Attorney-General Orders Probe on Alleged Security Breach During Obama’s Visit
By Erik Pineda | November 21, 2011 11:39 AM EST
Australian authorities have launched a probe on the 'abandoned' security manual used during U.S. President Barack Obama's short stay in the country, giving out minute details of the trip including sensitive security measures designed by the U.S. Security Service.
In a statement, Attorney-General Robert McClelland has indicated that his office's attention was called on the incident, considered by experts as a serious security breach involving a high-profile world leader, and an inquiry on the matter is now underway.
"The incident is currently being investigated ... yet in line with long standing practice, the Australian Government does not comment on security matters," McClelland reportedly said according to the Agence France Presse (AFP).
In a report by Fairfax journalist Dylan Welch, who stumbled upon the security manual in a gutter near the Australian Parliament in Canberra, the booklet gloriously discussed Obama's Australian trip last week, which lasted only 27 hours but required elaborate security implements both observed by American and Aussie security specialists.
Welch said on Thursday last week that the manual was glaringly stamped with the words 'In Confidential' with an explicit note on its cover that its sensitive contents should "not to be communicated either directly or indirectly to any person not authorised to receive it."
Notable information the booklet carried were contact details of personalities presumably involved in the preparation and implementation of Obama's Australian stop though Welch did not specify if the figures listed were high-level Australian and American officials or security functionaries that supervised the U.S. leader's brief stay in the country.
Welch, however, revealed that the booklet included the name of a person widely-regarded as the one responsible for ensuring Obama's safety during his numerous trips in an out of the United States, presumably the chief of the Security Service.
In what appeared as an unprecedented failure of security measures for the American President, the secret dossier, according to Welch, gave out security arrangements such as Obama's intelligence briefings and possible counter-measures in the event of an attack on his convoy while he gets around Canberra and other destinations in Australia.
The U.S President met with top-level Australian leaders during his visit last week, which was highlighted by his speech before the joint session of the Australian Parliament shortly after his arrival on Wednesday.
In a dramatic punctuation of America's improved security pact with Australia, Obama also visited troops stationed in Darwin, where some 2500 U.S. Marines will soon be based as part of the two countries new security arrangement for the Asia Pacific region.
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