=====================NDONESIA BUGGED AUSTRALIAN =============================
In an extraordinary admission Indonesia says it bugged Australia’s embassy in Jakarta during the East Timor crisis and has tried to recruit Australians as spies.
Retiring Indonesian intelligence chief General Abdullah Mahmud Hendropriyono has claimed his agency tapped Australian civil and military communications and politicians’ phone calls.
His agency’s attempt to recruit Australians to spy for Indonesia had been unsuccessful, he said.
But former intelligence service officer David Reed repeated a claim that Australians were working for the Indonesians.
“They would have been pulling plum product out of Canberra,” he told Channel Nine’s Sunday program.
“This goes into the heart of our intelligence system, and I mean, including, and I specifically add this, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS).”
The Indonesian claims are unusual in that while everyone knows Indonesia and Australia spy on each other, they rarely admit that they do it.
Leaks during the East Timor operation in 1999 revealed that Australia was comprehensively eavesdropping on Indonesian military communications.
AdvertisementGeneral Hendropriyono, who headed the Badan Intelijen Negara under president Megawati Soekarnoputri’s government, said it was well known that governments tapped each other’s communications and Indonesia had much evidence its embassies abroad were bugged.
“Here, also, we did the same thing. We want to know what is really discussed about us,” he told Sunday .
“We can say this is a public secret. You know, secret but the whole public knows. This is quite common intelligence activity.”
General Hendropriyono said he presumed Australia did the same thing to Indonesia. “She is silly if she doesn’t do that, you know.”
Asked if Indonesian intelligence had been able to recruit anyone in Australia to work for it, he said: “Almost, but not yet.”
He said the spying had ended because Indonesia and Jakarta now faced a common enemy in global terrorism.
Mr Reed, a former officer in the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) which gathers intelligence overseas, repeated his claim that Australians were working for the Indonesians.
Mr Reed said he would only tell what he knew to a royal commission on the intelligence agencies if one were set up. Defence specialist Alan Behm said that if Mr Reed had such evidence he should pass it on to the police or ASIO.
Mr Behm, who was head of the international policy division of the Australian Defence Force during the Timor crisis, said he was not surprised by the claims though there seemed to be “a bit of braggadocio” about them.
Indonesia and Australia spied on each other during the East Timor crisis.
He said Indonesia would certainly have wanted to find out, for example, what forces Australia was sending to East Timor.
Mr Behm said Australia was also watching Indonesia.
Australia had a big military staff in Jakarta and part of its job was to keep an eye on the senior Indonesian military leadership.
“We kept a very good eye on them,” he said.
“In the same way that we work everybody else, they worked us. They sought to talk to us about all sorts of things. They’d talk to everybody.
“To believe that because they had a fairly active information or intelligence gathering program that they had penetrated in some way the Australian Government is a pretty long hop, skip and jump.”
Indonesian ambassador Imron Cotan said he could not comment and referred The Age to General Hendropriyono.
Prime Minister John Howard said later he could neither confirm nor deny claims about national security.
He said Australian democracy was safe, its policy on East Timor was 100 per cent correct and its relations with Indonesia remained very strong.
A spokesman for Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said it was not the first time that foreign intelligence agencies had made such claims.
“But we just don’t comment on intelligence matters.”
Opposition Foreign Affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said he would seek a briefing from the Government on the general’s claims.
end of the result?==============where is east timor NOW?
=========SHE IS UNDER AUSTRALIAN PROTECTION================