The "Over the Top" Tactics Used in Kim Dotcom Raid

John Campbell of Campbell Live at TV3 News in New Zealand aired this 10 minute segment last night with footage from the Kim Dotcom raid played in court and live clips of Kim Dotcom's testimony describing his arrest and mistreatment.

CCTV footage showed two helicopters landing in quick succession at the sprawling home, formerly known as the Chrisco mansion, north of Auckland, in January. Five armed men exited each helicopter and then three vans and a car quickly arrived disgorging more armed men, some with dogs.

One New Zealand police officer said he had questioned the threat assessment at the time as being "over the top" for a fraud case, according to a document introduced in hearings this week.[More...]

Was the FBI at the raid or not? Previously, we'd been told FBI agents were in New Zealand that week, but were not at the raid (they were watching from Washington at the FBI’s Multi Agency Command Centre where they could see all the raids taking place globally at the same time, according to this police newsletter from February .) But Campbell now says FBI were there.

The image below is a screen grab from this video of the four Megaupload defendants in jail the day after the raid. At about 39 to 41 seconds in, you see the FBI agent enter a room with others.(Perhaps it's the courtroom?)

In the police newsletter in February, Deputy Inspector Grant Womald said:

Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett, New Zealand Police Liaison Officer in Washington, monitored termination activities around the world from the FBI’s Multi Agency Command Centre. “Feedback on the New Zealand operation has been extremely positive from our international law enforcement partners including the FBI and US Department of Justice,” he says.

Here's Womald's first press conferenceon the case. Here's the Justice Department press release on the arrests and charges.

Campbell interviewed Assistant Police Commissioner Malcolm Burgess months ago on the threat risk assessment and why they used the Special Tactics Group.

Here's Campbell's video of bodyguard Wayne Temparo taking him through the home, showing the locked gun safe in the secure room where Kim Dotcom was staying. (Article here)The weapon was inside the gun safe, which had a key in the door, and Kim Dotcom was sitting 30 feet away behind a pillar. Police acknowledge he wasn't resisting arrest. Why did they need to use force on him?

The New Zealand Herald has this article today on yesterday's testimony.

The court heard the primary objective of the raid was to stop Dotcom destroying evidence. The sergeant had earlier confirmed his notes, which stated Dotcom had a "device to delete servers around the world" - information he said came from the FBI.

The sergeant said there were concerns about a "safe room" somewhere inside the mansion. When asked why the STG had not sought more detailed plans of the mansion from the local council, he said: "Operational security was identified as a higher priority. We were prevented from going and sourcing more detailed plans."

More from Ars Technica here. The hearing continues today.

Here's a little slideshow with screengrabs from earlier news videos.

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