Australian government under fire over alleged intelligence fiasco


The officer widely seen as the army’s leading intelligence analyst, Lieutenant-Colonel Lance Collins, has urged Prime Minister Howard to appoint a wide-ranging royal commission into an alleged litany of intelligence failures.

The alleged failures include East Timor, the October 2002 Bali bombings that claimed 202 lives, the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and delays in reacting to French intelligence about the arrival of suspected Islamic terrorist Willie Brigitte.

Collins also outlined failures to predict coups in Fiji, the fall of Suharto in Indonesia, the Asian financial crisis and the breakdown of law and order in the Solomon Islands.

As long ago as 1998, Collins reported the Indonesian military was funding the militia in East Timor and in 1999 he forecast both that East Timor would vote for autonomy and that the militia would attempt to derail its move to independence.