The tribulations of Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn as revealed this week speak most unfavourably about the attitudes of our intelligence-gathering agencies.

The watchdog for New Zealand's spy agencies has been hindered for months while trying to view secret emails about a controversial NZSAS raid in Afghanistan. Gwyn was eventually given access to "several tens of thousands of emails" - only to then discover another 115,000 were apparently "overlooked".

Gwyn has since been advised how the emails were missed and is prepared to use a legal summons should they continue to frustrate her legal duty.

To suggest someone with such a no-nonsense background - and good enough to be appointed and then reappointed - would need assistance with "balancing operational needs" is a stretch, perhaps too far.

The carefully