Cameron Stewart; 28/5/08
Australian governments would have to embrace “illegal”, “deceptive” and “underhanded” espionage overseas in order to protect the national interest, according to the top-secret reports of the Hope Royal Commission. The reports, released in full yesterday under the 30-year rule, contained blunt calls for more aggressive espionage overseas, warning that failure to do so could compromise vital Australian political, military and economic interests in the region. The reports show that despite Justice Robert Hope’s damning findings on the domestic spy agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, he was upbeat about the potential of the two foreign spy agencies, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service and the eavesdropping agency Defence Signals Directorate. The previously unreleased report relating to ASIS found Australian governments needed to accept that foreign espionage had become vital to the national interest.