Thursday, February 01, 2018

Absurd Files and Draconian Security Demands

ASIO Reclaiming Files

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has described the incident as "absurd".

"I can't believe it happened, I mean all these spies who are meant to be spying on us — they should just be going shopping in second-hand furniture stores in Canberra," Mr Shorten told ABC Comedy's Tonightly program.

"You shouldn't be able to find information out because someone didn't check a set of filing cabinets, then they sold it at a second-hand government furniture sale.
"Then apparently these filing cabinets were sitting in the shop for some months, and someone decided to get the drill out to break into this one.

Wilkie calls for independent probe

Senior public servants, both past and present, have expressed surprise about the almost comical situation of locked, full filing cabinets being allowed into the public domain.
Independent MP and former intelligence analyst Andrew Wilkie called for an independent investigation.

"It's not good enough that the department that might be responsible for the blunder is now investigating itself," he said.

"I was very surprised to read in the media this morning that the AFP have not begun an investigation."

The breach has further highlighted concerns about the scope of new espionage laws being considered by Federal Parliament.

Media organisations argue the new laws would make publishing and reporting on such documents illegal.

"From what I've seen, the documents in those filing cabinets were classified, secret classified documents," Paul Murphy, from the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance told the ABC's 7:30 program.

"Therefore under this bill they are defined as inherently harmful information.

"So the communicating of them, any of those documents that were labelled top secret, would come under an aggravated offence with a maximum penalty of 20 years for the journalist and potentially other people in the media organisation for communicating those documents."

The legislation is currently being considered by parliament's intelligence and security committee.

No comments: