain advantage.

PM, Collins react to Hager's claims

The book was dismissed by the Prime Minister last night. A spokeswoman said: "This is a cynically timed attack book from a well-known left-wing conspiracy theorist. It makes all sorts of unfounded allegations and voters will see it for what it is."

Ms Collins, whose emails to Slater are claimed to be quoted throughout the book, said: "I don't care what he's alleging. Quite frankly, I can't be bothered with the man. I agree with [Mr Key] - he's a left-wing conspiracy theorist."

Slater, who was on a pre-arranged visit to Israel last night, also dismissed the book as a "conspiracy story". On his blog, he wrote: "It is of course likely to be a very single-sided affair, and a direct attack on the Government to hurt it at election time. What is being framed here is only one side of politics in New Zealand."

A hacker was said to have taken the information from Slater after the blogger in January described the victim of a West Coast car crash as "feral". The material was then sent to Hager.

Hager said he believed the emails he had obtained showed how Slater was supplied information from contacts deep in Mr Key's administration, including Ms Collins and Mr Key's press secretary Jason Ede.

It charts Slater's growing links with the National Party from the 2008 election through to last month.

The National Party had previously denied having any knowledge or involvement in scandals driven by the Whale Oil blog.

Allegation Labour Party website accessed

But in at least one case, Hager aimed to show the Beehive was directly linked to blog attacks where it had previously denied knowledge.

In 2011, Slater was alerted to a hole in the Labour Party website which allowed him to access huge amounts of personal information about members.

Hager believed that Slater and Mr Ede worked on the issue together, with the Beehive staffer later discussing how he obscured his identity through email accounts that could not be traced to him, and Facebook accounts in false names.

The book also claimed Slater had been fed inside information from the Beehive allowing him to ask precise questions through the Official Information Act. An example saw former Opposition Leader Phil Goff contradicted over public comments after Slater was specifically directed to data he could obtain from the SIS.

The trove of emails included hundreds between Slater and Ms Collins, including one in which she told the blogger: "If you can't be loved, then best to be feared."

She urged him to pay back "double" any injury suffered, to which he replied: "I learned the rule from you."

The book also claimed an email directly from Ms Collins was used almost word-for-word on the website, claiming it came from "the tipline".

According to Hager, Ms Collins provided increasing amounts of material for the Whale Oil blog, including an attack on a ministerial staff member that prompted death threats against the man.

Mr Ede declined to be interviewed by the Herald.

- additional reporting Dene Mackenize 






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