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Expert: Secret services passing the blame for terror attack failings

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Thursday, 11 April 2019, 6:51PM
White supremacists are not viewed on the same level as IS, one security expert says. (Photo / AP)

A former intelligence analyst says that our spy services are trying to pass on responsibility for the Christchurch terror attack. 

A Royal Commission has been ordered to look into the role of our intelligence agencies and whether they should have prevented the mosque shooting that resulted in 50 people being killed. 

After speaking with MP’s earlier today, GCSB director-general Andrew Hampton said that spy agencies' capabilities are misunderstood.

He told media lots of people travel to Pakistan and posting unpleasant things on dodgy websites.

Hampton says despite the accused's behaviour, no flags were raised to make agencies focus on him.

Former intelligence analyst Paul Buchanan told Larry Williams that the GCSB and the SIS are trying to put the onus on the Police. 

"The reason they can do that is, to activate an alert and start looking at an individual such as this Christchurch terrorist, they need to get a tip. For a variety of reasons, the lead has to come from the Police.

"The GCSB can spy on New Zealanders on New Zealand soil if it is asked to do so by another Government agency, not just the Police or the SIS but it could be Immigration or Customs."

Buchanan says that they can do so under current legislation under a security warrant. 

He thinks they may be in the right in passing the buck, but these are also their own failures.

"They don't monitor public social media outlets in the measure that clearly in retrospect they needing to. They are all about encryption, looking at undersea cables, using algorithms to pull out Islamic terrorist language. Their orientation when it comes to terrorism was way over-focused on Islamist and under-focused on domestic, white supremacists." 

However, it is not just a New Zealand issue. Buchanan says that white supremacists are seen as a domestic threat, and are not seen on the same level of IS by Western spy agencies. 

"They are misfits, they are Neo-Nazis, but they are local." Buchanan adds that they aren't considered intelligent enough to organise wide-scale attacks, but that has been proved wrong. 

ON AIR: Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive

4PM - 7PM