The latest revelation about New Zealand's intelligence doings has stirred little interest.

A report that says Kiwi spies are passing intelligence material on terrorists in Bangladesh to local security forces with a reputation for murder and torture would in previous years have been a major scandal.

But the story yesterday, which you may well have missed, seems to have left eyebrows unraised across the nation.

The news has come from documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.


In a 2013 top-secret "information paper", the NSA highlighted intelligence gathering in Bangladesh as one of the GCSB's "success stories".

The GCSB "provided unique intelligence leads that have enabled successful [counter-terrorism] operations by the Bangladesh State Intelligence Service, CIA and India over the past year".

The Prime Minister's office said in a statement the Snowden documents were old, out of date and could be fakes.

"New Zealand's intelligence agencies have been, and continue to be, a significant contributor to our national security and the security of New Zealanders at home and abroad."

And the security of Bangladeshis by the look of it.

The GCSB said its job was to spy overseas and it does so with authorisation.

Neither of these responses addresses the issue of concern here - that information gathered by New Zealand spies could have been used to deal with people in, as Labour leader Andrew Little puts it, a "barbaric, extra-judicial way".

While it's understandable that only so much can be said about security operations, a denial from officials is sorely needed.


Perhaps though, given the series of spying revelations has failed to excite interest from New Zealanders, the powers that be see no need to deny or justify their actions.