Australian Broadcasting Corp. and The Guardian reported Monday that they had documents from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden showing that the Australian agency also targeted the phones of Indonesian first lady Kristiani Herawati and another eight government ministers and officials.
The documents reportedly showed that the Australian Defence Signals Directorate, now the top-secret Australian Signals Directorate, attempted to listen to the president’s phone conversations on at least one occasion and tracked activity on the phone for 15 days in August 2009.
Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister of Political and Security Affairs Joko Suyanto said in a statement that he ordered Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa “to recall the Indonesian Ambassador in Canberra, to review cooperation on exchange of information between Indonesia and Australia, including the assignment of Australian officials at its Embassy in Jakarta, and to review all other cooperation with Australia.”
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was not in government in 2009, declined to comment on the reports in Parliament.
“All governments gather information, and all governments know that every other government gathers information,” Abbott said.
“The Australian government uses all the resources at its disposal—including information—to help our friends and our allies, not to harm them,” he added.
But Bob Carr, Australia’s foreign minister until Abbott’s coalition won September elections, advised Abbott to assure Yudhoyono that if his phone had been tapped, it wouldn’t happen again.
“If the American president can give a guarantee to Angela Merkel of Germany that America won’t be overhearing what she says on the phone, then we ought to be able to do it without any trouble to the president of Indonesia,” Carr told Nine Network television news.