Australia faced an unprecedented threat of espionage and foreign interference. Agents are targeting more Australian citizens than ever before, the head of the country's national intelligence agency said on Tuesday. AR writes about it.
Several countries have used espionage and foreign interference to advance their interests and undermine Australia's interests, said Mike Burgess, secretary-general of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organization (ASIO).
"They use espionage to secretly understand Australian politics and decision-making, our alliances and partnerships, and our economic and political priorities," Burgess said.
"Based on what ASIO sees, more Australians are being targeted by espionage and foreign interference than at any time in Australia's history - more hostile foreign intelligence services, more spies, more targets, more harm, more ASIO investigations, more ASIO failures ".
The agency has seen a surge in online attacks against people working in Australia's defense industry since September 2021, when US President Joe Biden, then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and then-Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the tripartite agreement , known as AUKUS, to provide Australia with a fleet of submarines powered by US nuclear technology.
"As we advance AUKUS, it is critical that our allies know that we can keep our secrets and keep their secrets," Burgess said.
ASIO uncovered and prevented a plot to potentially recruit Australian journalists. Burgess said the agency had also been tracking former Australian military personnel for several years who were willing to sell their training and experience to foreign governments.