SIS

Should we just make up some Russian spies so we can kick them out because the rest of the world is doing it? Or, would that be a less-than-ideal politicisation of intelligence information? I report, you decide.

The Government is taking a lot of heat for not expelling any Russians. That seems like an odd thing to for people to get worked up about, but there you are.

You can judge how the issue has unfolded by the fact that in a space of 24 hours, Simon Bridges has gone from grave statesman "we must stand as one on this issue" mode:

There is no reason to cancel the passport of any so-called "Jihadi brides". And Chris Lynch is a bit of a moron for suggesting that this should happen.

I have had past occasion to poke the borax a bit at Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne. But I have to say that this week he's been a refreshing breath of sensibility on the shock-horror issue of New Zealanders setting out to become "Jihadi brides".

Can legislation intended to stop people fighting for ISIL/ISIS/IS/Daesh instead stop people fighting against ISIL/ISIS/IS/Daesh?

The whole question of when the State should be able to step in to stop people going overseas to act on their moral principles - in particular, by fighting for them - is a quite fraught one. As I wrote here;

In which a little spy agency finds that sometimes you can always get what you want, even if its not what you need.

[A note to readers - the following account is a purely subjective reimagination of history.

The Gwyn reports reveals much about the failings of the SIS, but it and the government's response to it also reveals much about the political machinations of this Prime Minister

President Harry Truman famously had a piece of walnut wood on his desk in the oval office that read, "The buck stops here", and when the president referred to it in speeches it was to say that he had to make the final decision and take responsibility for what happened on his watch.