It's like a village where everyone's Machiavelli.
It's more like a village where everyone thinks they are Machiavelli. In fact, they are all contenders for the village idiot.
A USB stick given to a friend...
See David Miranda.
...a file stored in an anonymous internet storage area, etc.
Yes, but if it's hidden obscurely it's no easier to find once they know it exists, than it was before they knew...
Did you never play hide and seek as a child?
The logic behind a search warrant, for example, is that it is much easier to find stuff once you start looking. There is certainly no guarrantee that a searcher will find something, but it is certainly much easier for him to do so once he starts looking for it.
For journalists, obscurity is not an option.
Why not? You can hide a memory stick somewhere, same as anyone else. Or put it "somewhere on the internet"...
Because eventually a journalist publishes an article. Once this happens the fact that there might be additional (unpublished) information about sources etc ceases to be obscure. And motivated parties may try to look for this information, within the bounds of their technical and legal (joke!) capability.
If NZSIS or NZ Police were the requesting agency, by definition it involved someone on whom GCSB were forbidden to spy...
That would be true only if the NZ police never investigated foreigners.
Note, that in the GCSB 2003 Act an important reason for other agencies to request GCSB assistance is for cyber-security (not spying). Which would be fine. But also wouldn't target 88 individual NZ citizens/residents.
AFAIK, the seconded employee becomes, for the purposes of agency and principal, an agent of the seconding organisation, with whatever authorities are appropriate to their role.
Note that "secondment" was not mentioned in the GCSB Act 2003. It talks about giving assistance.
But anyway, the point is "seconded" GCSB agents would not be just turning up to police HQ and helping PC thicky to use his own computer.
The whole point of asking for assistance is to access the GCSB's gathering/analysis/interpretation tools. Hence the rules for how those tools can be used apply.
If you can provide a legal authority which says otherwise...
A legal authority that said what GCSB agents could do? The GCSB Act 2003.
And the argument is being made right now that secondment is illegal.
No. Secondment (or co-operating with other agencies) was entirely legal. It is plainly there in the 2003 GCSB act.
What was illegal, regardless of whether on secondment or not, was GCSB agents/resources being used to spy on NZers. Which was also plainly there in the GCSB 2003 act.
It is not being seconded that was illegal, it was spying on NZers that was illegal. Being on secondment didn't mean it suddenly became legal for GCSB agents to spy on NZers.
Now who's applying 2013 hindsight to things?
In what respect?
if one reads what Sir Bruce said...
Although, to his credit, Sir Bruce appears to not support the new GCSB legislation, he can hardly be relied on as a neutral commentator on what went on at the GCSB when he was in charge of it.
Unless one is arguing that there was actual interception by the GCSB, not just by GCSB personnel seconded to another agency...
What exactly do you think the GCSB personnel are doing on secondment? We have heard time and time again that it is the capability of the GCSB that police / NZSIS sometimes require and that the (apparently uncosted) cost of duplicating that capability will be too much. Seconded GCSB staff aren't turning up to PC plod's desk to lend an extra set of fingers on a particularly tedious data entry problem; the police would be going to WINZ if that was the problem.
Seconded GCSB staff will be using the GCSB's information infrastructure, analysis, and interception capabilities to do whatever it is that the police have asked for. That is the whole point of asking for their assistance. They may well (as Sir Bruce implied) be physically sitting in a police/SIS office, but they will be using something (hopefully significantly more secure than VPN!) to access the GCSB's resources. Even if that more secure method is something as banal as carrying printed reports between the GCSB and police buildings.
And sure, Sir Bruce, might not know, or ask, exactly what a seconded agent was doing, but the GCSB should have a policy (that should have been consistent with legislation) about what a GCSB agent might be able to do while on secondment.
...when one considers that pulling out of Echelon means shitting on the rest of the Anglophonic world (and their Western intelligence/security partners), not just shitting on the US...
Yes. And exactly the same risks were involved in a nuclear free declaration.
The nuclear free declaration was in fact a worse risk, because it was also a snub to our western European trading partners / allies who were in Nato. Which is a bigger community that the Angolphonic one, which is why the French carried out a terrorist attack in NZ.
The demonisation of GCSB as deliberately breaking the law and knowing they were doing so doesn't stand up to scrutiny...
If you read the Hansard debates of the 2003 legilsation, much of the debates consist of Keith Locke saying this bill does not prevent the GCSB spying on NZers and various Labour and National MPs saying "yes, it does prevent the GCSB from spying on NZers". So the stated intent of the law was pretty damm clear.
There was no ambiguity in the 2003 law. The GCSB could not spy on NZers, but it could render assistance to police etc. Which is fine, these are not inconsistent statements. This just means that the GCSB (if it followed its legislation) could not spy on NZers in the course of rendering assistance to the police, etc. So, if the police were, say, trying to locate French secret service agents, or the members of an international drug cartel, then the GCSB would be eligible to help. On the other hand, if the police were trying to locate, say, an escaped Mongrel mob associate, or a large German with NZ residency, then the GCSB are not eligible to help. It was pretty simple stuff.