Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Australian Government Investigates Leaking of Secret Documents

Someone Left A Bunch Of Government Secrets In A Filing Cabinet And Now You Can Read Them Government, Telstra NBN negotiations revealed in ABC Cabinet Files leak
Ellis Copeland | 01 February, 2018, 02:25

Thousands of Australian government files, some of them marked "top secret", have been discovered in a pair of discarded filing cabinets purchased at a second-hand shop in the nation's capital, Canberra.

"Nearly 200 top-secret code word protected and sensitive documents were left in the office of senior minister Penny Wong when Labor lost the 2013 election", the ABC says. The classifications include "top secret", "sensitive", "Australian eyes only", and "cabinet-in-confidence".

The documents detail a number of security breaches including the results of an audit showing that the Australian federal police lost almost 400 national security files between 2008 and 2013, while Labor was in government.

Tony Abbott also agrees that someone must be held responsible for the "monumental lapse". But it has used them in recent weeks to report stories that have been embarrassing to the former administrations of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Abbott as well as a number of serving lawmakers.

The existence of the documents and their unlikely discovery was revealed by ABC Wednesday in a series of shock articles.

Under Australian law, cabinet documents are normally sealed until they are released to the public after a period of 20 years has elapsed.

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On Wednesday following the revelations of the source of the leak, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet advised an investigation would be conducted.

The papers left in the office - but not included with the sold filing cabinets - included Middle East defense plans, national security briefs, Afghan war updates, intelligence on Australia's neighbors and details of counterterrorism operations.

"I would also like NSC to consider whether amendments should be made to a suspect's right to remain silent to allow a court to draw adverse inferences in a terrorism trial where an accused relies on evidence which he or she failed to mention when questioned by police", then-Attorney General Philip Ruddock wrote a submission. They've revealed that Rudd knew about the risks of the disastrous 2010 home insulation scheme before people died, that Scott Morrison has been actively trying to slow down the processing of asylum seekers' visa applications, and other enormous stories.

The ABC did not identify who bought the drawers and how the documents found their way to the news organization. "This is one of them", Mr Joyce said.

Rudd told a royal commission into the programme the roll-out would have been delayed had cabinet been warned of the safety risks.

"This is not catastrophically damaging for national security in the sense that that something like the Snowden revelations must have been", Medcalf said, referring to the former US National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden who leaked classified information in 2013.

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