Australians woke t0 the rather breathless news that ASIO had smashed a spy ring and was protecting us from unprecedented threats.
… Mr Burgess said ASIO had intercepted and disrupted a foreign intelligence service agent sent as a “sleeper” agent to Australia.
“The agent lay dormant for many years, quietly building community and business links, all the while secretly maintaining contact with his offshore handlers,” he said.
That is no way to talk about former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Yep – basically I’m underwhelmed by the “news”. Here is Greg Sheridan hyperventilating:
If anything, the figures that Burgess discloses suggest he is understating the threat trend. For while the threat may have plateaued in some analytical fashion, the number of terrorist leads ASIO is following is twice what it was a year ago. Twice.
Burgess doesn’t say this but a logical extrapolation must be that if credible terrorist leads continue to proliferate at that rate, there must surely come a time when ASIO and allied agencies will be swamped.
Translation: the Canberra bureaucracy want more money.
Burgess is also absolutely clear that right-wing and racist extremism, with a proclivity for violence and terrorism, is on the rise in Australia.
For example? … Sorry, I forgot. The CPAC Australia conference.
The espionage effort against Australia today, Burgess says, is “unprecedented”. Similarly, the clandestine — and at times corrupt and coercive — effort to interfere in our politics.
You mean like GetUp?
In passages that demand the closest attention from our universities — and to them — Burgess outlines the efforts of some foreign academics working for their governments or their governments’ intelligence agencies to steal information from Australia. Obviously, this is a small minority of people, but the defences against them need to be robust.
One of my all-time favourite criticisms of universities. We’ve been hearing this a lot recently. Okay – so on the one hand universities are full of otherwise unemployable morons teaching courses in post-modern basket weaving but somehow this is where the government hides all its industrial-military secrets? Most university research ends up in the public domain.
Of course, in the end we get to the real story:
Across all threat categories, digital technology, especially encryption, has made ASIO’s work harder. The bad guys know all about encryption.
Look for even more laws that undermine our rights to privacy … while our friends in Canberra continue to harass
taxpayers right-wing extremists and insult our intelligence.