New Zealand's prime minister has admitted it was "a little embarrassing" after an official with high-level security clearance was exposed as a fantasist who invented an extraordinary past, according to reports.
Stephen Wilce, the former director of defense technology, resigned in September and the following month a military court found he had embellished his career in the military, education and life in general, The New Zealand Herald reported. However, it also found he had not lied on his resume.
BBC News reported that he had claimed to have competed against the famous Jamaican bobsled team — who featured in the film Cool Runnings — at the Olympics; served as a helicopter pilot with the U.K.'s Prince Andrew; been a British spy; played international rugby for Wales and been a folk music guitarist.
Investigators found that none of this was true, the BBC said. Wilce admitted that he had been making up stories about himself since he was a child.
On Friday, after a government report into how Wilce had passed security checks was published, Prime Minister John Keys said the proper checks had not been made.
"The probability is it's reasonably low, not many people invent the sort of things Wilce did," he said, according to the Herald. "But the system needs to change — it has improved, some changes have been made but not enough to my satisfaction or the state services commissioner."
The intelligence service "just didn't follow up, they should have made phone calls and asked more questions," Keys added.