THE PRIME MINISTER of New Zealand has apologised to Kim Dotcom after his country's spy agency was found to have behaved rather badly towards him.
The agency, the Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB) was found to have unlawfully spied on Dotcom earlier this month. Dotcom, you see, is a New Zealand citizen and the laws prevent the GCSB from spying on them,.
Prime Minister John Key was contrite about the revelation earlier this month. "I expect our intelligence agencies to operate always within the law. Their operations depend on public trust," he said at the time.
"I look forward to the Inspector-General's inquiry getting to the heart of what took place and what can be done about it. Because this is also a matter for the High Court in its consideration of the Megaupload litigation, I am unable to comment further."
Now that the inquiry is over, and the Inspector General found the GCSB to be at fault, Key is happy to say more, including adding an apology.
"I apologise to Mr Dotcom, I apologise to New Zealanders because every New Zealander that sits within the category of having permanent residency or is a New Zealand citizen is entitled to be protected from the law when it comes to the GCSB, and we failed to provide that appropriate protection for him," he said, according to TVNZ.
"My own view is the agency has let itself down very badly, it essentially failed at the most basic of hurdles, there are a number of times when it could have resolved the issue, and in fact New Zealanders were entitled to believe the agency would have performed a lot better."
In a message on Twitter Dotcom accepted the apology and urged Key to take steps to save him from extradition to the US.
@johnkeypm, I accept your apology. Show your sincerity by supporting a full, transparent & independent inquiry into the entire Mega case.— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) September 27, 2012
In a separate statement Key blamed the failings on human error and oversight, but added that he has assurances that the same mistakes would not be made again.
"It is the GCSB's responsibility to act within the law, and it is hugely disappointing that in this case its actions fell outside the law. I am personally very disappointed that the agency failed to fully understand the workings of its own legislation," he said
"I have received an apology from the Director of the GCSB and an assurance that he will take every step to rebuild public confidence in his organisation." µ