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We won’t kill Aust fighters in Iraq: ASIS

Posted on 01/31/2019 | in 苏州半永久 | by

Australia’s shadowy overseas spy agency has rejected claims the government’s new anti-terrorism laws could give it the power to assassinate Australian Islamic State fighters.

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The government’s bill seeks to improve co-operation between the Australian Secret Intelligence Service and the Australian Defence Force as part of efforts to crack down on foreign fighters.

The proposed measures have led to reports that ASIS could help the ADF locate and kill Australian jihadists on the battlefield in Iraq.

But the organisation says the new powers “will not enable ASIS to kill Australians or others”.

“The amendments will not change the role of ASIS in a way that may facilitate targeted killings,” it said in a submission to a parliamentary inquiry.

ASIS said the bill did not expand its functions or remove a ban on it planning or undertaking activities that involve violence.

“ASIS can and already does provide such assistance and co-operation to the defence force,” it said.

But it said it needed to act more “nimbly” in providing intelligence to the ADF and its international partners, saying recent terror threats have shown agencies will have little time to respond.

Among the changes are powers which would allow the prime minister, attorney-general, defence minister or foreign minister to give oral authorisation for emergency ASIS activities.

But if none is available at the time, the head of ASIS, the Australian Signals Directorate or the Australian Geospatial Intelligence Organisation, would be able to step in.

The emergency authorisations would expire after 48 hours but would help ASIS to quickly respond to threats, the agency said.

“The proposed changes would position ASIS well to provide timely assistance to the ADF, minimise loss of life and to assist other to respond to the threat,” it said.

Under current laws the agency has to seek ministerial approval in writing before launching an operation.

Without changes ASIS could be forced to act illegally “even to protect life”, the agency said.

The committee is due to report back on November 20.

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