ASIO keeps watch on Islamist extremistsThe unclassified version of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation’s (ASIO) annual report to Parliament shows that in the past year the Agency investigated several hundred mostly Australia-based individuals who were advocates of a violent Islamist ideology.
It managed the security threat posed by individuals working with al-Qaida-affiliated groups; it worked closely with partner Agencies to identify and mitigate the threat to the security of Government information from the 'trusted insider' and degraded the harmful activities of foreign intelligence officers working in Australia against Australian interests.
The report shows ASIO provided Australian Government Agencies with intelligence on people smugglers to support surveillance, interdiction and disruption activities while developing a new cyber defence and cyber protection capability.
On a completely different level it was nominated for a Comcare award based on improvements in return-to-work outcomes and a significant reduction in time off work.
The report stated that throughout 2012-13, Australia’s security environment continued to evolve, with the terrorism threat posed by traditional extremist networks and groups being compounded by that from self-radicalising lone actors.
“The Syrian conflict has resonated strongly in Australia and is likely to have a lasting impact on Australia’s security environment for the foreseeable future,” the report stated.
There were significant numbers of Australians actively involved with extremist groups in Syria.
“The scale and sophistication of cyber espionage conducted against Australian Government and private sector systems has increased significantly,” the report stated.
Attorney-General, George Brandis welcomed the tabling of the ASIO report, noting it was the 30th anniversary of ASIO’s first unclassified Report to Parliament in 1982-1983.
“It provides significant insight into ASIO’s vital mission to protect Australia, its people and interests from threats both here and abroad,” Senator Brandis said.
The unclassified ASIO Report to Parliament 2012-13 can be accessed at www.asio.gov.au
Edition 386, 5 November 2013