“The function of intelligence is to collect as much information as possible, which is as accurate as possible. The easiest way to do that is by wiretapping,” he told Indonesian news Web site Liputan6.com.
“Pickpockets are supposed to pick pockets,” he added.
The former army general also batted aside comments by Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa that Indonesia would never tap the telephones of Australian politicians.
Indonesian intelligence agencies had a responsibility to try to tap the telephones of foreign politicians, whether they be “friend or foe,” he told Fairfax.
He also criticized the angry reaction from Indonesian leaders to the scandal, telling the Indonesian news site: “I think this is an overreaction to a failed Australian intelligence operation. The reaction is a little too much.”