Classified Australian files 'accidentally sold'

Alyssa Bailey
February 1, 2018

The ABC didn't reveal how it received the documents.

The units came at a discount price because they were locked and no one could find the keys. The documents lost by the AFP were from the cabinet's national security committee, which controls Australia's security, intelligence and defence agenda as well as deploying the military.

The Australian government ordered an urgent investigation within an hour after the leak.

In the report, the state-owned broadcaster explained how they obtained the documents, which were inside filing cabinets sold at a Canberra furniture store.

"Nearly all the files are classified, some as "top secret" or "AUSTEO", which means they are to be seen by Australian eyes only", the website said.

After controversial commentator Andrew Bolt was successfully accused of breaking the Racial Discrimination Act in 2011, the Cabinet later asked Bolt about changing the law's "unreasonably restrictive" reach - and "was the only person specifically named as having been consulted", the ABC says, citing draft legislation that is part of the files.

ABC chose to publish some of the files, containing information regarding Australia's counterterrorism strategies, missile upgrades and terror suspect profiles, because "national security and the inner workings of our governments affect the lives of all Australians".

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Chief among the documents' revelations is that Australia's former immigration minister, Scott Morrison - who is now Australia's treasurer - authorized his Immigration Department in 2013 to ask domestic security agency ASIO to delay security checks on asylum-seekers after he was told that 700 people had to be granted permanent protection under Australian law.

The Australian Federal Police lost almost 400 national security files in five years.

As a justification to why they have chosen to publish some of the files, the ABC said that national security and the inner workings of our government affect the lives of all Australians.

The papers also included a document that stated 195 top-secret codeword-protected and sensitive documents had been left in the office of former Labor government minister Penny Wong when Labor lost the 2013 election.

Cabinet documents are not normally released until 20 years after publication.

The government of former Prime Minister John Howard seriously considered removing an individual's right to remain silent when questioned by police, leaked documents showed.

Rory Medcalf, head of the Australian National University's National Security College, described the discarded documents as "very weird and embarrassing" from a national security and political perspective.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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