The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) exists to protect Australians and their interests from serious threats to their security, including threats posed by terrorism, espionage and foreign interference.
This is achieved through intelligence collection and assessment, and the provision of advice to the Australian Government, government agencies and industry. The ASIO’s functions are set out in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 (the ASIO Act).
In its 2017-18 annual report, the ASIO outlines its main functions and operations, as well as key results achieved.
The ASIO’s work in action
The work of the ASIO throughout 2017-18 led to the disruption of a plot to use an improvised explosive device against an Etihad flight departing Sydney, and a potential plan to use toxic gas in a terrorist attack.
In addition to disrupting attacks such as these, the ASIO also provides assessments and advice to assist regulators, policymakers and industry develop improved security arrangements.
Information is shared with domestic and regional security partners to enable the prosecution of Australians undertaking activities on behalf of or in support of terrorist organisations, and to target terrorist activity within the Asia-Pacific region.
Key objectives and results
In 2017-18, the ASIO focused on four key activities:
- Counter terrorism;
- Counter espionage, foreign interference and malicious insiders;
- Counter serious threats to Australia’s border integrity; and
- Provide protective security advice to government and industry
A number of significant results were achieved throughout this period, including:
- 14,227 counter-terrorism leads resolved or investigated
- 5454 Visa security assessments
- 32,153 personnel security assessments
- 1,440 published reports – on topics including terrorism, espionage & foreign interference, and border security issues
- 245 assessments on foreign investment proposals
- 144,629 security assessments for access to sensitive sites or materials
How does the ASIO combat foreign threats?
The ASIO harnesses its unique intelligence capabilities, partnerships and information sharing, together with open-source and contextual information where investigating threats to Australia’s national security.
Comprehensive data analysis is performed, allowing for the gleaning of insight and development of strategies to anticipate and combat threats.
The ASIO also provides trusted and actionable advice to national security partners, which helps to inform coordinated actions in combating terrorism, espionage and national security threats.