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For the first time, ASIO has opened its archives to an independent historian. With unfettered access to the records, David Horner tells the real story of Australia's domestic intelligence organisation, from shaky beginnings to the expulsion of Ivan Skripov in 1963. From the start, ASIO's mission was to catch spies. In the late 1940s, the top secret Venona program revealed details of a Soviet spy ring in Australia, supported by leading Australian communists. David Horner outlines the tactics ASIO used in counterespionage, from embassy bugging to surveillance of local suspects. His research sheds new light on the Petrov Affair, and details incidents and activities that have never been revealed before. This authoritative and ground-breaking account overturns many myths about ASIO, and offers new insights into broader Australian politics and society in the fraught years of the Cold War.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures and TablesPrefaceAcronyms and AbbreviationsGlossaryChronologyIntroductionPART 1: FEDERATION TO THE COLD WAR, 1901-19491 Counterespionage or Political Surveillance? Australia's Early Security Intelligence Organisations, 1901-19452 Adapting to a New Threat: Postwar Security and Intelligence in Australia, 1945-19483 Reacting to the Leaks: British and American Concerns about Australian Security, February-July 19484 Under Irresistible Pressure: Chifley Forms a New Security Service, July 1948-March 1949PART 2: ESTABLISHMENT AND CONSOLIDATION, 1949-19545 Building a New Security Service: ASIO under Justice Reed, 19496 Trying to Crack 'The Case': The End of Reed's Term as Director-General, 1949-19507 Reshaping and Consolidating: Charles Spry Becomes Director-General of Security, 1950-19538 Contesting the Cold War: ASIO Confronts the Communists, 1950-19549 Watching and Recording: Field Operations against the Communists, 1950-195310 Vetting, Checking and Advising: ASIO's Protective Security Role, 1950-195411 Keeping Out Undesirables: Overseas Liaison, Refugees and War Criminals, 1950-195512 Moving Beyond 'The Case': Counterespionage Operations, 1950-1953PART 3: PETROV AND THE ROYAL COMMISSION, 1951-195513 ASIO's Triumph: The Defection of Vladimir and Evdokia Petrov, 1951-195414 Out of the Shadows: ASIO and the Royal Commission on Espionage, 1954-1955PART 4: EXPANSION AND PROFESSIONALISM, 1956-196315 Strengthening the Organisation: Legislation, Politics and Administration, 1956-196316 Seeking Comprehensive Coverage: Counter-subversion Operations, 1955-196317 Disruption, Propaganda and Exposure: Broadening the Counter-subversion Approach, 1955-196318 Searching for Illegals: Counterespionage Operations, 1955-195919 Resolving Doubts in the Commonwealth's Favour: Protective Security, 1955-196320 Building a Worldwide Network: ASIO's International Connections, 1956-196321 Return of the Russians: A Counterespionage Success? 1959-1963ConclusionAppendix: Protecting the Identity of ASIO Agents: The Case of Mercia MassonBibliographyNotesIndex

Promotional Information

With unprecedented access to their hitherto sealed records, this is the first volume of a remarkable official history of ASIO - a revealing and authoritative account of the early years of Australia's national security intelligence service.

About the Author

David Horner is the author or editor of 32 books on military command, operations, defence policy and intelligence.


"This is one of our most important official histories." The Hon. Kim Beazley, AC, Australian Ambassador to the United States of America"

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