Australia spied on Indonesian president: reports
Sydney, November 18, 2013
First Published: 07:46 IST(18/11/2013)
Last Updated: 08:09 IST(18/11/2013)
Australian spy agencies attempted to listen in to the phone calls of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and also targeted his wife and senior ministers, reports said Monday.
Secret documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, obtained by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and The Guardian newspaper, name the president and nine of his inner circle as targets of the surveillance.
The revelations emerge as bilateral ties between the strategic allies are already strained over previous spying allegations and over how to deal with boatpeople heading for Australia via Indonesia.
The documents show that Australia's electronic intelligence agency, the Defence Signals Directorate, tracked Yudhoyono's activity on his mobile phone for 15 days in August 2009, when Labor's Kevin Rudd was prime minister.
A list of targets also includes Vice President Boediono, who was in Australia last week, former vice president Yussuf Kalla, the foreign affairs spokesman, the security minister and the information minister, the reports said.
The ABC said one of the documents was titled "3G impact and update" and appeared to chart attempts by Australian intelligence to keep pace with the rollout of 3G technology in Indonesia and across Southeast Asia.
A number of intercept options were listed and a recommendation was made to choose one of them and to apply it to a target -- in this case the Indonesian leadership, the broadcaster said.
The latest release of Snowden documents comes just weeks after reports claimed Canberra's overseas diplomatic posts, including in Jakarta, were involved in a vast US-led surveillance network, which sparked an angry reaction from Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa.
This was followed by The Guardian reporting earlier this month that Australia and the United States mounted a joint surveillance operation on close neighbour Indonesia during 2007 UN climate talks in Bali.