Jul 19, 2017

Intelligence review recommendations are all empire-building, out of sight

What should have been a fundamental review of how we conduct and oversee intelligence-gathering has instead become an opportunity to expand and entrench the security bureaucracy.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The “Independent Intelligence Review”, conducted by former senior bureaucrats Michael L’Estrange and Stephen Merchant, and advised by former senior British spy Sir Iain Lobban, has received little coverage since its release yesterday, except to the extent that nowhere does it recommend the establishment of a home affairs portfolio, despite — directly contrary to the Prime Minister’s claim yesterday — the issue of structures being explicitly in the terms of reference for the review.

But what should have been an important root-and-branch review of Australia’s intelligence community is a major, perhaps spectacular, missed opportunity, and skips critical thinking for bureaucratic insularity, empire-building and a bizarre indifference to the key issues of intelligence and national security.

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7 thoughts on “Intelligence review recommendations are all empire-building, out of sight

  1. Dog's Breakfast

    This will add a layer of senior bureaucracy, add a few more very heavily remunerated top heavy types who don’t actually do anything productive, and bring together a larger group for more prestige at the ministerial level.

    The most egregious cloners are in the executive class BK, and this is true across public and corporate sectors.

  2. klewso

    Was it asked to recommend spending all this money and resources to buy Homer’s loyalty?

  3. Daniel Sharp

    Is it only me who thinks that much of the work done by the intelligence community used to be done by investigative journalists? I suspect more of that work is done these days in general. War may be “the continuation of politics by other means.” Am I the only one who sees this development as formalizing the notion that intelligence is also politics by other means?

  4. zut alors

    Tonight Abbott has ‘helpfully’ added fuel to the fire saying he was advised against a Home Security ministry therefore rejected it. Malcolm, what have you done…?

    1. Barbara Haan

      MalTurn has lost it completely. No where has anyone mentioned who is ‘supposedly’ overseeing ASIS. More inside bureaucrats no doubt will get the job, still, whatever has happened to cooperation between ASIO and ASIS? Thank the good dog PeDut hasn’t got his mitts onto international affairs too. BK, you’re not making me feel at all hopeful. More and more cloning of endless bureaucrats.

  5. AR

    It is well known that the larger an organisation becomes the ore of its resources are devoted to its self maintenance, well being and increased purview.
    The Acton’s Axiom re the tendency of power to corrupt is especially relevant in this matter given that, apart from massive power, the alphabet agencies to be subsumed are all swathed in secrecy.
    If total power inevitably corrupts, secrecy ensures that the corruption becomes lethal to all democratic norms.

  6. JQ

    ONI is Japanese for devil. Anyone else recall that press photo of Dutton emerging from the shadows?

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