Australia spied on Indonesian President

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Australia spied on Indonesian President

President, wife and inner circle tracked.

Australia tracked calls by Indonesia's president, documents leaked by defence contractor Edward Snowden reveal.

The nation's top spy agency the Australian Signals Directorate tracked phone calls made and received on the mobile phone of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for 15 days in August 2009.

The intelligence agency also tracked calls made and received by the president's wife Kristiani Herawati and his inner circle.

Indonesia's vice president, foreign affairs spokesman, security minister and its information minister were also targeted.

It was unclear whether the agency had intercepted the content of those calls according to the documents leaked to the ABC and the Guardian.

In a slide titled "IA leadership + Targets", the spy agency listed a numbered hitlist of targets including the mobile phone model they were using at the time.

Another displays call data records and was entitled Indonesian President Voice events.

The news gives further detail to recent revelations Australian embassies in Jakarta were being used to spy on the nation and was likely to intensify diplomatic strains between the countries.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott last week played down the spying allegations saying that Australia had "such a close, cooperative and constructive relationship" with its nearest and most important neighbour.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie said some public outcry in Indonesia was "chest thumping" by individuals attempting to further their positions in the lead up to the nation's elections.

"[The interception] is hardly surprising. There is a certain amount of theater going on here with people being outraged," Wilkie said. "Of course it goes -- on we know it goes on."

He said the disclosures were "fundamentally a good thing" and were in the public interest.

Greens leader Christine Milne said she was pleased with the Snowden leaks.

"It is certainly an embarrassment for Australia," Milne said. "So when [Tony] Abott talks about best friends and critical friends in the region, it's not the way you treat your best friends."

"Are we saying the [Indonesian] President is a security risk?"

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Copyright © SC Magazine, Australia


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