National security, intelligence and espionage have been in the headlines due to events abroad and significant developments at home. So how is intelligence gathered? What are Australia’s peak national security bodies and how do they interact?
Paul Dibb’s book is a unique Cold War memoir that gives insights into how Australia saw the threat from the Soviet Union in terms of both national intelligence assessments and ASIO’s operations against the Soviet Embassy. It reveals the crucial importance of the US-Australian base at Pine Gap for monitoring Soviet military communications and why it was Moscow’s nuclear target. And he sets out how close the Soviet Union was to nuclear war with America in 1983.
The cloak-and-dagger exploits of characters like James Bond and Jason Bourne have shaped our cultural idea of spy work. But these films, made mostly in the US and UK, have little to do with the reality of Australian intelligence.
An official history of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation has conceded it was penetrated by Soviet agents during the latter half of the Cold War, confirming suspicions held for decades about why the domestic spy agency struggled against Communist targets.