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Politicisation of intelligence service is 'missing link' in Iraq debacle.



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Press Release

Senator Kerry Nettle

18.02.04

Politicisation of Intelligence service is 'missing link' in Iraq debacle

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle has pointed to the politicisation of the highest levels of the intelligence service (particularly ONA) as the missing link in the Iraq intelligence failure debacle.

"The Prime Minister and his ministers stand condemned for the culture of compliance that they have engendered in the public service, including the intelligence agencies," Senator Nettle said.

"The key question is one of politicisation. It appears the integrity of our intelligence services has been corrupted by the aggressively political approach John Howard's government takes to the public service.

"If bad intelligence was delivered as a result of political pressure from the government, no matter how indirect, the responsibility for it lays with the Prime Minister not the intelligence agencies.

"The 'children overboard' inquiry revealed that senior public servants were aggressively pursuing government political objectives, now it appears the rot has reached the intelligence agencies.

"The PM recently made his senior international policy advisor, Peter Vargese, the new head of ONA, which surely raises questions of the political motivations behind such appointments.

"Most Australians believe The Prime Minister made the decision to support a Bush invasion of Iraq a long time before the intelligence briefings were drawn up to support it. Clearly the intelligence officers knew the government's position and this affected their judgements."

Contact Jon Edwards - 0428 213 146