Terrorism Threats: ASIO Director-General David Irvine Addresses National Press Club

The Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, David Irvine, has addressed the National Press Club on the threats posed by espionage and terrorism.

Irvine

Irvine maintained that the threats to Australia are real, but manageable with vigilance and updated intelligence capabilities. He defended the need for a security service, “governed by law with appropriate safeguards”, and argued against any revamping of the existing regime of checks and balances on ASIO. [Read more…]


Abbott Satisfied With Oversight Of Australian Intelligence Activities

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he is “satisfied” with the “robust” oversight of Australia’s intelligence activities.

Responding to President Obama’s announcement overnight of reforms to the rules governing the National Security Agency, Abbott said the US review “addresses the particular circumstances of the United States”.

“Australia has some of the strongest intelligence oversight arrangements in the world,” Abbott said, claiming it “strikes an appropriate balance between maintaining our security and protecting privacy.”

Text of media release from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

United States Intelligence Review

In a statement on 17 January, President Obama announced the outcomes of the Administration’s review of US signals intelligence activities. [Read more…]


Obama Steers A Middle Course On Intelligence Activities

President Barack Obama will require intelligence agencies to obtain permission from a secret court before accessing telephone data.

Obama

In a speech to officials at the Justice Department in Washington DC, Obama announced that he is winding back the government’s surveillance at home and abroad. He announced a series of oversight measures that will govern the collection of signals intelligence.

There will be stricter rules on the privacy of foreigners, particularly heads of state, with a public advocate to represent privacy concerns at a secret intelligence court. [Read more…]


Clive Palmer’s First Parliamentary Question: Is My Phone Bugged?

In his first question in the House of Representatives, Clive Palmer has asked whether his phone is bugged.

Revelations of Australian intelligence agencies tapping the phones of the Indonesian president and his wife have resulted in a crisis in Australia’s relations with Indonesia. Debate continues in some quarters around the role played by the ABC in publishing intelligence documents stolen by Edward Snowden.

Palmer asked whether “any crossbench members, including me, are having their phones and emails tapped” by any State or Commonwealth agencies.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott played a dead bat in his response, reiterating his earlier statements that the government does not comment on intelligence matters, although he pointed out that proper authorisation is required for phone tapping.

Palmer delivered his maiden speech earlier this week.

  • Watch Palmer’s questions (3m)

Abbott Statement On Indonesian Intelligence Operations; Regrets But Does Not Apologise

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made a statement to the House of Representatives on Indonesia and intelligence operations.

Abbott

Abbott’s remarks follow yesterday’s revelations of Australian phone-tapping of Indonesian officials, including President Yudhoyono and his wife. The Indonesian Ambassador to Australia was withdrawn late yesterday.

“I sincerely regret any embarrassment that recent media reports have caused [President Yudhoyono],” Abbott told the House. “It is in everyones’s interests – Indonesia’s no less than Australia’s – that cool heads prevail and that our relationship grows closer, not more distant.” [Read more…]


Gillard Releases National Security Strategy

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has released the government’s National Security Strategy.

The Security Strategy document appears at the end of this page.

In a speech at the Australian National University, Gillard said the strategy “highlights the dramatic economic and strategic shift towards the Asia-Pacific region and provides a blueprint for national security over the next decade”. [Read more…]