Nicky Hager: What an attack on journalism feels like

Nicky Hager describes how police targeted his daughter’s mobile number and even his TradeMe records of tadpole purchases in their hunt for the sources behind “Dirty Politics”. He explains the chilling effect of the police raid and why it should never happen again.

I was in Auckland to give a university lecture about my new book Dirty Politics when the phone rang from my daughter. Our home was full of police. A ten-hour raid had begun to try to identify the Dirty Politics source. By that night all my work equipment had been seized (gone for 17 months), our personal lives had been raked through and gloom hung over a usually happy house.

Over the following three years, we gradually learned more. The police had got 10 months of my bank transactions without a warrant. They made up that they were investigating me for fraud. They said the same to Paypal to get my data there. They went after my airline travel data, phone and email, overseas mail, and even TradeMe records (secret tadpole purchases?) In total 35 police officers were involved in the case. This is more resources than are put into some murder investigations.

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