Wednesday, August 14, 2019

After Heather Cooks testimony, will anyone in this region take her and ASIO seriously (assuming they ever did)

by Ganesh Sahathevan

We  would have never known:

Heather Cook, Deputy Director-General of ASIO, said journalism is being used as a cover by foreign intelligence actors.

"These foreign intelligence actors seek to exploit vulnerabilities in our legal system in order to harm Australia's security and to recruit individuals who can assist them in their goals," said ASIO deputy director-general Heather Cook.
"In Australia today, journalism is being used as a cover by foreign intelligence actors. And there is a long history of this worldwide."
The agency noted journalism was a convenient cover for espionage as both occupations rely on access to senior people and sensitive information. Ms Cook said some journalists had reported to ASIO their attempted recruitment by foreign spies.
"In light of this, ASIO has concern about the concept of exemptions for particular classes of people in the community, such as journalists. Broad exemptions for the media and journalists would invite exploitation by foreign intelligence actors and may increase the intelligence threat faced by Australian journalists," she said.

Either very stupid or very cunning ,but one suspects that most "foreign intelligence actors" in this region would consider the fact that Cooks found it useful to  Australian national security to make these statements incredibly stupid. 


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Leaks from within the Australian Intelligence Community, incompetence, real reasons why allies have curtailed intelligence sharing:Nick Warner blaming leaks to journalists a poor attempt at blame shifting

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Director General of National Intelligence Nick WarnerPHOTO: Nick Warner warns other countries will not hand over intelligence if they think it could be leaked. (AAP: Alan Porritt)

Nick Warner will know this to be untrue:

"The unauthorised disclosure or publication of foreign partner information could have serious ramifications, including putting at risk Australia's relationship with those partners and that country," Mr Warner said.

"Put simply, if those partners do not trust Australian intelligence agencies to keep their intelligence information secret, they will not share it."

The real and historical concern for  Australia's foreign intelligence partners has been  with leaks from within the Australian Intelligence community, civil servants and politicians, to other foreign agencies. The following are examples of incidents over the years.

In 1948, after the US government decided Australia was a security risk and banned the sharing of classified information, Britain's Security Service (MI5) assisted in planning a new Australian security intelligence service. The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), was established by the Chifley government on 16 March 1949. It took over the security functions of the Commonwealth Investigation Service and was concerned with any threats of espionage and sabotage, and with subversive actions by people or organisations.
 Then in the 1990s: 

The Office of National Assessments provides overall strategic and diplomatic analysis to the Federal Government.

The Defence Intelligence Organisation, where Jenkins worked, and the Office of National Assessments dealt separately with the CIA.

It was a time the Americans needed Australian expertise to help understand the events which would culminate in the downfall of Soeharto's Indonesian regime.

The CIA became concerned that information was being held back.

PROFESSOR DES BALL: ONA during that period was really quite complacent.

The view in ONA was that not only is Indonesian stability essential to Australian security, but because of our close intelligence and military links with Indonesia, we could pretty much guarantee that Indonesian stability and hence, indirectly, our own security.

And the notion that there was some finite length of time on Soeharto's life or on his reign or on his tenure never seemed to have crept into ONA analysis up until 1998.

ANDREW FOWLER: What did the Americans, and the CIA in particular, think of the kind of analysis they were getting through their major liaison partner in Washington?

PROFESSOR DES BALL: I think it's quite clear that CIA thought that the material coming from ONA was quite inadequate.

It was inadequate because it was insufficiently detailed.

It was inadequate because it tended to be anodyne, rather than coming to sharp conclusions.

And then there is the problem of New Zealand:
And as detailed in the reports below, Australia's leadership also has links to the Chinese Communist Party, and these too are likely to be of concerns to our allies. 

Compare all of the above to Warner's comments about leaks to the media being a threat to intelligence sharing, and it becomes clear that Warner is lying, probably in an attempt to shift blame away from the Australian Intelligence Community. 


see also

Aunty's sneering aside, ASIO effectively kept communists in check

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