Thu, Feb 01, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Secret Australian documents found

SECONDHAND FURNITURE:The documents featured defense plans in the Middle East, Afghanistan conflict updates and intelligence on Australia’s neighbors


Hundreds of “top secret” and classified Australian government papers have been found in locked cabinets sold at a secondhand shop, Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) reported yesterday as Canberra ordered an urgent probe.

The two filing cabinets were bought for “small change” from a store in the nation’s capital that sells off former government furniture, ABC said.

The cabinets were locked and sold without keys, it added.

They were unopened for several months until someone used a drill to get into the drawers, finding a trove of secret documents detailing almost a decade of Australian government workings, ABC said.

The files include a report on the Australian Federal Police losing nearly 400 national security files in five years and another about how 195 top secret documents were left behind in a senior minister’s office after the Labor Party lost the 2013 general election.

The documents also featured defense plans in the Middle East, Afghanistan conflict updates and intelligence on Australia’s neighbors, ABC reported.

Others detailed policy debates within the Cabinets of previous Labor Party and Liberal-National coalition governments under former Australian prime ministers Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and John Howard.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull quipped on Tuesday before ABC revealed its filing-cabinet source for one story that it appeared their reporters “have come across someone’s bottom drawer in Canberra.”

ABC has broadcast a series of stories over the past few days, without declaring the source of the information.

It has also declined to say who found the documents or handed them over to the broadcaster.

The Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet yesterday said that it had “initiated an urgent investigation” into how the filing cabinets were disposed.

Australian Cabinet papers are not usually released to the public until two decades after they were created.

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