Censored US memoir poses questions about NZ forces in Afghanistan

New Zealanders deserve to know what our intelligence operatives are really doing in Afghanistan, Green Party foreign affairs spokesperson Keith Locke said today.

References to New Zealand intelligence operatives and their activities have been removed from United States Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer’s memoir “Operation Dark Heart” by order of the Pentagon


Copies of the uncensored first edition of the book, recently burnt on orders of the Pentagon, refer to “a hybrid team of New Zealand and US SIGINT [signals intelligence] specialists” in Afghanistan.

“From reading the uncensored versions of Lt. Colonel Shaffer’s book it appears electronic intelligence specialists from New Zealand were working in a US National Security Agency (NSA) team, helping intercept communications,” said Mr Locke.

“This raises the question of the extent to which Kiwis are still part of joint communications interception teams to gather information on people to be assassinated,” said Mr Locke.

Shaffer’s memoir indicates the New Zealand operatives were to be kept in the dark as regards the sharing of source information between NSA and the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA). Shaffer said the shared information was to be used to ‘kill, capture or spy on’ enemy suspects.

“The American military’s use of drones in such assassinations has drawn criticism from the United Nations,” said Mr Locke.

“It is also a war crime to be ‘intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such an attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians’ (under the Rome Treaty governing the International Criminal Court).

“There have been reports of US forces launching drone attacks on buildings residences and offices, knowing there may well be such ‘collateral damage’.

“We need to know more about what our intelligence people are doing in Afghanistan in our name,” said Mr Locke.

Link to Time magazine article: