The Attorney-General’s Department wants to authorise ASIO agents and informants to provide training to, or be trained by, terrorists in covert missions. Agents now risk criminal prosecution for “associating covertly with targets” even if they are collecting intelligence.
“If an ASIO officer or human source is tasked to collect covert intelligence in relation to a terrorist organisation, they may be open to criminal liability under the Criminal Code if, in the course of collecting the relevant intelligence, they receive training from that organisation,” the Attorney-General’s Department has told the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security.
A department spokeswoman yesterday said ASIO officers wanted the same legal immunity granted to police working undercover.
“We want to make sure our agencies have the powers they need to protect Australians from terrorism, which is why we’ve asked the committee to consider the changes,” she said.
“In order to obtain intelligence on threats to security, it may sometimes be necessary for ASIO to engage in an authorised way with individuals who may be involved in criminal activity.”