Email exchanges between somebody at Thompson and Clark and a manager at the SIS's Protective Security branch have prompted an internal investigation after SIS head Rebecca Kitteridge said they raised concerns about professionalism and possible bias toward Thompson and Clark.
The emails show a manager in the SIS referred an agency which wanted a "bug sweep" to Thompson and Clark after asking TCIL if they did that service.
TCIL later emailed the SIS person back saying "thanks for the recommendation, we are doing this job ... tomorrow night."
In response the SIS manager said to let him know how it went. "I am glad you guys can do it too as I often get asked for that kind of service."
In April 2017, the SIS manager also appeared to give TCIL a heads-up that work was coming up with the Ministry of Health and DHBs and passed on information to the Ministry of Health for them.
The TCIL staffer had said they were keen for more work "if you have any leads" and the SIS manager replied "the DHBs will be the next cabs off the rank."
He asked for details on what TCIL already did for the Ministry of Health "and I will forward that to the man. That way the conversations can be had in a more informed manner."
He subsquently said he had forwarded that information to the Ministry of Health – and again contacted the Ministry three weeks later after TCIL asked if there had been any word.
The material forwarded included TCIL's contract to monitor and enforce the laser pointer legislation but TCIL had said it had done other work as well, including on psychoactive substances. In his email, the manager said "maybe they did more (out of scope) and I think quite keen to get into the DHB space".
The emails also include exchanges in which TCIL tries to get included in forums being run by the SIS' Protective Security Forum group – the eventual inclusion of which later ruffled feathers among other government agencies.
After an initial attempt to get into a forum in July 2016 was rebuffed, the TCIL staffer asked for help from the same manager.
READ THE EMAILS HERE:
The SIS manager advised him or her to request late entry and to mention his name as well as the agencies they provided security services for, including Otakaro, the energy industry and Southern Response. "If there are any core government agencies you do work for, name drop."
He also promised to follow up with an organiser: "I will ask him if you have contacted him and suggest that he accepts the request."
That attempt was unsuccessful but TCIL again contacted the manager about future forums and was included in one in October 2016 and others subsequent to that.
The attendance of TCIL and other "non-government" figures at those forums clearly ruffled feathers.
A TCIL staffer later asked the SIS manager for contact details for someone who had spoken at the forum to have "a cuppa with her, spot of networking".
The PSR manager checked if he wanted information or was "touting for business" and advised him to use other contacts to contact her.
"If it were found that you have used the PSR forum to get entry into agencies then you might find you are not invited to any more."
He said they had already had to defend including non-government groups in the forums.
"We are often called out for it and that particular event created a bit of discussion about non Govt attendees and the potential for them to use it as marketing collateral."
Kitteridge had also flagged concerns about the tone and professionalism of the communication between the manager and Thompson and Clark staffer.
The emails indicated the two were good friends, with a string of informal notes, including arrangements to meet for coffee "just like old times", notes on a ski-ing holiday, and arrangements to meet for a beer "in Jaffaland".