Second-hand store find unveils top-secret Australian documents

Second-hand store find unveils top-secret Australian documents”

The two filing cabinets were bought for "small change" from a store in the nation's capital that sells off ex-government furniture, the broadcaster said.

Another paper reveals that Tony Abbott ignored legal advice when handing over insulation Royal Commission documents. The filing cabinets in question were sold off especially cheaply, because they were clearly full, and no-one could find the keys.

An investigation has been launched after the classified files entered the public domain.

Australia's government is holding "an urgent investigation" into how hundreds of classified documents about the interior workings of several recent administrations found their way to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Basically, as the ABC details in this extraordinary interactive, it looks like some government employee has accidentally sent two entire filing cabinets full of top-secret files - files that should have remained secret for 20 years - to an op shop where ex-government furniture is sold off for cheap.

Nearly all the files are classified and some are marked AUSTEO - for Australian eyes only.

The sale of the furniture in the shop is not limited to Australians, the ABC said, which means the cabinets could have been bought by anyone, and indeed, sold on or given to anyone. Citing confidential sources, the network says it will "protect their privacy at all costs".

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One document points to an audit showing the Australian Federal Police lost nearly 400 national security files over five years.

What did the files contain?

The documents reveal embarrassing blunders by the Australian Federal Police and the office of a former Minister - as well as Government deliberations usually kept secret for decades.

Gribbin said the arrival of the officers was "at the direction of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet".

"I think they've come across someone's bottom drawer in Canberra", current Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Sky News when asked about ABC's release of some documents. It adds, "The thousands of pages reveal the inner workings of five separate governments and span almost a decade".

According to ABC, "troop deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, counterterrorism operations, foreign relations and Australia's border protection were among the top-secret and sensitive issues decided in the five-year period".

"This is not catastrophically damaging for national security in the sense that that something like the Snowden revelations must have been", Medcalf said, referring to the former US National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden who leaked classified information in 2013.

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