For obvious reasons, there are not many web links to information about the role of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) in Timor-Leste.
A number of books covering the 1970s, in the lead up to and the aftermath of Indonesia’s invasion, document the work of Frank Favaro (who was publicly acknowledged as working with ASIS by former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam). More recently, the former head of the ASIS Indonesia desk Warren Reed has criticised the agency for its co-operation with Indonesia in the lead up to the INTERFET intervention in 1999 and alleged Indonesian pentration of the agency.
Post-independence, ASIS has also been reported as supporting security sector reform in Timor.
Report on Intelligence Bill 2003, Parliamentary Joint Committee on ASIO, ASIS and DSD, 2003
“The experience of the AFP in its overseas deployments in close personal protection, or in missions to East Timor and Solomon Islands, will be a useful guide to ASIS [the Australian Security and Intelligence Service]. ASIS will however, have to develop its own policies on covert possession and transmission of weapons and ammunition, which the AFP does not practice. ASIS may wish to consult with allied agencies to see whether they have any relevant experience from which ASIS might draw.”
Commentary and analysis
Timor-Leste: Security Sector Reform, Asia Report No. 143, International Crisis Group, 17 January 2008, p.18
“After independence, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service supported a Timorese service run by Ricardo Ribeiro, a FRETILIN member from Bacau. This was taken over by new leadership in August 2007 and has a staff of 95.”
Updated: 14 April 2009
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