There are “glaring inconsistencies” between the Royal Commission of Inquiry and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) internal report into the Christchurch terrorist attack, says the Federation of Islamic Associations of NZ (FIANZ) chairman.
Fifty-one people were killed in shootings carried out by a terroist at Al Noor and Lindwood mosques in Christchurch on March 15, 2019.
The NZSIS report was released yesterday and found systems were “broadly effective” for national security.
One of 14 points in the report covering NZSIS failings was a lack of transparency and data sharing between NZSIS and other agencies including police, FIANZ chairman Abdur Razzaq told Breakfast.
One recommendation from the report is that NZSIS should “produce and disseminate intelligence reporting and NZSIS’s information requirements at the lowest feasible classification”.
The findings and recommendation led Razzaq to question if the attack could have been stopped by increased information sharing between agencies.
“One of the critical ones [failings] is this lack of transparency and data sharing, both of them, with other Government agencies, they gave the reasons, because they were reliant on information from overseas, Five Eyes, and they will keep it confidential,” he told Breakfast.
“But here’s the net fact of that data sharing, I’ll give you the before and after, if there was data sharing, in November, December 2017, this terrorist [Brenton Tarrant] applied for his licence, got his licence and bought four guns.”
“February, Barry, Harry, Tarry, which was the New Zealand Intelligence Service, they looked at the Facebook page and this person was talking threatening language against the Muslim community, [if they] put the two together, God knows where we would have been.”
Razzaq highlighted the arrest of a 27-year-old man earlier this month who was making online threatens to the mosques in Christchurch which were targeted on March 15, 2019.
“Look at it now, not two weeks ago, a person was on the website, 4Chan, police and NZSIS got together with the public reporting to the police and the guy was arrested,” he said.
“Here you have a complete reversal. Once they are cooperating, they find something, when they weren’t cooperating, when they weren’t looking at right-wing extremists, nothing was found.
“We are not surprised they are saying they couldn’t find this person, they weren’t looking for him.”
SIS Director General Rebecca Kitteridge says the agency's strengthened how it identifies and investigates national security threats.