14 May 2015

IGIS launches inquiry into WTO spy claims

7:02 pm on 14 May 2015

A top-level inquiry has been launched into the Government's electronic spy agency and issues raised around the Trade Minister's bid to lead the World Trade Organisation.

Tim Groser says ending fuel subsidies will be a tough sell.

Photo: AFP

In March, journalist Nicky Hager said he had seen documents showing the GCSB was snooping on candidates who were competing against Tim Groser to lead the WTO in 2013.

He said a leaked document showed the GCSB used an internet surveillance system to intercept emails about the eight other candidates.

At the time the Prime Minister, John Key, dismissed Mr Hager's claims saying previous claims he had made had been based on old or out-of-date information, or were simply wrong.

On Thursday the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn announced that she had commenced an inquiry into the way the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) considered undertaking foreign intelligence activities.

She said she initiated the inquiry herself rather than in response to a specific complaint, and that it was unlikely she would be able to publicly confirm or deny the specific allegations related to Mr Hager's claims.

But Ms Gwyn said she would inquire more generally into how the GCSB determined what intelligence activity to undertake and what policies and procedures were in place to regulate its activities.

The Inspector-General said she would provide a report of her broad findings to the public when the inquiry was completed.

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