ASIO to undertake army audit
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.