Government fails to make case for SIS credibility

Green MP Keith Locke today called for the SIS “secret file” on refugee Ahmed Zaoui to be either subjected to independent scrutiny or abandoned as being totally without credibility.

“The Refugee Status Appeals Authority has so comprehensively discredited the information that the SIS supplied to it that we can have no confidence in the secret SIS evidence accompanying the security risk certificate applied to Mr Zaoui,” Mr Locke said today.

“I gave Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel the opportunity in Parliament today to defend the quality of information supplied to the Authority by the SIS. Her best response was to categorise the SIS submission as ‘open source’, implying somehow that an analysis of it would be of little consequence.

“In fact, the Authority devoted nine pages to pulling apart the SIS submission, which clearly tried to link Mr Zaoui with violent acts in Algeria, the armed Islamic group GIA and even al Qaeda.

“In the Authority’s view, the SIS submission had a tendency to reflect ‘the official biases of the Algerian regime.’

“How can the Government claim that the classified material on Mr Zaoui supplied by the SIS should be taken seriously, when virtually all the unclassified material supplied by it can’t be relied on?

“Helen Clark’s statement yesterday that it’s ‘a bit rough for the SIS to be accused of somehow being responsible for the quality of the information’ it provided would be laughable, if it did not have such serious implications for Mr Zaoui and for the civil liberties of all New Zealanders,” said Mr Locke.

“The SIS has lost all credibility in this case and its reports should have no weight in determining the fate of Ahmed Zaoui.”