Australian Security Intelligence Organisation

From Academic Kids

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Australia's domestic counterintelligence service, is responsible (in coordination with the Australian Federal Police) for preventing espionage by foreign powers, and is attempting to monitor and prevent terrorist and other political violence. It is approximately equivalent to Britain's counterintelligence service, MI5.

It is often referred to as the Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation, especially in left-wing political literature critical of the organisation, but this name has no official standing. The incorrect expression of the name of the organisation may sometimes be a result of confusion with the Australian Secret Intelligence Service.

It was formed as a spin off of the Commonwealth Police and came to prominence in the 1950s with the Petrov affair. Throughout the 1960s, like other Western intelligence agencies it monitored the activities of Vietnam War protestors and others on the political left (some of whom were involved in espionage for the Soviet Union but many more who were not). The distrust engendered in the Australian Labor Party led to a raid on the ASIO offices by the new Attorney-General, Lionel Murphy in 1972 when Labor won office.

Conspiracy theorists accuse ASIO of being guilty of the Hilton Bombing, which is the only modern act of terrorism on Australian soil.

It was recently revealed that during the Cold War period, ASIO had a mole in its ranks and it was a backdoor to US intelligence. The United States upon realizing this pulled back on the information given to ASIO.

The incompetence of ASIO led to it accusing George Sadil, a Russian interpretter at ASIO for 25 years, as the mole. It was in Winter 1993 when Federal Police arrested George Sadil. However, in 1994 the case against Sadil collapsed. It is believed that ASIO afterwards suspected another individual, now retired, but has not acted. The individual is still living unpunished.


ASIO has more political and judical oversight than its partner agency NZSIS, but the extent and kinds of oversight are not the same as Canada's (CSIS) .

See also

External links

pl:Australian Security Intelligence Organisation


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