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…]


John Howard’s Press Conference On Iraq Intelligence

This is the transcript of Prime Minister John Howard’s press conference on Iraq intelligence matters.

Transcript of the press conference given by the Prime Minister, John Howard, at Parliament House, Canberra.

PRIME MINISTER:

Ladies and gentlemen, I have called this news conference principally in respect of the statements made by both sides of politics in the United States regarding American policy on Iraq and the relevance of those to the positions taken by the two sides of politics in Australia. [Read more…]


Greens Renew Call For Royal Commission On Iraq Intelligence

Following the leaking of Colonel Lance Collins’ letter to the Prime Minister concerning intelligence failures, the Australian Greens have renewed their call for a Royal Commission.

Text of a media release from Michael Organ, Australian Greens member for Cunningham in the House of Representatives.

Greens Intelligence Service Royal Commission Bill squarely on point

Michael Organ, Australian Greens Member for CunninghamCunningham MP Michael Organ’s Iraq Royal Commission (Restoring Public Trust in Government) Private Members Bill that he introduced into the Federal Parliament with Greens Senator Bob Brown just last month, now has added urgency as a result of the publication of the intelligence service scandal in today’s Bulletin magazine.

“The report by Captain Martin Toohey has added weight to the view that a Royal Commission is needed into Australia’s critical intelligence services. It is nothing short of alarming but at the same time not surprising that these events have come to light, given the increasing politicisising of the Federal public service. My Bill provides a comprehensive framework allowing the Australian people to get to the bottom of all this once and for all. [Read more…]


Howard Rejects Call For Royal Commission On Intelligence Services

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has rejected a call by a senior security official, Lieutenant Colonel Lance Collins, for a Royal Commission into Australia’s intelligence services.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, John Howard, leaked to The Bulletin magazine, and reported tonight by Laurie Oakes on Channel 9 news, Collins alleges a long list of intelligence failures:

“Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, delay in the (Willie) Brigitte case, warning of the Bali bombing, breakdown of order in the Solomons … the independence of East Timor, death of an intelligence officer in Washington, resumption of Indian nuclear testing, fall of Suharto, the media-reported Indonesian capture of an ASIS officer, the Sandline affair and the testing of sarin nerve agent on an Australian farm by a Japanese religious sect”.

The Prime Minister said tonight that he will provide Lt. Collins with a detailed reply, but rejected the call for an inquiry. [Read more…]