ICCL director Mark Kelly had said the body was “gravely concerned by highly credible reports that GSOC has been subjected to covert surveillance” by persons unknown.
The claim revealed in The Sunday Times of a security analysis by a British company which found that emails, wi-fi, and phone systems in the offices were targeted.
In a last minute effort of cover-up on speculation of Garda involvement,reports have now been changed to say there was “no evidence of Garda misconduct”.
The new report was issued after a two-hour compromise meeting between GSOC chairman Simon O’Brien and Alan Shatter playing hardball as the Fine Gael justice minister.
Initial reports had claimed the equipment used to bug GSOC offices was “government-led technology” but the story has now been changed as a result of pressure and arm twisting, demanding GSOC resignations.
Mr Kelly of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties said: “In this State, two specific agencies, Garda Special Branch and the Defence Forces Intelligence Branch have been granted surveillance powers of the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages. Since both of these agencies are under the ultimate authority of minister, Mr Alan Shatter TD, the ICCL demands that the minister provide unequivocal assurances that neither agency has been involved in spying on GSOC. He said it was “deeply troubling” that the privacy and security of the body entrusted with independent oversight of the police service had been violated.
He also said “In the event that it remains impossible to identify the culprits with the necessary degree of certainty, an inquiry of a judicial nature may be required.” He further stated that the ICCL said the current oversight of surveillance in Ireland was “inadequate”, with no direct parliamentary scrutiny.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan expressed “grave concern” that gardaí were “suspected of complicity in this matter” by GSOC and wanted to know the basis of this suspicion. He has also asked for clarification as to whether GSOC believe a criminal offence had been committed and did the matter require investigation by gardaí.
GSOC statement stated:
In the course of our operations, the Commission has always been conscious of the need for appropriate confidentiality and proper levels of security. The Commission has brought this to the attention of staff from time to time. On two occasions, since commencing operations, security experts have been consulted. A sweep of the building, and tests on the integrity of our telecommunications security, have been undertaken.
A security sweep of GSOC’s offices was conducted on the evenings of 23 to 27 September, 2013. This was conducted by a specialist UK security firm that had been recommended. The overall cost of the security checks undertaken was just under €18,000.
“As well as the general check of our building, the Commission also sought expert advice on the sorts of capabilities that exist in relation to the interception of communications, including telephones.
The investigation was completed on 17 December, 2013. It confirmed the existence of three technical and electronic anomalies.