COVID impact on intelligence agencies to be examined

By Melissa Coade

November 9, 2021

PJCIS chair Senator James Paterson
Liberal senator from Victoria James Paterson will chair the review. (Twitter)

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) will use its annual review of the administration, expenditure and financial statements of six national intelligence agencies to focus on the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

The pandemic is one of five additional focus areas that the committee will consider in its ordinary scrutiny of each agency’s general administration, financial statements, and ability to meet objectives within budget parameters.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO), Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO), the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and the Office of National Intelligence (ONI) will all be subject to review. 

The committee will also assess the risk to agencies’ business-continuity plans as a result of the pandemic, internal staff complaint investigation and resolution mechanisms, the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning for intelligence work, and new operational priorities.

Victorian Liberal senator James Paterson will chair the review and will accept evidence and submissions about the relevant operations of the intelligence agencies until 28 January, 2022. 

“Prospective submitters are advised that any submission to the inquiry must be prepared solely for the inquiry and should not be published prior to being accepted by the committee,” a statement from the PJCIS read.


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