Did the person who told Labour that John Key (allegedly) mentioned Kim Dotcom's name at the GCSB really break the law?
Barry Soper at Newstalk ZB has broken a story about the source of Labour's information that John Key (allegedly) talked about Kim Dotcom to staff at the Government Communication Security Bureau back in February of this year - well before he claims to have first become aware of the GCSB's role in investigating Dotcom.
I have no idea whether or not Soper's information is true. All I'll say is that if it isn't true, there's a hell of a defamation suit waiting in the wings. And as I said, that's all I'll say.
However, Soper's story has lead a certain blogger whose name need not be mentioned and whose site deserves no link to claim that this leak exposes the person responsible to potential criminal sanction under the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003:
11: Prohibition on unauthorised disclosure of information
(1) A person who is or was an employee of the Bureau may not disclose or use any information gained by or conveyed to the person through the person’s connection with the Bureau except in the strict course of the person’s official duties or as authorised by the Minister.
(2) Every person commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to a fine not exceeding $2,000 who contravenes subsection (1).
To which I say ... nonsense. If an employee of the GCSB telling people "John Key gave a lunchtime talk to us at work and in the course of it mentioned Kim Dotcom's name" is a breach of this section, then telling people "at work today Bob wore a blue tie" also would be, as would telling people "we don't have plunger coffee at work, we have instant."
Because clearly the intent of this section isn't to prevent employees (current or former) from saying anything at all about their employment. Rather, it's intended to prevent such persons from talking about the secret stuff that they may come to learn through working at the Bureau, or that may prejudice the Bureau's ability to conduct its surveillance activities. Neither of which the disclosure that (1) the PM gave a talk to the staff at lunchtime, nor (2) in that talk he (allegedly) mentioned Kim Dotcom's name does. So while passing on information about what the Prime Minister (allegedly) said during lunch with them at the cafe may raise employment issues under the State Sector Act, it just isn't a criminal matter.
But, of course, I may be wrong and the unnamed blogger may have improved his understanding of the law since the last time he tried putting his interpretation skills to the test.