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Fiji Time: 4:09 AM on Friday 25 April

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Intelligence officers are not spies, says Ganilau

Theresa Ralogaivau
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

THE proposed National Intelligence Agency is not a spy organisation, according to the head of Defence, Ratu Epeli Ganilau.

Ratu Epeli was responding to questions put to him on the establishment of the agency.

He was adamant that the use of the word "spying" was inappropriate to the purposes of the agency.

He also emphasised that the organisation would not intrude into the privacy of individuals.

"Let me correct you," he said.

"It's not a spy agency but the strengthening of the Defence Ministry to carry out its work effectively.

"Again espionage is spying we are not spies. People need to be rest assured that this is not a spy agency and no privacy of individuals will be affected."

Ratu Epeli announced the re-establishment of an intelligence agency last week to counter terrorism threats because of the global environment that we live in.

Fiji had a similar body established by the Rabuka government in the early 1990s which was called the Fiji Intelligence Services.

The agency was headed by Colonel Metuisela Mua and was later disbanded by the Labour-led Mahendra Chaudhry government in 1999. Ratu Epeli said this new agency was different.

"Totally different for this one will just strengthen the assessment and national security capability and co-ordination of the Ministry of Defence as the ministry responsible to the national security and defence priority of Government as a whole," he said.