Hindu Vivek Kendra
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ASIO boss 'shocked' by terror threat

ASIO boss 'shocked' by terror threat

Publication: Ninemsn.com.au
Date: November 1, 2006
URL: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=64864

The head of spy agency ASIO says he was shocked by the magnitude of the home-grown terrorist threat facing Australia when he took charge of the organisation.

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation director general Paul O'Sullivan said he was alarmed by the number of Australians who were travelling overseas to train as terrorists when he up the job 16 months ago.

"I was surprised to see that we do have a serious problem in Australia," he told a National Press Club dinner in Canberra.

"It does come as something of a shock to see that there are home-grown people who would like to do us harm in this country."

Mr O'Sullivan was also asked about the fate of two Iraqi asylum seekers who were the subject of adverse security assessments by ASIO, one of whom is still in immigration detention on the Pacific island of Nauru.

Both men were picked up by the cargo ship Tampa in August 2001.

Mr O'Sullivan said Mohammed Sagar, the man being held on Nauru, was not interested in settling in Australia.

The other man, Muhammad Faisal, was flown to Australia in August to treat his mental illness.

Mr O'Sullivan said Mr Faisal had applied for a new protection visa and would automatically get a new security assessment from ASIO as a result.

In response to a question from the floor, Mr O'Sullivan said the role of ASIO had changed fundamentally since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Intelligence gathered by the organisation was being used increasingly as evidence in court proceedings and this was changing the way the agency was collecting and recording evidence, he said.

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