Articles on ASIO

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George Brandis says the government will adopt the proposed changes to anti-terror laws that criminalise disclosure. AAP/Lukas Coch

Despite changes, terror law will still curb press freedom

Until a public interest exemption is included in Section 35P, the offence will continue to impact press freedom and have a chilling effect on media organisations’ ability to report on ASIO’s activities.
In a new book, author Frank Moorhouse calls for a new compact between intelligence agency ASIO and Australian society. AAP/Dan Peled

Book review: Australia Under Surveillance

Frank Moorhouse is known primarily – but not exclusively – for his award-winning fiction such as the Edith Triology. In more recent times, he has turned his considerable talents to the role of the Australian…
ASIO and Australia’s other intelligence agencies need strong oversight to avoid the type of behaviour that went unchecked in the US after 9/11. AAP/Alan Porritt

Only in America? Australia needs safeguards against torture too

Earlier this week, the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its report on the CIA’s post-9/11 program of detaining and interrogating suspected terrorists during the Bush administration…
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has raised the possibility of banning radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Grattan on Friday: Banning Hizb ut-Tahrir would probably be counter-productive – even if it were possible

Fairfax journalist Tony Wright tweeted on Thursday: “In-air bombing operational details against enemy on the bullhorn, on-water operational matters against leaky boats at 6 fathoms.” It’s a pretty accurate…
Vladimir and Evdokia Petrov’s defection was ASIO’s big counter-espionage success of the cold war. Supplied

ASIO history: chasing Russian spies and local communists

Recently ASIO has taken on a quite public face in the discussion about fighting terrorism. Its immediate past chief, David Irvine, and its new head, Duncan Lewis, have appeared at ministerial news conferences…
Attorney-General George Brandis has introduced laws that cast a blanket of secrecy over the use and potential abuse of sweeping national security powers. AAP/Lukas Coch

National security gags on media force us to trust state will do no wrong

It has been said that the line between good investigative reporting and inappropriate journalistic prying is never clearly drawn. Journalists usually complain long and hard when governments intervene to…
So broad is the amendment bill’s definition of computer that a warrant could arguably give ASIO access to all computers connected via the internet. AAP/Dan Peled

Sweeping security law would have computer users surrender privacy

Parliament is about to consider a range of changes to Australia’s security laws introduced by the Abbott government during its last sitting. The most controversial measures in the National Security Legislation…
Tony Abbott has deployed his senior ministers, including Julie Bishop and George Brandis, to get out the government’s anti-terrorism message. AAP/Lukas Coch

First rule of fighting terrorists: don’t do their job for them

It appears that Australia might be put on a higher threat alert level. ASIO director-general David Irvine’s comments on a possible increase in the terrorism threat level (which came into force in 2003…
Retiring, but not shy: outgoing ASIO Director-General David Irvine has warned Australia may need to lift its terrorism alert level. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

What raising Australia’s terrorism alert to high would mean for you

Why does Australia have a terrorism alert system? And what does it mean if the alert level is increased? The National Terrorism Public Alert System is a way of communicating to the public what the current…
Journalists face long jail terms for reporting information relating to ‘special intelligence operations’, as declared by ASIO, under the government’s proposed reforms. AAP/Lukas Coch

National security bills compound existing threats to media freedom

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) will publish its report on the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 (Cth) sometime during this sitting of parliament…
David Irvine has admitted ASIO needs to recruit more Muslim officers. AAP/Lukas Coch

Grattan on Friday: In Conversation with ASIO chief David Irvine

David Irvine retires next month after five years as Director-General of Security, heading ASIO; before that he was head of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, which spies abroad. He’s spent more…
The importance of public awareness of national security changes at the legislative stage is crucial as, once in force, these schemes are often shrouded in secrecy. AAP/Lukas Coch

National security bill gives ASIO more powers and a tighter gag

The Abbott government has unveiled the first in what is expected to be a suite of reforms aimed at strengthening Australia’s national security. The bill introduced into the Senate yesterday by attorney-general…
The role of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has long been subject to political debate and controversy. AAP/Andrew Brownbill

Persons of Interest revives Cold War politics and the ASIO debate

The screening of the documentary series Persons of Interest on SBS, in which former targets of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) surveillance examine their files, has prompted some…
Recent revelations of Australia’s intelligence practices have brought oversight issues into sharp focus. What mechanisms are there to hold these agencies to account? AAP/Dan Peled

Intelligence oversight and accountability: who watches the watchers?

The recent revelations of alleged telephone interception of Indonesian politicians, espionage in East Timor and raids in Canberra have raised more questions than they have answered about Australia’s intelligence…
For the Australian Signals Directorate – as with all organisations in the spying business – the secret of success is in keeping your success secret. AAP/Lukas Coch

Protecting secrets: inside Australia’s mysterious spy agency

Much like in the movie Casablanca, there is much huffing and shaking of heads about activities of the nation’s electronic spy agency, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), after allegations emerged…
The aftermath of the Bali bombing in 2002 that killed dozens of Australians. Do our intelligence services need further investment to prevent such tragedies from occurring again? AAP/Dean Lewins

Not so smart: the Coalition intelligence review repeats old mistakes

The Coalition has promised it will “rebuild” Australia’s frontline national security agencies if it wins government at the upcoming election. Shadow attorney general spokesman George Brandis has laid out…

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