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Australian spy was a traitor - Collins

Sydney Morning Herald - August 31, 2005

Tom Allard – Indonesia's intelligence services recruited a senior, long-serving Australian spy whose role as a double agent was eventually unearthed but did not lead to prosecution, a new book alleges.

The claim is made in Plunging Point, a book by the army intelligence whistleblower Lance Collins and a former Australian Security and Intelligence Service agent, Warren Reed.

The book, published tomorrow, argues that Australia's intelligence services have been fatally compromised, with strategic analysis driven by political imperatives and inordinate resources devoted to hounding out those officers who hold dissenting views.

Mr Collins, who this month left the army, where he served as head of intelligence operations during the East Timor conflict – came to prominence after he alleged there was a pro-Jakarta lobby in the foreign affairs and defence departments. His book adds some flesh to those assertions, saying that "Indonesian intelligence services have certainly penetrated the Australian intelligence system", notably in the Australian Security and Intelligence Service.

The alleged traitor, whose name is not given, was recruited in the 1970s and later "came to be placed in charge of very sensitive matters" inthe Security and Intelligence Service.

"During this officer's long service, irreparable and lasting damage was done to Australia's [human intelligence] assets in Indonesia," the book says.

Another senior Security and Intelligence Service officer was, in light of the traitor's activities, forced to "release an entire stable of valuable agents in order to save their lives", the book says.

When the betrayal became "so blatant that it could no longer be ignored", the officer was allowed to quietly leave the service without being publicly exposed or prosecuted.

The account of the treachery is slim on further detail.

Neither the director-general of the Security and Intelligence Service, David Irvine, nor the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, would comment on the book's accusations yesterday.