Neo-Nazis One Of Australia's Biggest Security Threats, Says Top Intelligence Chief
Neo-Nazis have become one of the most significant threats to national security, according to Australia's top intelligence chief.
"Small cells" of right-wing extremists are strengthening their resolve and meeting to compare weapons and discuss "hateful ideology", according to Australian Security Intelligence Organisation director-general Mike Burgess.
The intelligence chief said as well as Islamic extremists, ASIO had been monitoring right-wing groups for "some time," ABC reports.
Speaking to diplomats on Monday night inside ASIO's headquarters in Canberra, he said the agency started paying closer attention to far-right groups after the Christchurch shootings in 2019.
While a right-wing attack in Australia would likely take the form of a "knife, gun or vehicle attack", Burgess did not rule out more "sophisticated attacks."
"In Australia, the extreme right-wing threat is real and it is growing," Burgess said.
"The number of terrorism leads we are investigating right now has doubled since this time last year."
"The character of terrorism will continue to evolve and we believe that it will take on a more dispersed and diversified face."
Burgess confirmed children as young as 13 are being encouraged to join neo-Nazi gangs, and online recruiting efforts were also taking place, with Neo-Nazis attempting to connect with right-wing individuals around the globe.
"While these are small in number at this time in comparison to what we saw with foreign fighters heading to the Middle East, any development like this is very concerning," Mr Burgess observed.
"Meanwhile, extreme right-wing online forums such as The Base proliferate on the internet, and attract international memberships, including from Australians."
Burgess also warned foreign interference is a greater threat now than it was during the Cold War.
He revealed a foreign intelligence service sent a 'sleeper' agent to Australia that infiltrated the community and fed others private information about Australian expats.
"The agent lay dormant for many years, quietly building community and business links, all the while secretly maintaining contact with his offshore handlers," Burgess said.
"The agent started feeding his spymasters information about Australia-based expatriate dissidents, which directly led to harassment of the dissidents in Australia and their relatives overseas."
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