Canberra: Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Attorney General Robert McClelland formally opened Australia’s first counter-terrorism control centre here on Thursday, even as the country’s spy chief David Irvine revealed that hundreds of potential terrorist attacks on Australian interests are under investigation.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the opening of the counter-terrorism control centre took place at the ASIO headquarters in Canberra.
“The threat is real,” Irvine told reporters in a rare public appearance today.
Gillard said the failed attack on Northwest Airlines flight 253 in late 2009 demonstrated the need for national security agencies to operate seamlessly in sharing information and intelligence, to combat terrorism and other national security threats.
The centre aims to bring together the many streams of intelligence that come into ASIO every hour. Everything from Internet chatter to phone intercepts is combed by ASIO in its attempts to stay ahead of the scores of groups and individuals threatening Australia.
Staff from the federal police and other intelligence bodies like the Defence Signals Directorate would be seconded to the centre.
The government in its white paper originally promised the counter-terrorism control centre on the issue, issued earlier this year.