NZSIS to support Inspector-General Afghanistan inquiry

The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) is committed to supporting the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security’s inquiry into certain events in Afghanistan.

The Inspector-General has today released the Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Work Programme 2018-19, which includes the inquiry.

Rebecca Kitteridge, Director-General of Security, said the NZSIS is also committed to supporting the Government Inquiry into Operation Burnham and related matters announced by the New Zealand Attorney-General on 11 April 2018.

"The NZSIS has role in providing support to the New Zealand Defence Force, including in relation to its operations overseas," Ms Kitteridge said.

"Our main efforts in this area relate to force protection, including keeping deployed New Zealanders safe and secure offshore.

"As these inquiries are underway I am limited in what further public comment I can provide.

"Anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding on our role in this area may be interested to read the sections on support to military operations in our Annual Reports."

The Office of the Inspector-General’s Work Programme 2018-19 also includes a range of other areas of interest, several of which relate to the new Intelligence and Security Act 2017.

"I welcome all of the areas listed in the work plan," Ms Kitteridge said.

"The new Act provides a clearer authorising framework for our intelligence activities. It states more clearly what we can do under a warrant, and makes it easier to understand the different warrants we use and the approvals that are required.

"Implementing the new legislation and establishing the systems and processes to support this been a major undertaking.

"The new legislation also allows the NZSIS to enter direct access agreements with other agencies and requires the issue of ministerial policy statements to provide guidance on matters such as obtaining and using publicly available information."

Media contact: 04 819 7104 or media@nzic.govt.nz

Notes to Editors:
NZSIS Annual Reports can be found here. Below are excerpts from the unclassified NZSIS 2013 Annual Report.

Operational Highlights
Following a significant spike in New Zealand Defence Force casualties in August 2012, the Chief of Defence Force requested NZSIS intelligence support in Afghanistan as a result of the heightened threat environment. The initial scoping exercise was determined to be of substantial value, and NZSIS staff were accordingly reassigned from other priorities and deployed into Kabul and Bamyan in support of the PRT up until their scheduled withdrawal in April 2013. This would not have been possible without substantial NZDF assistance.

Foreign Intelligence role
There is a direct linkage between centrally-agreed requirements for intelligence and the foreign intelligence activities of NZSIS. Outputs are primarily in the form of reporting, but may sometimes be very immediate (for example where NZSIS has worked alongside deployed New Zealand forces in Afghanistan).

Afghanistan
The NZSIS responded to a request in August 2012 from the Chief of Defence Force to return to Afghanistan to provide intelligence support to help reduce the risk to New Zealand troops deployed in Afghanistan. NZSIS support remained in Afghanistan until the end of April 2013. Support focused on continued liaison with Afghan National Directorate of Security and Afghan National Security Forces, as well as other partners. This work materially reduced the threat to the NZDF PRT operating in Bamyan.