Former Aussie Spook Fined $7000 Over Secrecy Law Breaches
CANBERRA: A former Australian intelligence agent and diplomat has been convicted of breaching national secrecy laws and has been ordered to pay a fine of $7000.
Roger Uren – who once was assistant director of Australia’s Office of National Assessments – received the sentence in the ACT Magistrate’s Court this week.
He had originally been charged with 30 charges of unauthorised dealing with records, in breach of the Intelligence Services Act and ASIO Act. He pleaded guilty to three charges.
According to a Mandarin.com.au report, Uren had taken the documents before he left the intelligence agency in 2001, during which time his actions were believed to not be illegal. However possessing the documents became an offence in 2014, under changes to national security legislation.
Uren’s barrister argued that Uren had forgotten that many of the documents were in his home. He said Uren had never shared nor intended to share them with anyone, and had “always worked hard and effectively for Australia’s interests”.
However magistrate Glenn Theakston convicted him on all three charges and ordered to pay the $7000 fine within 28 days. He said Uren’s decision to take home classified documents was “misguided, counter-productive and at times, dangerous”, and there could well have been “significant consequences” should the documents have become known to the wrong people.