17 Dec 2019

Emails reveal Operation Burnham chatter about destruction of compounds

10:03 am on 17 December 2019

The Operation Burnham Inquiry has released old emails between GCSB staff discussing destroying compounds in Afghanistan where women and children were living.

No caption

The Operation Burnham inquiry. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

The emails are part of the latest tranche of confidential documents published by the inquiry into claims that civilians were killed in an SAS-led raid in 2010.

In them, one officer wrote about having good intel on the compounds and who was going in and out of them including women, children, goats and the like.

Another officer asked if anyone was going to 'snot' these guys and got the response: "snot is the right word, there ain't going to be much of those compounds left once they've finished".

In a statement GCSB director general Andrew Hampton said the bureau was aware of the contents of email correspondence from 2010 which has been released publicly by the Inquiry into Operation Burnham.

"These emails were provided as part of our ongoing disclosure of relevant documents to the inquiry," the statement reads.

"The inquiry process means that I am constrained in the comment I can make at this time, however I can say that these emails from 2010 do not meet the standards of professionalism expected of GCSB staff today.

"I am confident current GCSB staff recognise the importance of acting with integrity and professionalism at all times, including in our communications with each other, and I have reminded all staff of this expectation."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs