The Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security does not usually comment or provide information on particular approaches made to it. Matters raised with the office are usually confidential, and often are concerned with national security. Further, to breach the confidence of individual complainants could deter others from raising important concerns with the office.
The Inspector-General of Security Act 1986 requires that inquiries be conducted in private. There are also strict secrecy provisions.
In light of recent media reporting I would like to confirm that, to the best of my knowledge, no current or former ASIS officer has raised concerns with this office about any alleged Australian Government activity with respect to East Timor since my appointment in April 2010.
I have spoken to my predecessor and he has confirmed that, to the best of his recollection, no current or former ASIS officer raised concerns with this office about any alleged Australian Government activity with respect to East Timor during his term as IGIS and he had no discussion with any former or current ASIS officer about any such concerns.
The practice of this office is to make detailed records of any concerns raised with it, whether the concerns are raised in writing or orally, and regardless of whether the concerns are in jurisdiction or followed up. A search of our records since 2004 has revealed no record of any former or current ASIS officer having raised concerns with us about alleged Australian Government activity in East Timor.
Where I decide not to inquire into, or not to inquire further into, a matter to which a complaint relates in respect of action taken by an intelligence agency, I am required to inform the responsible Minister and head of the agency accordingly. I have reviewed those advices provided to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in respect of complaints made about ASIS since 2004 and can confirm that there are no references to complaints made about alleged Australian Government activities in East Timor.
Dr Vivienne Thom
Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security
6 December 2013