What is the Security Intelligence Service (SIS)?
The Security Intelligence Service (SIS) is New Zealand’s spy service for the government. It was established during the Cold War and is supposed to keep New Zealand safe from threats to our national security.
National Party Leader John Key accidentally leaked their involvement in the October 15 raids when he said he had been briefed about the forthcoming raids before he went overseas a few days before the October 15 raids. The SIS say their involvement was helping gather the “intelligence” before the raids took place.
The SIS has a poor track record. Early in its life an SIS agent lost a briefcase in Wellington. It was handed to the local newspaper who revealed to readers that inside were some secret documents, a cold pie and a copy of Penthouse magazine.
In the meantime the SIS failed to stop New Zealand’s only terrorist attack since the SIS began. This was the bombing of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior by the French Secret Service in Auckland harbour. One man – photographer Fernando Pereira - was killed. The SIS also failed
It has however been involved in the harassment of activists. In 1981 during the Springbok tour of New Zealand the SIS released a list of “radicals and subversives” they claimed were influencing the anti-tour movement. Their attempt to smear the movement failed.
In 1996 an SIS agent was caught out as he was searching the house of Christchurch anti-globalisation activist Aziz Choudry. The matter was eventually settled out of court after the search was declared illegal.
In the last three years the SIS has issued a security risk certificate against the Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui. They have had to withdraw the certificate after being unable to substantiate their claims. The only evidence they produced was a printout from a right-wing conspiracy website based in the US.