Australian Secret Intelligence Service
| Australian Secret Intelligence Service |
|Formation||13 May 1952|
|The Australian foreign intelligence agency, but has tentacles all over society, especially in the media.|
Not to be confused with ASIO, the internal security service.
The Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) is the foreign intelligence agency of the Australian Government. ASIS was formed in 1952, but its existence remained secret for the Labor party opposition until 1972. ASIS is responsible for the collection of foreign intelligence, including both counter-intelligence and liaising with the intelligence agencies of other countries. In these roles, ASIS is comparable to the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and its dominating "partner", the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
ASIS in Chile 1973
An ASIS intelligence station was established in Chile out of the Australian embassy in July 1971 at the request of the CIA and authorised by then Liberal Party Foreign Minister William McMahon. New Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was informed of the operation in February 1973 and signed a document ordering the closure of the operation several weeks later. However, ASIS ignored the order, and did not withdraw its agents until October 1973, one month after the CIA-backed 1973 Chilean coup d'état had brought down the Allende Government. There were also two officers of ASIO based in Santiago, working as migration officers during this period.
It is one of the incidents that has been associated with a confrontation between Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and Bill Robertson, the Director-General of ASIS, resulting in Robertson's sacking on 21 October 1975, with effect on 7 November, just 4 days before Whitlam's own dismissal in the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. Whitlam accused Robertson of disobeying instructions by delaying the closure of the ASIS station in Chile
- Alfred Brooks 13 May 1952-22 August 1957
- Ralph Harry 23 August 1957-31 March 1960
- William Robertson (Acting Capacity) 1 ASpril 1960-31 August 1960
- General Sir Walter Cawthorn 1 September 1960-2 July 1968
- William Robertson 3 July 1968-7 November 1975
- Ian Kennison 8 November 1975-10 July 1981
- John Ryan 5 November 1981-21 December 1983.
- Brigadier James Furner 27 February 1984-24 November 1992.
- Rex Stevenson Acting capacity 25 November 1992, appointed 9 December 1992-28 February 1998.
- Allan Taylor 1 March 1998-28 February 2003
- David Irvine appointed 1 March 2003
- Nick Warner appointed 17 August 2009.
- QUESTIONS IN WRITING Australian Secret Intelligence Service , Parliament of Australia, 28 May 2007.
- Message from the Director-General, Secret Intelligence Service, accessed 28 December 2011.