By Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie
April 2, 2009
DEFENCE Minister Joel Fitzgibbon and his department are refusing to
disclose whether the Defence Signals Directorate has ever accessed the
minister's computer to protect it against hackers.
Their silence comes amid an investigation by the Inspector-General of
Intelligence and Security, Ian Carnell, into allegations that DSD
officers improperly accessed Mr Fitzgibbon's computer as part of a
covert inquiry into his relationship with Chinese-Australian
businesswoman Helen Liu.
Former foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer has said it was routine
for DSD to access senior ministers' computers to set up secure
communications systems to stop potential hackers, which include the
intelligence agencies of other countries such as China.
"I don't doubt for a minute, with the current Defence Minister, that DSD
would be working to make sure that his laptop couldn't be penetrated,"
Mr Downer told ABC TV last week.
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