Australia launches spy agency review amid China concerns

Australian spy agencies will undergo their largest review in decades, officials announced Wednesday, as Canberra seeks to strengthen intelligence powers amid heightened concerns about terrorism and foreign political interference.

A former head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) will spearhead the wide-ranging enquiry, which will look at how national and domestic intelligence agencies share information, their resources and the laws that underpin their work. Continue reading

Australian spy agency says it is facing ‘unprecedented’ espionage threat

 

The primary intelligence agency of Australia says its resources are overextended as the country faces “espionage and foreign interference [of an] unprecedented” scale. In its annual report to the Australian houses of parliament, which was produced on Tuesday, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) says it lacks resources to counter “harmful espionage” and “malicious activity” against the country. The unclassified report is published every year as a summary of a much longer classified report, which is shared with senior government officials and senior civil servants. It is endorsed by ASIO Director Duncan Lewis, who serves as Australia’s Director-General of Security. Continue reading

Agent Albert: MP listed as secret KGB informant in Russian archives

A federal Labor MP was among a list of secret KGB informants, according to newly released Russian intelligence archives.

The former Labor member for the NSW electorate of Hunter, Albert James, is listed as an informant of the Soviet intelligence service in the papers of former KGB archivist and defector Vasili Mitrokhin, which were released by the Churchill College Archive in the United Kingdom last month.

The late Mr James, a former NSW policeman and  Labor MP who served in Federal Parliament from 1960 to 1980, is one of a number of Australians recorded in Mitrokhin’s list of KGB agents and informants active in Australia during the 1960s and 1970s.

Mitrokhin’s notes do not reveal what information James may have  passed to the Soviet Union, but they do confirm his status as a KGB informant, albeit with the insecure codename of ‘‘Albert’’.

James  was highly critical of the United States, strongly opposed Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War and praised Fidel Castro’s communist regime. Continue reading