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‘Might seem far-fetched’: Why Australia is a target for a foreign espionage network

Scott Emerson
Article image for ‘Might seem far-fetched’: Why Australia is a target for a foreign espionage network

The boss of Australia’s domestic intelligence agency ASIO has revealed a major spy ring was disrupted last year.

The group had become close to current and former politicians and police.

Director General of ASIO Mike Burgess said the “nest” of spies were found and removed from Australia, explaining they were from a country not in Australia’s “immediate region”.

“This is just one example and in the last 12 months, a significant number of foreign spies and their proxies have either been removed from Australia or rendered inoperative … I am talking about a number in the double figures,” he said.

“Spies and terrorists should know this: we are looking for you.”

Security expert at Deakin University, Greg Barton, said it suggests a large scale, sophisticated operation, with most people pointing to Russia.

Scott asked why Russia would be interested in Australia.

He said it may seem a bit far-fetched.

“We have shared intelligence that is very valuable, and for that reason, Australia is often seen as a backdoor to that particular western hemisphere intelligence.

“And in particular Russia has a history of seeing Australia as perhaps an easier mark when it comes to picking up some of that intelligence than than trying to do it directly from America.”

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Image: iStock

Scott Emerson
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