Australian government secrets revealed after confidential files sold by accident

Australian intelligence officers have delivered safes to two offices of the country's national broadcaster to secure ...

Posted: Feb 1, 2018 1:54 PM
Updated: Feb 1, 2018 1:54 PM

Australian intelligence officers have delivered safes to two offices of the country's national broadcaster to secure top secret Cabinet documents that were accidentally sold in second-hand furniture.

The Australian government is investigating the discovery of thousands of files, dating back 10 years and spanning five governments, in filing drawers at a furniture store in the Australian capital of Canberra.

The documents were obtained by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which has called the discovery "one of the biggest breaches of Cabinet security in Australian history."

The Prime Minister's department confirmed the documents were "secured" in the early hours of Thursday morning, but stressed the delivery of the safes at 1 a.m. "was not a raid."

Later Thursday, security agency personnel visited the ABC's Melbourne office to secure documents inside a safe, the broadcaster said.

ABC News director Gaven Morris said the organization had worked with Australian security agencies to make sure the documents were secure.

The ABC reported that it still has access to the files, and talks are underway with the government about how to proceed.

The existence of the documents and their unlikely discovery was revealed by ABC Wednesday in a series of shock articles.

Among the revelations reported by the ABC from the documents were allegations Australia's then-immigration minister Scott Morrison intervened in 2013 to demand extra checks on a group of asylum seekers to stop them getting permanent protection visas in Australia.

Former Prime Minister John Howard's government was also alleged to have discussed removing Australians' right to remain silent in custody around 2007, according to ABC reporting.

The Cabinet is the top decision making body in a parliamentary system, composed of the prime minister and his or her most senior ministers.

All discussions inside Cabinet are considered confidential and documents on Australian Cabinet decisions are supposed to remain confidential for at least to 20 years.

A number of other prominent Australian leaders were also the target of embarrassing domestic allegations, including former Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott.

Abbott told Sydney radio station 2GB someone needed to "pay a price" over the blunder.

"If you are going to throw out a filing cabinet that has got a whole lot of sensitive and confidential information in it you have got to make sure it is empty before it goes out of the building," he said Wednesday.

Rudd announced early Thursday morning he would be suing the ABC one of their articles published based on his government's controversial home insulation scheme, describing it as "a lie."

According to the ABC, the two sets of drawers were sold at a second-hand furniture store in an undisclosed neighborhood in Canberra. They were both locked and no set of keys was provided with them.

They were eventually bought and left unopened until the purchaser used a drill to break off the locks. The ABC did not identify who bought the drawers and how the documents found their way to the news organization.

In an interview on ABC television Wednesday night, Australia's opposition Labor Party leader Bill Shorten said the situation was "absurd."

"I mean all these spies who are meant to be spying on us they should just be going shopping in second-hand furniture stores in Canberra," he said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32888

Reported Deaths: 1188
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds259141
DeSoto172418
Madison132635
Jones114049
Neshoba100473
Rankin98213
Harrison96911
Lauderdale92280
Forrest91643
Scott77915
Jackson68917
Copiah62015
Washington61710
Leake58919
Lee56220
Holmes56041
Oktibbeha55227
Wayne54515
Warren53218
Yazoo5236
Lowndes50913
Grenada5067
Leflore50053
Lamar4917
Lincoln48434
Pike45416
Monroe42534
Sunflower4208
Lafayette4094
Covington3755
Attala36523
Panola3646
Bolivar35618
Newton3479
Simpson3453
Adams31518
Tate31011
Pontotoc3046
Marion30012
Chickasaw28719
Claiborne28410
Winston2808
Noxubee2728
Jasper2676
Pearl River26532
Marshall2583
Clay24911
Smith22911
Union21810
Clarke21025
Coahoma2056
Walthall2056
Lawrence1872
Yalobusha1807
Kemper17914
Carroll16811
Humphreys1569
Tallahatchie1454
Calhoun1414
Montgomery1392
Tippah13811
Itawamba1378
Hancock13413
Webster12711
Jefferson Davis1134
Tunica1133
Jefferson1103
Prentiss1103
Greene1059
Amite1043
Wilkinson939
George913
Tishomingo891
Quitman811
Choctaw754
Alcorn742
Perry724
Stone692
Franklin452
Benton420
Sharkey370
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 46424

Reported Deaths: 1032
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5486155
Montgomery4246105
Mobile4219136
Tuscaloosa234644
Marshall177011
Madison15548
Lee143337
Shelby135724
Morgan11285
Walker98525
Baldwin9809
Elmore96215
Dallas9109
Franklin90216
Etowah79013
DeKalb7615
Chambers64327
Autauga63612
Butler63228
Tallapoosa60469
Russell5680
Unassigned52226
Limestone5181
Houston5106
Lauderdale5016
Lowndes47821
Cullman4705
Pike4525
Colbert4266
St. Clair4162
Escambia4118
Calhoun3875
Coffee3863
Covington3727
Bullock36810
Barbour3572
Talladega3237
Marengo31711
Hale31521
Dale3020
Jackson3022
Wilcox2948
Sumter28512
Clarke2836
Winston2663
Chilton2622
Blount2511
Monroe2412
Pickens2386
Marion23613
Conecuh2177
Randolph2169
Macon1999
Choctaw19712
Bibb1961
Greene1868
Perry1791
Henry1363
Crenshaw1253
Washington1187
Lawrence1090
Cherokee1037
Geneva840
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa591
Cleburne391
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 78°
Columbus
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 75°
Starkville
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather