undergroundnewsroom.com March 23, 2018

Australia's Spy Agency Moves To Secure Cabinets Filled With Cabinet Secrets

03 February 2018, 01:41 | Damon Campbell

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The documents, which the ABC has dubbed The Cabinet Files, were found in two locked filing cabinets sold at an ex-government sale in Canberra and span almost a decade.

But the ABC has uncovered thousands of documents, some classified "top secret", covering five governments over a decade.

Some of the secret cabinet files revealed that former immigration minister Scott Morrison, who now serves as Prime Minister Turnbull's treasurer, tried to limit the number of approved asylum seekers entering Australia in late 2013.

ABC, which is state-owned but operates independently, said it had chosen not to report some documents on national security grounds.

The ABC did not identify who bought the drawers and how the documents found their way to the news organization.

The ABC reported that ASIO officers visited its bureau in Parliament House and its studio in Brisbane at 1am on Thursday to deliver safes so the files could be locked away while negotiations continued between the ABC's lawyers and the prime minister's office over the ownership of the documents.

Australian Cabinet documents are normally sealed and kept confidential until they are released to the public 20 years later.

ABC Director of News Gaven Morris said: "We worked with the government to ensure that as quickly and as safely as we could that these documents could be secure, that there was no question of there being any further threat to national security".

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"The documents remain the property of the Commonwealth of Australia", adding that the department is working closely with ASIO and the Australian Federal Police to find out how the cabinets ended up for sale.

The file cabinets were locked, and no one had the key.

The former senior public servant claimed the breach could be seen as another reason to switch to a paperless system for ministerial documents.

Oh, there's also a Tony Abbott snipe in there, too.

The Australian government has launched an "urgent investigation" after hundreds of classified files were accidentally sold and obtained by the media.

The move comes as former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd launched legal action against the ABC after it published details from a secret cabinet document related to his Labor government's home insulation scheme.

Australia's politicians spent the start of the week plagued by damaging stories from the national broadcaster until the ABC revealed the less-than-scandalous source of its information. According to a government stocktake contained in the secret cabinet files, the documents lost by the AFP belong to the powerful National Security Committee (NSC) of the cabinet.

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