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Downer compromises Indonesian anti-terrorism operations.

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Robert McClelland MP Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Federal Member for Barton

13 June 2007


Alexander Downer must immediately clarify why two days ago he publicly discussed the identity of captured Jemaah Islamiah leader while an active operation by Indonesia's counter terrorism police was continuing.

Asked on Sky Agenda about the possible capture of JI leader Abu Dujana on Monday 11 June, Mr Downer said:

“I can confirm that’s what the Indonesians are saying.”

Yesterday however Inspector General Sisno Adiwinoto, the official spokesperson for the Indonesian National Police, said:

“It’s clearly the wrong source of information. Who is Downer’s source?”

Mr Adiwinoto also emphasised that operations: “are far from over… police are still chasing wanted terror suspects and conducting further investigations on the ground."

Inspector General Ansyaad Mbai, the senior anti-terror official at the coordinating Indonesian Ministry of Security and Political Affairs, also refused to discuss or reveal the identify of the captured JI leader.

The Inspector General is quoted in today’s Jakarta Post newspaper saying: "Operations are going on now." He is further reported as saying that revealing who police had detained would compromise the hunt for more suspects.

The Minister should now provide a full explanation for his actions.

Is it the case that Indonesian authorities have expressed their concern that Mr Downer has publicly revealed sensitive information that has potentially prejudiced their operations?

Is it the case that the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia has had to apologise for the Minister’s conduct?

In attempting to again talk up his national security credentials Mr Downer has potentially prejudiced a crucial anti terrorist operation in our own backyard.

Contact: Tom Cameron 0417 147 932