• Category:
    Performing Arts
  • Document type:
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:

Australian Secret Intelligence Service 4

Australian Secret Intelligence Service

Australian Secret Intelligence Service

The Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) was established on 13th May 1952, through the use of the executive power of the commonwealth and it was under the S61 of the constitution. The first person to head ASIS was Alfred Deakin Brookes. The ASIS should not be confused with the Australian Security Intelligence Organization. The current director general of the organization is Nick Warner. The main role of ASIS was to obtain and distribute secret intelligence and at the same time plan for and also undertake social operations in instances when they were termed as necessary (ASIS 2016). ASIS was particularly supposed to operate outside the Australian territory. On 15th August 1958 a ministerial directive cited that the body has to undertake a special operation role which included the conducting of special political action and as opposed to other related organization the organization was to operate under the supervision and control of the Minister of External Affairs (Toohey & Pinwill 1989).

ASIS identifies the threats that are directed to Australia. In relation to these a major security issues that the ASIS focuses on is the collection of foreign intelligence that is not available through other means which may have an impact on the interests of Australia. This is considered as a major threat to the safety of Australia though it may be committed abroad (Samuels & Codd 1995). Another major area that the organization focuses on is the distribution of the intelligence to the government and to other key policy agencies and departments. Additionally, they undertake counter intelligence activities aimed at protecting the interests and initiatives of Australians and engage with other intelligence and security services that are overseas. The use of weapons was highly prohibited in ASIS and weapons were only used when circumstances called for self-defense. Additionally the ASIS also works in collaboration with other organizations, for example, the M16 and the CIA when the paramilitary operations (ASIS 2016).

Despite their work, the organization has also received a lot of criticism. For example between 1989 and 1991, the ASIS faced allegations that were related to their roles and activities in Papua New Guinea. They were accused of training the troops in Papua New Guinean so as to suppress the independence movements in Irian Jaya (Samuels & Codd 1995). In the year 2005, the organization faced allegations that included the mismanagement of some of the intelligence operations, tasking and staff assignment and more so when they were dealing with war on terrorism. Additionally, the organization was also poor when it came to retention of staff and additionally a great number of officers lacked the necessary experience that was required in the field.

In summary, the main role of ASIS was to obtain and distribute secret intelligence and at the same time plan for and also undertake social operations in instances when they were termed as necessary. In their operations the body needs to adhere to those regulations that govern their work.


ASIS 2016, Overview, ASIS Online Website, viewed august 31 2016, <>

Samuels, G & Codd, M 1995, Commission of Inquiry into the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, Report on the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (Public Edition), Australian Government Publishing Service, Australia.

Toohey, B & Pinwill, W1989, Oyster: the Story of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, Heinemann, Melbourne.