World

Australia spy chief warns of foreign meddling

SYDNEY: Foreign powers are waging an "extensive" campaign of espionage and meddling in Australia, notably targeting ethnic and religious minorities, the country's spy chief warned yesterday.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Asio) said it is struggling to cope with the threat, with its resources stretched from fighting terrorism.

Asio chief Duncan Lewis said over the past year, there has been a "steadily worsening overall security and operational environment". He pinpointed heightened terror fears but also growing foreign interference that was "extensive, unrelenting and increasingly sophisticated".

"Espionage and foreign interference... (are) insidious threats - activities that may appear relatively harmless today can have significant future consequences," he said. - AFP

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