ASIO says a map showing the Sydney and Melbourne suburbs regarded as “hotspots” for recruiting Australians to fight overseas with the likes of Islamic State, revealed on national television last night during a photo opportunity between prime minister Tony Abbott and ASIO boss Duncan Lewis “did not compromise national security”.
The maps highlighted the western Sydney suburbs of Auburn, Bankstown, Greenacre, Lakemba, Lidcombe and Punchbowl and in Melbourne, Campbellfield and Craigieburn.
While the security agency initially said the documents weren’t meant to be made public, it has now clarified the comments saying they “were not the subject of a national security classification”.
“The documents were carefully edited and were unclassified. The content of the documents did not compromise national security,” the statement said.
But earlier today an ASIO spokesperson told the ABC the documents were intended for “official use only”.
The maps featured in all the TV news bulletins last night as the ASIO director-general and prime minister discussed counter-terrorism measures in a photo opportunity.
During the meeting Lewis told Abbott the maps would be used as a focal point for ASIO’s counter-radicalisation efforts.
A spokesperson for the prime minister said Lewis was “satisfied that no information of national security significance was visible while media representatives were present”.
In related news, an Iraqi Shiite militia group is offering a bounty of $12,000 for the capture of Western foreign fighters.
Kataib Hezbollah spokesperson Jaafar al-Husseini told the ABC the militia “have information on Australians who are fighting with [IS]”.
There’s more on that here.
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