Documents leaked by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden from the US National Security Agency (NSA) show New Zealand has used electronic surveillance to spy on its tiny Pacific Island neighbours, the New Zealand Herald reported Thursday.
The material reportedly shows the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) spied on tiny South Pacific nations, including Kiribati, Samoa, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Tonga as well as France’s overseas territories New Caledonia and Tahiti.
The Herald said the information collected was shared with partners in the Five Eyes network – New Zealand, the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia – through the NSA’s XKeyscore computer programme.
A spokeswoman for New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the government “will not be responding to claims made from documents stolen by Edward Snowden.”
“The Snowden documents were taken some time ago, and many are old, out of date, and we can’t discount that some of what is being put forward may even be fabricated,” she said.
The details were published jointly by the New Zealand Herald and The Intercept online news site, which holds the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Snowden.