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Australian Times

Politics

Secret SAS Spy Force

March 12, 2012 by Ben Collins in Politics


It has been revealed that an Australian special forces group raised in 2005 has been operating in foreign countries that until today most Australians did not know we had a presence in.

The much feared SAS raised a fourth sabre squadron in 2005 to counter the growing terrorist threat, but it wasn’t until 2010 that they were refocused primarily on an intelligence gathering role. This is thought to be the brainchild of Kevin Rudd initially as Prime Minister and later as Foreign Minister.

Foreign intelligence gathering duties is officially the role of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), a civilian organisation cloaked in secrecy. After an incident in 1983, ASIS were stripped of their authority to carry weapons but John Howard gave them back in 2003. Australia’s most secret training facility, on Swan Island near Melbourne, has now become the HQ of SAS-4 as well as the Australian training facility for ASIS agents.

The marriage of the two organisations closely mirrors the US Special Operations Command and will benefit the knowledge and training of both the SAS and ASIS. However, many will question the wisdom of sending military personnel on covert missions in countries. Legally, ASIS officers will be protected as government delegates and have fake passports which they are allowed to use. Military personnel are not permitted to  carry fake ID papers, so if they were caught things could get hairy.

Most of the covert operations have been taking place in Africa, so realistically any capture incident would likely be resolved with a big payoff. Regardless of the legal challenges the initiative poses, the deployment of Australian SAS in Africa is bad news for Kony who has all of a sudden become significantly more recognizable.

Australian Defence Force is yet to make comment on the revelations, and it is unlikely that they ever will.

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