Security agencies should be as open as possible for public trust: ASIO Boss

The head of Australia’s National Security Services and Intelligence Agency said it was important for liberal democratic security services to be transparent and reliable.

In his annual threat assessment speech, Mike Burgess, Secretary-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), explained his vision of increasing organizational transparency.

“ASIO protects Australia and Australians from threats to their safety. The ability to fulfill our mission requires maintaining the trust and trust of our stakeholders, including the Australian people. “He said. “I think this puts ASIO responsible for being as open as possible about what the organization is doing and why it does it.”

Burgess said the Defense Signals Department became more committed to transparency after being falsely accused of illegal activity. The allegations were later proved false, but damaged reputation and credibility.

“This case taught me how difficult it is for a secret society to protect itself, even if it didn’t do anything wrong.

Intelligence agencies may not be able to speak, but Burgess believes they can answer with “no comment” or better.

He talked about another case in which journalists filed false allegations against unidentified intelligence, and they replied, “Without comment, it’s off-record.” The story was published shortly after containing inaccuracies.

“We don’t talk about our business, but we can reveal their results,” he said. “We need to keep our abilities secret, but we can be open about our values.”

You can also increase the protection of your community by providing transparency and information to ASIO partners and stakeholders.

“Security is a common responsibility. ASIO cannot stop all terrorists and catch all spies,” Burgess said.

As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, the level of cybercrime and cyber-responsive espionage is increasing as people spend more time online.

Australian Consumer Watchdog has released a report revealing that Australians have been scammed from at least $ 851 million ($ 610 million) in 2020. This is the largest amount ever in a year. 2021 data have not yet been released.

According to Burgess, increasing ASIO’s transparency will also help the organization’s recruitment efforts.

“People don’t work for an agency without knowing what the agency does and values. They can’t apply for jobs they don’t know about,” he said. ..

Apart from the traditional oversight role, Burgess said he has hired other positions that are essential to the success of government agencies, such as trade experts, business analysts, and technical and legal experts.

“We can’t identify undeclared staff, but we can celebrate the differences they make,” he said.

Rebecca Chu


Rebecca Zhu is an Australian reporter based in Sydney. She focuses on Australia’s economy, property and education. Contact her at [email protected]

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