31 July 2003

US terror warning a blunder, says spy chief:
Dennis Richardson, director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), said the warning issued by the US Department of Homeland Security did not accurately reflect the available intelligence.

'The central point here is that threat advisories, whether they go to industry or whether they go to anywhere else, must accurately reflect the intelligence on which they are based,' he told reporters.

'Unfortunately the threat advisory issued by the (US) Department of Homeland Security in so far as it referred to Australia, did not accurately reflect the intelligence which was available to that department.

'I think it was probably an honest bureaucratic mistake.

'It is not a case of interpretation.

'It is simply a question of fact.

'The intelligence on which that threat advisory was based did not refer to Australia as being a target.

'It referred to Australia as being a point of origin.'

A pity the ASIO DG did not follow his own strict tests with respect to WMD intelligence received from the US and Britain.

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