The annual gathering of Intelligence officials from Britain, U.S. New Zealand, Canada and Australia come in the wake of North Korea upping its noise levels in the Asia-Pacific region.
In a momentous development the results of which will no doubt be shrouded in secret, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Bill English has flown to a mountainous resort city in Queenstown to meet intelligence officials from the “Five Eyes” network, which includes the officials from the U.S. National Security Agency, CIA, and the FBI.
The series of meetings which are scheduled to be held are designed to facilitate intelligence sharing between New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
The gathering of these officials come in the wake of heightened tensions between North Korea and the United States.
Sources in the allied government have termed this annual get-together as routine.
As per analysts, the confirmation of these meetings indicate that these “Five Eyes” countries regularly hold intelligence conferences; a fact that wasn’t widely known, outside intelligence circles, until now.
“I can confirm that it’s Five Eyes, just part of the regular cycle of conferences that are held,” said English to reporters on Monday while declining to name the officials who were attending the meet.
“It’s becoming increasingly obvious, I think, that as you consider these supra-national threats like ISIS that you work together with other countries,” said English.
As per a source at one of the agencies, the fact that that conference was being held in New Zealand was an “annual get-together … a regular meeting of all of the seniors”.
As per Rhys Ball, a former agent of New Zealand’s intelligence service, the likely issues that are going to be discussed would probably include, Russia and its activities, including its attempt to influence voting processes and systems, counter-proliferation of nuclear arms in North Korea and Pakistan, managing diversity in the workplace and the more mundane topic of how to prevent whistleblowers.
“The interesting thing about this conference, I think, is that this might offer some of those senior officials the first opportunity to meet up with some of the new American intelligence officials,” said Ball.
As per a source familiar with the matter at hand, Canadian intelligence officials were also taking part in the meeting.
Multiple sources have disclosed that top officials from the United States’ NSA, CIA, FBI, Canada’s Security Intelligence Service and Communications Security Establishment Canada, Australia’s Security Intelligence Organization, Australian Signals Intelligence Directorate, Britain’s MI-5, MI-6 and Government Communications Headquarters and and New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau and Security Intelligence Service are likely to attend the annual meeting.