ASIO to un­der­take army au­dit

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page -

AUS­TRALIA’S spy agency ASIO will take part in an ur­gent au­dit ofall the army’s rocket launch­ers amid fears stolen weapons may have fallen into the hands ofcrim­i­nal gangs or even ter­ror­ists.

Defence Min­is­ter Bren­dan Nelson or­dered the anal­y­sis af­ter it emerged last week that the defence de­part­ment was in­ves­ti­gat­ing claims rogue Aus­tralian sol­diers may have stolen a num­ber ofanti-tank weapons and sold them to crim­i­nal gangs.

New South Wales counter-ter­ror­ism po­lice and Syd­ney’s Mid­dle East­ern Crime Squad were said to be look­ing for eight rock­ets thought to have gone miss­ing from army stocks some years ago.

De­tails on the make ofthe mis­siles were un­clear, but a num­ber ofre­ports sug­gested they were 66mm rocket launch­ers — a light, one-shot weapon de­signed to be fired from the shoul­der by in­fantry.

The weapon was de­signed by the US Army dur­ing the Cold War and packs enough punch to de­stroy a tank.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, Dr Nelson said the de­part­ment would con­duct a foren­sic au­dit of its rocket stocks and in­tro­duce rad­i­cal mea­sures to se­cure ex­ist­ing weapons.

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