‘Trust ASIO’: Australia passes spook’s charter Part A

Comment: why worry?
The year is 1983, the city is Melbourne, and a spy agency has settled on one of the stupidest training exercises ever to become public knowledge.

Acting (unbelievably) on their own initiative, ASIS trainees staged a faux hostage rescue in what was then the Melbourne Sheraton hotel, and made such an utter shambles of it that their formerly-secret agency got put under intense scrutiny at the Hope Royal Commission.

After threatening the hotel’s manager with weapons, the agents then hopped into cars, one of which got stopped by Victoria Police but the occupants declined to produce ID, and the whole thing became public.

Along the way, Melbourne newspaper The Age published details of the operation – including the agents’ names.

That whole incident would be protectable under the kind of laws that passed the Senate last night. In spite of a bunch of jejune idiots waving both pistols and machine-guns around in a public place, the “special intelligence operation” coverage of the incident would have kept it out of newspapers, backed up by the threat of ten years in the slammer.

Link (The Register)

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