Goldfinger, as the James Bond film’s title song had it, was the man with the Midas touch.
But one of the spies from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) might be called Fatfinger, the man with the clumsy touch, after a series of wrong phones were bugged because incorrect numbers were entered.
The intelligence agency watchdog has revealed the mistakes as part of a vibrant defense of the nation’s spies, who she says are human beings doing a difficult job, inevitably subject to the same flaws as the rest of us.
Providing rare insight into the office that has unfettered access to all six of the country’s major intelligence agencies, including ASIO and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), Margaret Stone, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, said Australians needed to understand that spies were not perfect.
“I know that accidents happen,” she told an audience at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute on Tuesday night.
“I remember asking a senior ASIO officer when there were a series of telephone intercepts in which wrong numbers were used. I said: ‘How can this happen? There’s a whole series of them here.’ And the answer was: ‘It’s fat fingers’.”
“We must accept that there will be a failure. As sure as night and day, there will be a failure and it behooves people who purport to be intelligent and informed members of the community to understand why failure is inevitable … We cannot expect 100 percent success.”
Read More: Brisbane Times
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