A US institution is said to be using Australian embassies to intercept phone calls and internet data across Asia, according to whistleblower Edward Snowden and a former Australian intelligence officer.
German daily Der Speigel magazine revealed that the top secret Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) operates concealed, secret surveillance facilities at embassies without the knowledge of most Australian diplomats, the Age reports.
According to the report, Fairfax Media found out that intelligence was collected from embassies in Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Beijing and Dili, the high commissions in Kuala Lumpur and Port Moresby, and other diplomatic posts.
The report also claimed that the surveillance facilities are quite small in size and the number of personnel staff is also very low.
The former intelligence officer revealed that while the interception facility at Jakarta collected intelligence on terrorist threats and smuggling, the main focus was on political, diplomatic and economic intelligence.