One News: Taxpayer-funded grants to NZ tech firm used to build surveillance equipment for UK government

Taxpayer-funded grants to a private New Zealand tech firm were used to build mass surveillance equipment for Britain’s largest intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

ONE News: Special investigation: Inside one of the SIS’s biggest anti-terrorism operations

One of the Security Intelligence Service’s biggest ever anti-terrorism operations – conducted between July and August 2012 – targeted a group of pro-democracy campaigners who it mistakenly thought were planning to overthrow the military government in Fiji.

Snowden files: How NZ and US agents plotted to spy on China

Five Eyes allies identified a diplomatic data link between Chinese offices as a target for hacking. Nicky Hager and Ryan Gallagher dissect the plan.

Snowden files: GCSB’s secret Bangladesh spy mission

Secret documents reveal New Zealand has shared intelligence collected through covert surveillance with Bangladesh despite that country’s security forces being implicated in extrajudicial killings, torture and other human rights abuses.

Snowden files: How spy agency homed in on Groser’s rivals

A top secret document reveals New Zealand’s surveillance agency spied on candidates vying to be the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a job sought by National Government minister Tim Groser.

Snowden files: GCSB had Solomons post, papers show

The GCSB not only spies on the Solomon Islands using its Waihopai satellite interception base – it also had a secret listening post inside the country, according to documents provided by the United States National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Revealed: The names NZ targeted using NSA’s XKeyscore system

Why did the GCSB intercept emails to and from Solomon Island officials? Nicky Hager and Ryan Gallagher report

Snowden revelations: NZ’s spy reach stretches across globe

New Zealand spies on Vietnam, China, India, Pakistan, South American nations and a range of other countries to help fill gaps in worldwide surveillance operations by the United States National Security Agency (NSA), documents show.

Snowden files: Inside Waihopai’s domes

NICKY HAGER AND RYAN GALLAGHER Last updated 07:47, March 8 2015 Sunday Star-Times The Waihopai intelligence base looks oddly alien and out of place: huge white “golf ball” radomes like a moon station and silent buildings within two fences of razor wire, all dropped in the midst of vineyards and dry hills in New Zealand’s [...]

#snowdenNZ : The price of the Five Eyes club: Mass spying on friendly nations

Leaked Snowden files show most of GCSB’s targets are not security threats to New Zealand, as Government suggests…

Cyprus: the home of British/American Internet surveillance in the Middle East by Nicky Hager and Stefania Maurizi

British and US Internet surveillance in the Middle East and surrounding regions occurs from a secret base on the island of Cyprus…..

Latest Wikileaks revelations (Sunday Star-Times)

Confidential security industry documents released by Wikileaks this week reveal details of the kinds of surveillance systems that will be used in New Zealand under the controversial GCSB Act.

Electronic Espionage: 15 years of inertia (Le Monde Diplomatique, September 2013)

Edward Snowden is in the midst of one of the most dramatic intelligence leaks in our lifetimes…..
Le Monde Diplomatique, September 2013

US spy agencies eavesdrop on Kiwi, Sunday Star-Times 

The New Zealand military received help from US spy agencies to monitor the phone calls of Kiwi journalist Jon Stephenson and his associates while he was in Afghanistan reporting on the war.

Who is really responsible for the GCSB shenanigans?

Kitteridge Report suggests “unclear legislation” allowed for GCSB to illegally spy on New Zealanders. But the real responsibility lies elsewhere

Other People’s Wars

Other People's Wars - cover imageThe ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan and beyond has been the longest foreign war in New Zealand history, yet most New Zealanders know almost nothing about their country’s part in it. For ten years, nearly everything controversial or potentially unpopular was kept secret, and obscured by a steady flow of military public relations stories.

Based on thousands of leaked New Zealand military and intelligence documents, extensive interviews with military and intelligence officers and eye-witness accounts from the soldiers on the ground, Nicky Hager tells the story of these years. New Zealand was far more involved than the public realised in this crucial period of world history, He tells how the military and bureaucracy used the war on terror to pursue private agendas, even when this meant misleading and ignoring the decisions of the elected government.

“Nicky Hager has more knowledge and understanding of the American intelligence world in Afghanistan — both its good and its very bad points — than any reporter I know.” – Seymour Hersh, 2013

A short history of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS)

The SIS history divides into three eras: Cold War (1956-1990), post-Cold War (1990-2001) and War on Terror (2001 to the present).

