National Security

'Boasting' about clearances

March 1, 2024

Friday 01 March 2024
Miriam Webber
The Canberra Times

 The thousands of public servants who are "publicly boasting" about  their security clearances online should have to justify keeping them, Liberal  senator James Paterson says.
 Australian Security Intelligence Organisation director-general Mike Burgess  revealed more than 14,000 bureaucrats were posting their security clearances  online, in a speech on Wednesday.
 This was the figure observed on "just one professional networking  site" - thought to be LinkedIn.
 Mr Burgess made the remarks in his annual threat assessment, where he also  spoke on an "A-team" of foreign spies who used social media to  recruit contacts.
 "On just one professional networking site, there are 14,000 Australians  publicly boasting about having a security clearance or working in the  intelligence community," the spy boss said.
 "Some even out themselves as intelligence officers - even while proving  they're not particularly good ones!"
 The ASIO director-general issued the same warning in his 2023 threat  assessment, where he called out the "unprofessional" behaviour.
 The number appears to be reducing - he cited 16,000 cases of this last year.
 The ASIO boss said he had written to agency heads across the public service  to warn of the risks.
 The opposition's spokesperson for Home Affairs, James Paterson, called for  public servants engaging in this behaviour to be held to account.
 "[Mr Burgess] disclosed that there are now 14,000 Australian government  officials who publicly advertise their security clearance on their LinkedIn  pages," Senator Paterson told journalists in Canberra.
 "In my view this is a prima facie case why those people should have to  explain why they should continue to have their security clearances.
 "Because it is an obvious threat to security to put your security  clearance online and advertise it."

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