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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.

The President’s statement highlighted the vital role played by intelligence in maintaining security and defeating threats such as terrorism, cyber attacks and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It also underlined the continuing importance of intelligence sharing among like-minded nations.

Intelligence cooperation is a central pillar of Australia’s alliance with the United States, and US officials have consulted Australia closely throughout the review process. President Obama and I have discussed the review and our close cooperation on intelligence.

The United States’ review addresses the particular circumstances of the United States. Each country makes its own decisions about the legal and policy frameworks best suited to its needs.

Australia’s intelligence activities play a vital part in safeguarding Australians, our national security and Australia’s interests. They also benefit our allies, friends and neighbours.

Australia has some of the strongest intelligence oversight arrangements in the world. The 2011 Independent Review of the Intelligence Community reaffirmed that Australia’s legal framework is sound and strikes an appropriate balance between maintaining our security and protecting privacy.

I remain satisfied, as my predecessors have been, with the robust oversight and collection management arrangements that apply to Australia’s intelligence activities.

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