Wikileaks: the first cables released in New Zealand

These are the first US embassy cables released in New Zealand, in full except for one name being redacted.

Wikileaks: Leaked US cables spill the beans on NZ ties

NEW ZEALAND’S collaboration with United States intelligence agencies was “fully restored” in August 2009 but both governments decided to keep the decision secret.

Israel’s omniscient ears

Israel’s Urim base in the Negev desert is among the most important and powerful intelligence gathering sites in the world. Yet, until now, its eavesdropping has gone entirely unmentioned

Google case highlights risks in NZ law change

The US Internet company Google threatened to close its Chinese operations last week after discovering Chinese hackers had broken into its Gmail email system, apparently gaining access via specialised interception equipment installed by Google to assist US law enforcement agencies.

Spies on the ground beat ears in the sky

INQUISITIVE MARLBOROUGH locals have outsmarted government attempts to keep the targets of the Waihopai spy station secret – and have discovered that it is eavesdropping on Asian satellites carrying the communications of New Zealand’s friends and trading partners in that region.

FBI role in Big Brother’s sharper eyes, ears

GO TO the heart of one of Telecom or Vodafone’s mobile phone exchanges and you’ll find the whole system – covering a quarter of the country – is run by a single computer, no bigger than a small freezer.
Cables lead off to all the company’s cellphone towers and other parts of the network. A main cable, connecting all those phone users to the world, comes out the top of the computer and passes directly into a unit in the rack above. One cable goes into the unit but two come out: one continuing out to the world, the other coiling off to secret equipment marked “LI” on the system diagrams. “LI” stands for “lawful interception”.

NZ’s cyber spies win new powers

New cyber-monitoring measures have been quietly introduced giving police and Security Intelligence Service officers the power to monitor all aspects of someone’s online life. The measures are the largest expansion of police and SIS surveillance capabilities for decades, and mean that all mobile calls and texts, email, internet surfing and online shopping, chatting and social networking can be monitored anywhere in New Zealand.

Waihopai: our role in international spying

When three Christian protesters deflated a radome at the Waihopai intelligence base 12 days ago, citing the base’s support for the US War on Terror, a chorus of voices ridiculed the suggestion….

A question of intelligence

What information led the police to smash the Urewera ‘terrorist’ training camps? Nicky Hager investigates the intelligence trail which led from cafe conversations to the armed police response. TWO YEARS ago a man quite similar to central characters in the Urewera “terrorism” case purchased a pistol holster on TradeMe for $66. Officers at the Otahuhu [...]

Back Story

The Police “terrorism” case against Maori, peace and environmental activists has its origins long before Operation Eight began last year….

Why America never cut ties with NZ

MICHAEL KING’S excellent Penguin History of New Zealand tells us intelligence sharing between the United States and New Zealand ended in 1985 as part of retaliation for this country’s nuclear-free policy. Thanks to the discovery last week of a secret intelligence report detailing events at that time, we can at last, hopefully, lay this tired old myth to rest.

Australians aware of agent’s connection to Mossad

AUSTRALIAN intelligence officials knew the man at the centre of the Kiwi Israeli spy scandal was a long-time Mossad agent well before he began the New Zealand passport operation…

Mossad man’s history of bungles

Don’t expect the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad to be named in an apology about the Israeli spy scandal, but it was indeed Mossad at the centre of the affair. (This story solved the mystery of two Isreali men caught attempting to obtain false New Zealand passports. Nicky Hager traced them to the Isreali intelligence service, Mossad.)

The Interrogator’s War, Inside the secret war against al Qaeda

The Interrogator’s War, Inside the secret war against al Qaeda, Chris Mackey with Greg Miller, John Murray

review by Nicky Hager

Christchurch Press feature on intelligence

In November last year PM Helen Clark released a new policy on access to our Security Intelligence Service’s old files. The press release said it was to encourage “greater openness”, but in fact she had just instituted possibly the most restrictive intelligence archives policy in the western world… .

