Oz spies demand immunity to 'infiltrate, train' with terrorist groups

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 27, 2012 05:40 hrs

Intelligence officials in Australia are demanding legal immunity to infiltrate and train with terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda.

The Attorney-General's Department wants to authorise Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) agents and informants to provide training to, or be trained by, terrorists in covert missions.

Bur agents risk criminal prosecution for 'associating covertly with targets' even if they are collecting intelligence.

According to the Australian, a department spokeswoman said ASIO officers wanted the same legal immunity granted to police working undercover.

She pointed out that in order to obtain intelligence on threats to security, it may sometimes be necessary for ASIO to engage in an authorised way with individuals who may be involved in criminal activity.

According to the paper, the Attorney-General's Department also wants agents from Australia's overseas spy agency, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, to be allowed to conduct weapons training with police and military officers, including soldiers or police from the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand.

The departmental spokeswoman said the Gillard government 'has made no decisions' about the demands as it was awaiting the parliamentary committee's report, due next year, the paper added. (ANI)

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