SIS worried by radicalised Kiwis returning

  • 09/12/2015
SIS worried by radicalised Kiwis returning

The Security Intelligence Service (SIS) says there's a "realistic possibility" that a New Zealander fighting for the Islamic State (IS) will return in the near future.

SIS director Rebecca Kitteridge says in her annual report, released today, that the number of New Zealanders in Syria and Iraq is likely to increase in the coming year.

"Individuals fighting alongside ISIL are recognised as posing a significant threat upon return to New Zealand or other countries," she says.

"While we have not yet experienced a returnee fighter, there is a realistic possibility that this will occur in the near future."

Ms Kitteridge says IS is continuing to attract large numbers of western followers.

"We have faced a significant step-change in foreign fighter related investigations."

She says in her report she's concerned about the number of New Zealand women going to Syria and Iraq.

Ms Kitteridge revealed to a parliamentary committee yesterday that some women had gone to the Middle East to become jihadi brides.

That was confirmed by Prime Minister John Key.

"The facts, as we know them, point to them having gone as jihadi bridges," he told reporters.

In her report, Ms Kitteridge says foreign intelligence services (FIS) routinely seek unauthorised access to unauthorised information.

"The FIS threat is multi-dimensional and includes traditional human-based intelligence operations including espionage, to highly sophisticated cyber espionage operations," she says.

"Their success threatens New Zealand's defence, intelligence, scientific and technical capabilities and intellectual property, trade and international relations."