While delivering ASIO’s annual threat assessment, the director-general warned a terrorist attack on Australia was still “probable” and it was “truly disturbing” to see extremists trying to recruit children as young as 13 or 14.
And he said “violent Islamic extremism”, embodied by Islamic State and al’Qaida, remained ASIO’s top concern.
… “While we would expect any right-wing-extremist-inspired attack in Australia to be low capability — i.e. a knife, gun or vehicle attack — more sophisticated attacks are possible.”
… an unspecified foreign intelligence service that had sent a sleeper agent to Australia.
“The agent lay dormant for many years, quietly building community and business links, all the while secretly maintaining contact with his offshore handlers,” Mr Burgess revealed.
“The agent started feeding his spymasters information about Australia-based expatriate dissidents, which directly led to harassment of the dissidents in Australia and their relatives overseas.”
According to Mr Burgess, the agent received “significant cash payments” in exchange for providing “on-the-ground logistical support for spies who travelled to Australia to conduct intelligence activities”.
“These are the sort of insidious activities ASIO works to detect and disrupt every day,” Mr Burgess said, while confirming ASIO had disrupted the operation.
… While Mr Burgess did not point the finger for foreign interference at any one country, Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick accused China of being a major culprit.