Leaked cable confirms end of US-NZ spy quarrel

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
To regular readers of this blog, this is not so much a revelation, as it is a confirmation. Back in October of 2009, we wrote about a peculiar comment made Hillary Clinton. The United States Secretary of State had told a press conference that “we [the US] are resuming our intelligence-sharing cooperation [with New Zealand], which we think is very significant”. Resuming? When had it been disrupted, and why? Most intelligence observers agree that the only glitch that could have caused the cooperation to end would have been New Zealand’s nuclear ban. It was in 1984 when, under mounting popular pressure, the Labour government of David Lange voted to bar nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships from entering New Zealand territorial waters. At the time, the ban was heralded by the global nuclear disarmament movement as a major victory. But Washington did not see it that way. Successive US administrations pressured Wellington to repeal the nuclear-free legislation and allow US warships to make use of strategic New Zealand ports. Washington’s pressure increased in the years after 9/11, culminating in 2006, when it threatened to cancel a free-trade agreement between the two countries if New Zealand refused to repeal the ban. It appears that, at some point in time, possibly after 9/11, the US actually terminated intelligence sharing between the two countries in order to force New Zealand to comply. But, according to an internal US diplomatic document released this week by WikiLeaks, the Obama Administration decided in secret to resume intelligence cooperation with New Zealand. The latter was fully restored in August of 2009, although Clinton was instructed that the change “should not be acknowledged in public”. Another leaked diplomatic cable on US-NZ relations reveals that US officials in Wellington considered Kiwi former diplomat Charles Finny as the US embassy’s “key” informant on New Zealand affairs. He has since denied that he spied for Washington.

About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

One Response to Leaked cable confirms end of US-NZ spy quarrel

  1. Peter Wallerberger says:

    I personally think you are incorrect in inferring the intelligence
    co – operation between NZ & the US was ‘terminated’ in the 1980’s.
    (Such a threat might well have been used as a form of leverage by the US.)

    It is more likely the level of US intelligence briefings supplied to the New Zealand government at this time
    was at the absolute lowest end of the scale (ie: equivilant to OSINT!!) .Therefore – it is not to
    difficult for the US to ‘fully restore’ the co-operation level to one shared by
    most allies of the United States.

    Despite our countrys independant stance on many issues I really do not think that most American citizens are aware that New Zealand has hosted and supported the operations of vital U.S military and defence base(s) on N.Z territory for more than Forty years now.
    I guess it’s abit like a marriage – “for better or for worse “- I’m not so sure given past events that the U.S has managed to handle the ‘for worse’ part of the deal in an honourable fashion.
    The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has recently done a magnificent job of stepping into the rift much like a marriage councilor and I do believe that
    her timely intevention will prove most successful for both countrys future.

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