Remembering ASIO : Phillip Deery on the Cold War and its legacy

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Deery, Phillip (2011) Remembering ASIO : Phillip Deery on the Cold War and its legacy. Overland (203). pp. 51-58. ISSN 0030-7416; 1444-3163 (eISSN)


ASIO's history of partisan, unprofessional behaviour is in danger of being forgotten. In the post-September 11 era, ASIO has acquired a high degree of respectability and moral legitimacy. Since 2001, its staff numbers have trebled, its budget has grown by 535 per cent to $1.4 billion per annum, and its powers have expanded to such an extent that civil liberties are potentially imperilled. Its massive new headquarters in Russell, ACT, which occupies the size of three city blocks and is nicknamed ‘Lubyanka by the Lake’, is currently being constructed at a staggering cost of $589 million. ASIO’s tawdry past – its improprieties, its smearing, its often dubious intelligence acquired from even more dubious informants, and its occasional unlawful actions – have all been sidestepped as the reputation of this, the most critical of Australia’s six intelligence agencies, is rehabilitated and transformed. Yet the available information confirms the inherent immorality of much ASIO behaviour in the Cold War – the period during which Gerard Henderson judged ASIO to be a ‘success’.

Item type Article
Official URL
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Historical > FOR Classification > 2103 Historical Studies
Historical > SEO Classification > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
Keywords ResPubID23924, Australian Security Intelligence Organization, ASIO, communist espionage, the Left, Cold War, intelligence agencies, national security, professional behaviour, communism
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