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NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails

Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up

Whale Oil

A hacker has claimed the scalp of New Zealand Justice Minister Judith Collins by releasing information showing a purported campaign to undermine government officials.

The revelations, revealed last month, came from a hacker known as RawShark (@whaledump), who broke into the email account of conservative blogger Cameron Slater. It was claimed in the book Dirty Politics that New Zealand Prime Minister John Key helped release a Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) document to Slater, whose WhaleOil blog was a purported smear wagon used by the Government.

Hacked emails indicated controversial financier Mark Hotchin paid Slater and fellow conservative blogger Cathy Odgers to write articles that attacked New Zealand's Serious Fraud Office director Adam Feeley and the Financial Markets Authority, which were investigating his company, Stuff.co.nz reported.

Odgers released her own "smoking gun" emails to Fairfax (the publishing company that owns Stuff.NZ), purportedly implicating Collins, who resigned over the allegations after being confronted by Key.

Collins said the allegations were "extremely distressing and disappointing", the paper reported.

New information from RawShark, published today by the NZ Herald, means that Collins could be drawn into a high-level inquiry over the intelligence information released to blogger Slater in an unusually swift Official Information Act (OIA) request.

The publication said it may indicate Slater received a possibly politically motivated tip off - which triggered the OIA request - that Phil Goff, Labour leader at the time, received information from the NZSIS about backpackers thought to be Israeli spies, contrary to his public claims.

It quoted a purported message from Collins concerning Labour's 2011 election prospects that she "can't imagine that they can find someone to take the fall for Phil. When Phil fails, will he then resign from Parliament so we can have a by-election so soon after the election? perhaps he should just go now and then we can save money on a by-election?".

Slater: "Well hopefully I will get my reply to my OIA on Monday. then we will see what happens."

Collins: "Oh dear. All this open government thingy."

Slater: "twewwible."

The hacker RawShark has kept any information about himself or even an alias off the public radar, saying only that he was happy to be considered a teenage hacktivist and claimed his unique motivations would mean he could be quickly caught if he slipped up. ®

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