The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has accepted an unreserved apology from Hon Phil Goff MP for disclosing some of the contents of her recent Report into the Release of Information by the NZSIS in July and August 2011 to media prior to its publication.
The Inspector-General will not take the matter any further.
All witnesses, including Mr Goff, were subject to a confidentiality order of the Inspector-General. The order was made to ensure fairness and the integrity of the inquiry. The disclosure of the report by Mr Goff was in breach of the order.
While no classified information was disclosed, Mr Goff’s disclosure led to premature media reporting on the content of the report, to the detriment of other witnesses to the inquiry, particularly those adversely affected by the report. Ms Gwyn said this was unfair to those witnesses, and she would be taking steps to ensure there was greater clarity around release protocols and legal obligations for future reports.
“I have met with Mr Goff and received a full and unreserved apology, in person and in writing. I have accepted that apology, and do not intend to take this matter further.”
Ms Gwyn would also be writing to media organisations that published details of the report to remind them of obligations under the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act.
“The Inspector-General has significant powers to inquire into sensitive matters, and make adverse findings which may have a material impact on individuals. The obligations around confidentality are necessary to ensure natural justice and fairness. It is important these obligations are respected.”
The Inspector-General is not available for further comment.
The full report is available at NZSIS release of information July-August 2011 [PDF, 1.4 MB]