29 May 2009

Defence, media and politics: Defence cleared of spying on its Minister

An Australian Defence Force inquiry cleared allegations that the agency spied on Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon (ALP - Hunter, NSW). The report dated 14 May 2009, which was released today, was written by the Defence Security Authority Intelligence and Security Group. The unclassified version of the ADF report can be found here.

On 26 March 2009, The Canberra Times published a front page article titled "How Defence officials spied on Fitzgibbon." The spy allegations included allegedly accessing Fitzgibbon's computer concerning his relationship with Chinese businesswoman Helen Liu. It has been alleged that there was a possible security implication with Fiztgibbon and Liu's relationship. But the inquiry said the allegations were "entirely without foundation" and no officials improperly accessed Fitzgibbon's computer.

There is a second ongoing inquiry into the allegations which is being conducted by Inspector General of Intelligence and Security Ian Carnell. An ADF media release of today can be found here.

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