Blog of the Day
posted by Patrick Walsh, Dec 09, 2013
There has been ongoing fallout after the recent revelation of Australia spying on Indonesia’s President, his wife and senior ministers. Dr Patrick Walsh, Senior Lecturer in Intelligence and Security Studies at CSU, argues that spying is one of the prices liberal democratic countries must pay for liberty.
The last three weeks has seen an explosion of media and political commentary about Australia’s 2009 ‘spying’ on Indonesian senior officials, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife. This revelation is the latest ‘leak’ from a larger set of documents stolen by Snowden from the US secret signals intelligence agency, the National Security Agency (NSA), earlier this year.
The document released originated in Australia’s equivalent to the NSA – then called the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) and now known as the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD). The document shows a list of Indonesian officials and ministers whose communications were intercepted in addition to President Yudhoyono and his wife in 2009.
These revelations have caused a real hiatus in a special relationship with a near neighbour, but much of the early commentary around the issue has been a bit simplistic or doesn’t really delve into the deeper impact Snowden is having on allowing intelligence to do its job of protecting the country. Expressing shock and horror that friends might spy on each other does play well to the media and the public in Indonesia and Australia, but it is not really the most important impact of this revelation.
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