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Sat Aug 18, 2012, 05:52 PM

Australia's secret Assange files

19 Aug, 2012 02:30 AM

... In a recent freedom of information decision, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed to Fairfax Media the existence of at least two intelligence reports concerning WikiLeaks and Mr Assange from Australia's embassy to the US in February and March this year.

The secret Washington embassy cables, one running to 10 pages, have been withheld from release because they are "intelligence agency documents" ...

Australia's intelligence agencies are represented in Washington and liaise closely with their American counterparts. Other freedom of information decisions have revealed Australian intelligence interest in WikiLeaks and Mr Assange. In December 2010, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, received a "top secret" ASIO briefing on WikiLeaks that was accompanied by media talking points concerning ''WikiLeaks release of ASIO-derived information.''

The deputy secretary at Foreign Affairs and Trade, Gillian Bird, consulted with the Australian Secret Intelligence Service when preparing a briefing about WikiLeaks for the former foreign minister Kevin Rudd in December 2010. The entire brief has been withheld on national security grounds. Other diplomatic cables relating to WikiLeaks and Mr Assange sent from the Washington embassy in late 2010 and 2011 have also been withheld.


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