ASIO raids lawyer office seeking Timor wiretap documents

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ASIO raids lawyer office seeking Timor wiretap documents

Documents claim ASIS agents planted bugs in Govt office walls under aid work guise.

A lawyer says ASIO agents have raided his Canberra office in search of documentary evidence he has taken to the Hague that Australia planted listening devices in East Timor offices to secure lucrative gas revenue.

Bernard Collaery told ABC's PM from the Hague that two agents raided his office today in search of documents he said proved that ASIS planted bugs in the walls of East Timor offices in 2004.

East Timor has said the authorisation for the ASIS operation was granted by then Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

An unnamed man possibly a whistle blower was also arrested during a separate raid today.

Collaery, who has the documentary evidence in hand today at the Hague, said ASIS agents planted the devices while posing as aid workers tasked with rebuilding government offices in the country amid "good faith" international talks.

East Timor argues that the devices gave Australia the edge in talks to secure revenue from the $40 billion dollar Greater Sunrise gas reserves located 100 kilometres from Dilli and 400 kilometres from Australia.

"Documents reveal the Director General of the Australian Secret Service and the Deputy Director General instructed an ASIS team to go to Timor in an elaborate plan via aid programmes in the reconstruction of offices to insert bugs into walls," Collaery told PM.
"This was a commercially-designed conspiracy in Canberra to bring about a successful result for Australia for a deposit of gas.

"I can't see what the Government hopes to achieve with this aggressive [raid]. It can attempt to nullify the whistle blower's accusation but the evidence has flown - it is abroad and it is ready."

In 2006 the then Howard Government signed the Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea treaty with East Timor in which revenue of the $40 billion gas fields would be split.

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