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Defence spies warning

Defence spies warning
Defence spies warning,20867,20476899-31477,00.html 

Natalie O'Brien and Patrick Walters
September 26, 2006

AUSTRALIA'S defence industry could be seen as a soft espionage target 
for foreign governments trying to steal national secrets, the nation's 
top spy has warned.

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation director-general Paul 
O'Sullivan said defence industry businesses that were developing or had 
access to sensitive technology and information could be earmarked by 
foreign spies.

"There is little doubt that, given the opportunity, some governments 
would seek to obtain this information or technology for their own 
benefit," Mr O'Sullivan said.

"In fact, some governments may view Australia's defence industry as a 
potential soft target to obtain such material."

Defence experts say the industry is a target of high interest to foreign 
intelligence services because of the cutting-edge technologies that are 
being developed in Australia, including highly sophisticated electronic 
warfare systems, undersea warfare technologies and military radar and 
communications systems.

The Australian reported last year that federal government sources 
believed that China, despite its denials, had more spies in this country 
than any other country, including Russia.

Mr O'Sullivan also spoke about traditional security threats during a 
speech to a business lunch in Sydney last Friday.

The espionage chief said counter-terrorism had been ASIO's main focus of 
operations since the September 11 attacks on the US, but it should be 
remembered that Australia's security environment "consists of other 
elements that pose a threat to our interests ... such as the protection 
of Australians from espionage, sabotage, the promotion of communal 
violence, attacks on Australia's defence system and acts of foreign 

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