SIS director 'concerned' over SIS communications with Thompson and Clark

Director General of the SIS Rebecca Kitteridge.
Director General of the SIS Rebecca Kitteridge. Photo credit: NZSIS

Director General of the Security and Intelligence Service (SIS) Rebecca Kitteridge has raised concern about communications between the SIS and security firm Thompson and Clark.

She said a trove of emails released under the Official Information Act on Tuesday "raise questions in relation to conduct and possible bias in favour of Thompson and Clark" and those questions are now the subject of an internal investigation.

In a letter attached to the OIA release, Ms Kitteridge said: "I expect high standards of professionalism and conduct from all NZSIS staff. The tone of some of the emails being released...raise concerns about the standards of professionalism being displayed."

Though Ms Kitteridge says the SIS did not engage with the firm's private investigation services, emails between staff members from SIS and Thompson and Clark appear to show a close relationship.  

The emails also include a plan for an SIS staff member to visit Southern Response - the Government insurer tasked with handling earthquake claims in Christchurch.

An email from a Thompson and Clark staff member asked an SIS staff member: "fancy doing an overnighter and seeing if I can get you in to do Southern Response - they have indicated that they want to go down the PSR path".

SIS director 'concerned' over SIS communications with Thompson and Clark
Photo credit: SIS

The SIS Protective Security Requirements (PSR) team provides security advice and consultancy to government agencies.

Some of the emails between the staff members have an informal tone, with plans to "grab a beer" and "catch up for lunch". 

Earlier on Tuesday State Services Commissioner (SSC) Peter Hughes announced he'd widened an inquiry into private spying to include all Government departments.

It came after serious questions were raised about contact with Thompson and Clark by the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).

The fresh material came to light in Official Information Act requests to MPI and the SIS.