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Aus spying on its president confirmed,Indonesia recalls ambassador

Reports said Aus intelligence agencies had spied on Indonesian president and his close aides.

Written by PTI | Melbourne |
November 18, 2013 3:26:29 pm

Australian intelligence agencies have reportedly spied on the Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,his wife and his close aides,prompting an angry Jakarta to recall its Ambassador to the country.

According to documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden and obtained by the ABC news and Guardian Australia,the country’s intelligence attempted to tap into Yudhoyono’s phone conversations at least on one occasion.

It was found through the documents the spy agencies also tracked activity on his mobile phone for 15 days in August 2009. The latest disclosure has come after previous claims that the Australian embassy in Jakarta was involved in spying on Indonesia.

Infuriated by the report,Indonesia today recalled its Ambassador to Australia.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said the envoy was being called back to Jakarta for “consultations” after secret documents leaked by Snowden named the President as well as his wife and senior ministers as targets of the surveillance.

“The Australian Government urgently needs to clarify on this news,to avoid further damage,” Indonesian presidential spokesman Teuku Faizasyah wrote on Twitter. “The damage has been done and now trust must be rebuilt.”

ABC said that the documents were sourced from Australia’s electronic intelligence agency,Defence Signals Directorate (now called the Australian Signals Directorate).

The DSD motto stamped on the bottom of each page reads: “Reveal their secrets,protect our own,” ABC said,adding the documents show that Australian intelligence agencies actively sought a long-term strategy to continue to monitor the President’s mobile phone activity.

The surveillance targets also included senior figures in his inner circle and even the President’s wife Kristiani Herawati (also known as Ani Yudhoyono).

Others on the list of targets were Vice President Boediono,former vice president Yussuf Kalla,the foreign affairs spokesman,the security minister and the information minister.

Meanwhile,Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has refused to comment when asked about the reports.

“All governments gather information and all governments know that every other government gathers information,” he said. “The Australian Government never comments on specific intelligence matters. This has been the long tradition of governments of both political persuasions and I don’t intend to change that today. I should also say that the Australian Government uses all the resources at its disposal,including information to help our friends and our allies,not to harm them.”

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop,who is in New Delhi,said, “There are always challenges in any relationship. That is why they need constant nurturing and attention and that is why I keep in close communication with foreign minister Natalagawa [and with president Yudhoyono.”

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