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February 25, 2021

Indonesian spy boss says apology will be enough

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JakartaPostScreenshot
Critical opinion in the Jakarta Post of Australia’s spying.

Indonesia’s former intelligence chief says the diplomatic row with Australia can be resolved with an apology from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

‘Just apologise and … forgive and forget,’ Abdullah Mahmud Hendropriyono told the ABC.

Mr Hendropriyono admitted in a 2004 television interview that Jakarta had spied on Australia.

With the boot on the other foot, he says there must be an openness to investigating allegations Australia’s electronic spy agency in 2009 tapped the personal phone of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and members of his inner circle, including the president’s wife.

Mr Abbott is under mounting pressure to apologise to Indonesia after receiving a letter from the president, seeking a full explanation and an apology.

Mr Hendropriyono, who led Badan Intelijen Negara from 2001 to late 2004, said he would consider it his duty to spy on an Australian leader.

‘If I were an intelligence officer on active duty … I wish I could, because that is my mission,’ he told The Australian, adding spying on a friendly country could even be a friendly act.

Mr Abbott expressed similar sentiments in a statement to parliament this week, saying Australia’s intelligence resources had been used to ‘help our friends and allies, not to harm them’.


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