Thursday, July 25, 2013

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was the beneficiary of British spying on Indonesian President

Rudd given G20 Indonesia spy report

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was the beneficiary of British spying on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the 2009 G20 summit meeting in London, according to Australian intelligence and foreign affairs sources. 

Officials familiar with Australia's participation in the April 2009 heads of government meeting said the Australian delegation received ''excellent intelligence support'' including ''much information'' shared by the United Kingdom and the US.

''[Prime Minister] Rudd had a keen appetite for intelligence, especially on the Asia-Pacific leaders - Yudhoyono, [Indian Prime Minister] Manmoham Singh, and [former Chinese president] Hu Jintao,'' one intelligence source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Intelligence and foreign affairs sources have told Fairfax Media of the importance of intelligence received from US and British agencies to support Australia's diplomatic objectives including the campaign to win a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

''Without intelligence support, overwhelmingly provided by US capabilities, we would not have won the seat,'' a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officer said on the basis of confidentiality.

Documents released to Fairfax Media under freedom of information laws show former prime minister Julia Gillard was briefed on last month's disclosures by US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden that British and American intelligence targeted foreign leaders and officials attending the 2009 G20 meetings in London.

Defence, Intelligence and Information Sharing Division head Richard Sadleir briefed Ms Gillard on June 17, immediately after The Guardian newspaper reported that documents leaked by Mr Snowden had revealed the British signals intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had employed ''ground-breaking intelligence capabilities'' to intercept the communications.

GCHQ's intelligence collection capabilities at the summit included penetrating the security of delegates' BlackBerry smartphones to monitor emails and phone calls, and setting up internet cafes where an email interception program and key-logging software spied on delegates' computer use.

The documents disclosed by Mr Snowden revealed GCHQ analysts were able to produce ''a live picture of who was talking to who that updated constantly and automatically'' and that British ministers and officials were briefed so intelligence could be used ''to influence events on the ground taking place just minutes or hours later''.

Although The Guardian's report focused on intelligence collection on Turkey and South Africa and did not identify Indonesia as a target, Australian sources have said Australia's neighbour was ''a priority for us, always''.

The declassified text of Mr Sadleir's briefing for Ms Gillard does not dispute the The Guardian's report.

Parts of the briefing have been redacted to prevent disclosure of information from an Australian intelligence agency exempt from freedom of information laws, and information ''about the collection of intelligence information'' that would ''cause damage to the international relations of the Commonwealth''.

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