Terrorism. Foreign espionage. Covert influence operations. Cyber espionage. Theft of industrial secrets. Encrypted communications. It’s all getting to be too much to keep up with, Australia’s domestic intelligence agency said in a staggering new report.
“During this reporting period, a range of factors contributed to the steadily worsening overall security and operational environment,” Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) chief Duncan Lewis said in the agency’s annual report to Parliament, before rattling off some of the above-mentioned threats. In addition to the actual threats, Lewis said he was also concerned about the agency’s “unprecedented security intelligence caseload — in terms of both the volume and seriousness of the threats we investigated… and an increasing complex and resource-intensive operating environment.”
The report says Australian authorities disrupted planning for “imminent” terrorist attacks in Australia 13 times in the last three years, including three in the last year — all but one linked to the Syria-based terrorist organization ISIS. Lewis doesn’t see that threat abating anytime soon, even as ISIS suffers defeats in the Middle East.
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