Bullying and bugging in East Timor.

The bugging by Australian Security Intelligence Service (ASIS) of an East Timorese cabinet meeting in 2004 will not go away. The event was so outrageous it is not surprising that it continues to resurface. Only a Royal Commission or a Judicial Review can redress some of the damage that has been done to Australia’s reputation, our intelligence agencies and most importantly of all, in our relations with our near neighbour, East Timor.

There have been new revelations and continual cover-ups. As Senator Nick Xenophon has said on the ABC ‘This is a massive scandal”.

I continue to be concerned about the competence of our intelligence services and the inability of all Australian governments to effectively supervise their secret operations. The supervising agency is too small to be effective. My experience is also that the supervisors including parliamentary committees, become part of the ‘intelligence club’. Journalists and so called academics ‘experts’ who report on our intelligence services are also invariably part of the same club.

Our intelligence agencies have greatly expanded resources and powers but it is very hard to assess their competence. The bugging in East Timor, even though eleven years ago, remains a blight.

See link below to ABC interview with Emma Alberici and Senator Nick Xenophon.




John Laurence Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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