Our spies at risk in hot spots
AUSTRALIAN spies are heading into jihadi hot spots without weapons or self- defence skills because agencies do not have the power to authorise training.
ASIS intelligence operatives are now more at risk than ever before, a government report warns, with agents working in hostile environments that have a heightened risk of terrorism.
“There have been fundamental changes in ASIS’s operating environment as a result of increasing terrorist activities and the threat of weapons proliferation, and agents should be able to protect themselves in these circumstances,” the Independent Intelligence Review warned.
Some intelligence operators have been given the specialised training clearance since 2001 but only after getting approval by the minister under “strictly limited circumstances”.
The report recommended ASIS be given the authority to train operatives without the need for ministerial approval.
There are strict laws prohibiting intelligence operatives from carrying weapons or even learning how to shoot or defend themselves with hand- tohand combat. Instead, most ASIS operatives are flanked by Australian Special Forces on overseas missions for their protection.