Spies like us

A recent story in Britain’s Observer newspaper revealed that US intelligence agencies have been spying intensely on UN Security Council members as the US worked to secure backing for the war in Iraq. You might imagine that New Zealand would disapprove of these high level dirty tricks…

Preface to Japanese edition of Secret Power

I am writing this preface as the United States begins its invasion of Iraq in March 2003. It is a disturbing time to be thinking about the role of intelligence operations in world politics and what it means for those of us who live in countries within the US intelligence alliance.   During a war, [...]

Our secret war

THE war in Afghanistan was fought by intelligence analysts sitting at computers and special force commandos roving in mountains and lowlands…. (This feature was the first expose of New Zealand military activities in Afghanistan and surrounding countries in 2001-2003, activities which until then had mostly remained secret.)

New Zealand and the New Cold War

As soon as the Labour-Alliance Government offered soldiers for the orwellian-sounding “War on Terrorism”, declaring “total support for the approach taken by the United States”, it began drawing New Zealand into the hidden agendas not only of the Afghanistan War, but also of what are, in effect, the early days of a renewed cold war.

In the know

There is nothing surprising about the US intelligence agencies failing to detect and stop the September 11 hijacking attacks. The main role of US intelligence agencies is not defence against threats like terrorism, but advancing US interests elsewhere in the world . . .

“Investigating Intelligence Activities” (speech notes), Global Investigative Journalism Conference, Copenhagen, 26-29 April 2001

Intelligence agencies can appear hopelessly impregnable. The information is inside the walls and we are on the outside. But security is usually more impression than reality. In every government agency (and private companies), no matter how strict the security, the secrets walk in and out of the doors every day as people go to and from work.

Speaking to the European Parliament about the Echelon system

ECHELON Committee, European Parliament 23 & 24 April 2001 Chairman: Mr Hager, you have the floor. Nicky Hager Good morning. I am very pleased to be with your committee, and I think I should have to appear here as one of the people who produced the information about Echelon. I think it’s very important that [...]

The Big Breach – Inside the Secret World of MI6, by Richard Tomlinson

The Big Breach – Inside the Secret World of MI6 by Richard Tomlinson, Harper Collins, 2001

Book review by Nicky Hager

Body of Secrets – anatomy of the ultra-secret National Security Agency from the Cold War through the dawn of the new century, by James Bamford

Body of Secrets – anatomy of the ultra-secret National Security Agency from the Cold War through the dawn of the new century, James Bamford, Doubleday, 2001, 721pp.

Book review by Nicky Hager

A tangled web

The police, Security Intelligence Service and the Government Communications Security Bureau are pushing for major new surveillance powers including the ability to spy on emails. Nicky Hager investigates. THE secretary of the anti-free trade group turns on her computer and types in the security password. Her computer holds all the group’s membership lists and meeting [...]

Echelon – a story about how information spreads (or doesn’t)

My 1996 book Secret Power on New Zealand’s role in the Echelon network was written secretly, as I feared the intelligence agencies would try to block publication of a book based on extensive interviews with their staff….

Researching Echelon

Many people have asked how I uncovered information about Echelon. They are experiences I think are worth sharing….

Ugly factory building hides bugging centre

Written with Anthony Hubbard AN UGLY industrial building in inner-city Wellington is the Security Intelligence Service’s bugging and surveillance centre, the Sunday Star-Times can reveal. The white two-storey building in Kaiwharawhara Rd _ in an industrial area which includes panelbeaters and pet food wholesalers _ houses sophisticated electronic bugging equipment. Cars and utility vans used [...]

Exposing the Global Surveillance System

This article publicised Nicky Hager’s book Secret Power and particularly its revelations about the Echelon surveillance system to an international audience. The article was picked by a European Parliament researcher and prompted a year-long European Parliament investigation into the Echelon system (2000-2001). It received a US journalism award.

Secret Power, New Zealand’s role in the international spy network

Secret Power – Nicky Hager – cover“The most detailed and up-to-date account of the work of any signals intelligence agency in existence… a masterpiece of investigative reporting.” The book contains the first detailed account of the world-wide electronic surveillance system called Echelon, which is used to spy on international communications including e-mails and phone calls. These revelations have been repeated in hundreds of articles, documentaries and movies, and prompted for a year-long European parliament inquiry. The book gives an inside look at New Zealand’s largest intelligence agency and its part in a US-British-Canadian-Australia-New Zealand intelligence alliance, information that helps us understand the workings of all five allied agencies.