Review of the reported actions of ASIO in relation to Mr Benjamin Zygier

There have been various statements made in the media relating to ASIO and Mr Zygier including reporting of:

  • alleged contact by ASIO with Mr Zygier
  • the purported passage of information by ASIO to foreign authorities
  • alleged contact by an ‘Australian intelligence officer’ with an Australian journalist
  • actions taken by ASIO following confirmation to Australian authorities of Mr Zygier’s detention by Israeli authorities
  • liaison by ASIO with other Australian Government agencies.

I have spoken to senior Australian intelligence officials and have reviewed the relevant records.  I have not looked into the actions of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as that department is not within my ordinary jurisdiction and, in any event, is subject to an internal review.

Based on the information that I have considered, I have come to the conclusion that there is no evidence that ASIO has acted improperly or unlawfully in this matter.  Consequently, I have advised the Attorney-General the Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP that I do not intend to initiate a formal inquiry into this matter under the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1986.

In accordance with usual practice I will not confirm or deny whether any of the media reports are accurate.

Dr Vivienne Thom
6 March 2013