Monday, November 21, 2011
A CLASSIFIED booklet containing President Barack Obama's Australian visit schedule down to the minute, as well as details of his security convoy and the mobile phone numbers of dozens of senior US and Australian officials, was found by The Age on a Canberra street on 17 November 2011.
The booklet, Overall Program and Orders of Arrangements, for Mr Obama's visit, was found by the Age reporter in a gutter about 100 metres from the front entrance to Parliament.
One of Australia's top national security analysts, Alan Dupont, said the find represented a ''significant security breach''
''If that had got into the wrong hands, it would certainly put the President and some of his entourage at risk if someone could respond quickly enough to having the information,'' said Professor Dupont, who is the Michael Hintze chair of international security at Sydney University.
''Even if you were an ordinary crim, there would be a market for that kind of book, so it's not good news.''
The 125-page booklet is classified ''In-Confidence'' and its cover states the information it holds ''is not to be communicated either directly or indirectly to any person not authorised to receive it''.
More than 120 pages are dedicated to a minute-by-minute description of Mr Obama's schedule, and it even reveals which limousine door the President will use at events.
I suspect this booklet was accidently thrown or slipped from a person who is directly involved in the preparation of this visit.
It was not intentional.
''On a signal from the Presidential Advance Agents, the Prime Minister, [Australian ambassador to the US Kim] Beazley and [US ambassador to Australia Jeffrey] Bleich alight from their vehicles,'' the booklet states for the event at the Darwin RAAF base.
It also lists the ''seating arrangements'' for the presidential motorcade, the world's highest-security convoy.
It lists the exact breakdown of Mr Obama's Secret Service presidential protective division, including its ''Counter Assault Teams'' a ''comms vehicle'', an ''intel car'' and the ''Hammer Truck'' (Hazardous Agent Mitigation Medical Emergency Response). It is the Secret Service team that provides emergency medical treatment.
Then there are the dozens of mobile-phone and landline numbers for senior Australian and US military and civilian staff. The phone numbers included the mobiles of the US deputy ambassador Jason Hyland and the US consuls-general in Victoria, Sydney and Perth; a marine major who works as an embassy attache; three Australian air force wing commanders in Canberra and Darwin; and the Federal Police co-ordinator for foreign dignity protection.
''It's incredible,'' Professor Dupont said. ''It could be exploited down the track because it's got all sorts of numbers in it. And if you are somebody who could exploit that or sell it to someone who could exploit that, it could be serious because you could listen in to the telephone calls of people who are very senior.''
The booklet also names a long-serving member of Mr Obama's Secret Service unit.
Hey.. come on Obama....