GCSB reveals counter-terrorism operations and concerns over white identity extremism

GCSB reveals counter-terrorism operations and concerns over white identity extremism

New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) has revealed some of its usually covert counter-terrorism work.

Speaking at parliament on Monday, chief spy Andrew Hampton disclosed that three recent operations had been carried out, including one involving an individual who made bomb threats last year with an implied ideological motivation.

"This is not something we've talked about before in public, one operation involved an individual making bomb threats last year with an implied ideological motivation," Hampton said. 

"Another operation involved a New Zealand-based adherent to white identity violent extremism who was displaying behaviour of increasing concern online. The third involved an individual claiming to be a white identity violent extremist making threats to use firearms and explosives at a public event."

In addition to these threats, the Security Intelligence Service has raised concerns about the risk of foreign interference and espionage in New Zealand. 

Speaking to Tova O'Brien on Tuesday morning, Paul Spoonley, Director of the Centre for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, was asked about the seriousness of these threats and whether they posed an imminent danger.

"The last one was the threat to bomb a graduation ceremony at the University of Otago, it would have been a public event and the possibility was that there would be multiple casualties. The threat is always there," Spoonley said.

One of the cases Hampton raised while speaking at parliament was regarding white supremacy. O'Brien asked Spoonley if white supremacy is now the prevailing extreme ideology in New Zealand.

"It is in terms of these extremist groups.

"I'm afraid over the weekend we saw evidence of it at the rallies concerning that transphobic speaker, and it looks as though there are some new groups that began to appear amongst those who are supporting her right to speak and their views."

Listen to the full interview between Paul Spoonley and Tova above.

You can also download the full interview on the Tova podcast, and listen on the go. 

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