Annika Smethurst’s home in Canberra is being raided by Australian Federal Police officers. Picture: AAP
Annika Smethurst’s home in Canberra is being raided by Australian Federal Police officers. Picture: AAP

Federal police raid journo’s home

Australian Federal Police officers are raiding the home of a prominent political journalist over a report about a top secret government spy plan.

Annika Smethurst, the Walkley Award-winning political editor of The Sunday Telegraph, was confronted by several police at her Canberra home this morning with a warrant to search the premises, her mobile phone and her computer.

It apparently concerns a report published in April last year that the departments of Defence and Home Affairs were considering new powers that would allow Australians to be monitored for the first time.

In the story, it's reported that Ms Smethurst's original article included images of top secret letters between Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo and Defence Secretary Greg Moriarty.

 

Home Affairs Department Secretary Michael Pezzullo. Picture Gary Ramage
Home Affairs Department Secretary Michael Pezzullo. Picture Gary Ramage

 

They reportedly outlined a proposal to allow government spies to "proactively disrupt and covertly remove" onshore cyber threats by "hacking into critical infrastructure".

The proposal could also allow the cyber spy agency the Australian Signals Directorate powers to snoop on the emails, bank accounts and text messages of Aussies, with the approval of the relevant Home Affairs and Defence Ministers.

 

Annika Smethurst confirmed reports that her home is being raided by AFP officers but could not comment further.
Annika Smethurst confirmed reports that her home is being raided by AFP officers but could not comment further.

 

In a statement, the AFP confirmed a search was under way at Ms Smethurst's home.

"The matter relates to an investigation into the alleged unauthorised disclosure of national security information that was referred to the AFP," the statement read.

"Police will allege the unauthorised disclosure of these specific documents undermines Australia's national security.

"No arrests are expected today as a result of this activity."

A spokesman for the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, the union for journalists, told news.com.au it's closely monitoring the situation.

News Corp Australia, which publishes The Sunday Telegraph, has been approached for comments.

More to come

Defence Department Secretary Greg Moriarty. Picture Gary Ramage
Defence Department Secretary Greg Moriarty. Picture Gary Ramage


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