ASIS – Favaro affair
During the lead up to Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor in 1975, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) paid a Dili-based Australian businessman Frank Favaro for information on local political developments. The leaking of his identity in late 1975 led to a confrontation between the then Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and the head of ASIS, leading to the sacking of the intelligence agency director.
Commentary and analysis
, former Prime Minister E.G. (Gough) Whitlam launches Bill Nichol: “Timor – A Nation Reborn”, University of Sydney Co-Op Bookshop, 26 June 2002.
“Frank Favaro is described in documents 215, 244 and 275 and on page 846. The book should also acknowledge that he was an ASIS agent. (That’s why I sacked W.T. Robertson in front of Renouf and other departmental heads.) ….Hamish McDonald alleges that I sacked the head of ASIS on 21 October 1975 in a tirade which could be heard outside: “You’re fired. And you can forget about your super too!” Sure I sacked the head of ASIS. I had had to tell him twice to put an end to the work his agents in our embassy in Chile were doing to undermine Allende on behalf of the CIA. Earlier his agents had worked with the same ambassador to undermine Sihanouk in Cambodia on behalf of the CIA. In 1975 he employed an agent in Dili without my authority.”
Updated: 13 March 2009