Saturday, August 28, 2010

ASIO's New HQ Building Progressing on Time and on Budget

Via (Aug 22, 2010) -

The elevator wells are up, cranes dot the skyline and works are progressing steadily on the new ASIO headquarters in Parkes.

Construction of the $606 million monolith is progressing on time and on budget, with completion scheduled for mid-2012 before becoming operational later that year.

While ASIO is a secretive organisation, Canberrans have the rare chance to turn the tables on Australia's largest domestic spy agency by watching the headquarter's construction.

But don't get caught looking. Despite its public construction, security surrounding the project is high. The 270 construction workers on site have been vetted for security clearance, must pass security checkpoints each day, and have signed papers not to discuss anything that happens on site.

Winning tenders are kept secret to prevent infiltration and building is compartmentalised so no firm completes enough work to gain too much information. Armed guards are rumoured to patrol the boundaries at night.

When asked about security arrangement on such a public work site, ASIO remained tight lipped.

''ASIO's new central office will be a high-security facility which protects staff, information and technologies,'' a joint response from ASIO and the Department of Finance and Deregulation said. ''Comprehensive security procedures have been developed for the design and construction phases which are commensurate with the level of risk for this project.''

Australian Strategic Policy Institute national security program director Carl Ungerer said physical protection during the construction phase was relatively simple.

Dr Ungerer said the days of Cold War style bugging and satellite imaging had become largely redundant, with cyber security now the biggest threat.

'The cyber world is clearly the growing phase of all spying today.'


The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) is the principal Federal domestic internal intelligence, counter-intelligence and security agency of Australia which is responsible for the national security of Australia and the protection of the country and its citizens from espionage, sabotage, acts of foreign interference, politically-motivated violence, attacks on the Australian defence system, serious and major crime, and terrorism. ASIO is comparable to the United Kingdom Security Service (MI5).

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