Abolish the spooks

Jason Koutsoukis, The Sunday Age, December 9:

At the time of writing, there are six intelligence agencies located here in Canberra, ASIO, ASIS, the Defence Signals Directorate and the Defence Intelligence Organisation among them.

All staffed by bright, conscientious and talented people, I’m sure, I challenge any one of them to list a single important historical peacetime event in which their intelligence has played a decisive role.

I feel very confident that not a shred of evidence will be produced to prove me wrong.

To quote distinguished Australian journalist Phillip Knightley, the finest chronicler of the espionage game this country has produced, the whole spying game ranks as the “greatest con trick of the century”.

“Writing about spies and intelligence agencies occupied a large part of my career,” wrote Knightley in his memoir, A Hack’s Progress. “I do not regret it ”¦ but espionage itself is a dirty business riddled with deceit, manipulation and betrayal.”

And now we learn that the CIA is caught up in yet another controversy, destroying valuable evidence to avoid prosecution.

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