Australia’s attorney general has proposed a new bill which would see potential whistleblowers facing up to 10 years in prison for leaks on special intelligence operations.
Publishing Snowden-like revelations could cost dear in Australia
after attorney general George Brandis presented to the
parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security a new
bill expanding powers of the Australian
Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO).
Australia’s attorney general George Brandis is known for labeling
former NSA contractor Edward Snowden a “traitor” after a secret
document reported by the Guardian Australia and obtained from
Snowden last year revealed the Australian spy agency had been
ready to share data on its citizens with its partners from the
so-called 5-Eyes alliance (Australia, Britain, Canada New Zealand
and the US).
The bill supposes the creation of a new
offence for “any person” found guilty of disclosing
“special intelligence operations” information, which
would be five years behind bars.
“The five-year offence would seem to be able to apply even if
the person had no idea about the special intelligence operation
and they happened to release information which coincidentally was
part of or related to the special intelligence operation,”
leading Australian criminal law barrister Shane Prince commented
to the Telegraph.
So a person could be put on trial for disclosing information on a
“special intelligence operation” he never knew about – and would
never get to know what the special intelligence operation was
about during the trial, because it is an intelligence operation,
that is – a secret one.