The New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau seeks redress for the mis-representation of its current head spy in the 2009 UK film In the Loop.
In the Loop was a satirical UK film focusing on the lead-up to the Second Iraq War, starring James Gandolfini and David Rasche. The story portrays British bureaucrats colluding with US interests to fabricate evidence to justify the invasion.
The GCSB allege that the role of Toby Wright, played by Chris Addison in the film, was in real life New Zealander and current spy chief Ian Fletcher.
The GCSB's letter has been leaked. Some out of context quotes:
"We hereby request an unconditional apology from your production company, and director Armando Ianucci must re-shoot the relevant scenes replacing Chris Addison with Karl Urban. Toby or not Toby, that is the question."In the Loop director Armando Ianucci has yet to respond to the allegations, and is still in consultation with his legal advisors.
"We take this breach of historical Intellectual Property very seriously. Give us what we request or there will be consequences. Some of our people went to Cambridge University, you know."
Military and security commentator Dr. John Buchan says that these are classic Good Spook, Bad Spook standover tactics.
"The first half of the letter is rational and carries a reasonable argument, but the second half resorts to veiled menaces more reminiscent of a Star Chamber. It really shows how far the GCSB has moved away from SIG-INT," Dr. Buchan said.
"The GCSB is not alone in this trend. Since 9/11, the CIA and MI6 have also become less ears in the field and more Praetorian Guard."