Is it possible to stand against corruption within Australia's Defence Intelligence without any physical evidence, and still win? Yes!
In 2011, that's exactly what three ordinary Christians did! Without any physical evidence to back their claims, three people 'bit the bullet' and decided to go public with what they knew.
They uncovered the greatest intelligence scandal in Australia's history!
Have you heard about it? Maybe you have...but it would be no surprise if you haven't. Most of the Australian media didn't really want to touch this one, but, thankfully, the ABC was unafraid.
Without the help of the ABC, and particularly one seasoned reporter and producer, John Stewart of Lateline, this scandal would probably have remained hidden.
So what was the scandal?
In 2009, three people, who would later be known as 'the three Defence whistleblowers' were working together in the Defence Security and Intelligence Authority (DSA) in Queensland, and while there we witnessed things we shouldn't have seen.
Since what we saw constituted a threat to National Security, we went spent a year going through all the usual channels of complaint, to no avail. No one in authority wanted to know.
This was an odd response, considering the heightened security warnings about terrorism being given regularly to the general public.
So in 2011, we contacted the media with an outrageous claim, that DSA was forcing staff to falsify data in Secret and Top Secret files and pass that false data onto ASIO (Australia's version of the CIA) as true and correct.
The most remarkable thing about our claim was that we had no evidence for any of our allegations. The evidence was locked away securely in secret Defence files, totally inaccessible to the media and everyone else.
Defence would need to admit the corruption. Yeah, like that was going to happen!
Three Defence whistleblowers say they have been directly ordered by superiors to falsify security checks on civilian and military personnel. (ABC News, 16/5/2011)
At first, Defence told the media we were lying!
In less than 24 hours after our announcement, we three whistleblowers were publicly denounced as liars. We found this really strange.
We had just openly admitted on television to being part of a system breaching National Security, and Defence, instead of condemning the breach, told all Australia we were lying. Their response was unplanned and ridiculous! Our honesty had caught them off-guard!
Within hours of that announcement, a high-level Defence investigation was set in place to prove we alone were the only ones falsifying data. They were coming after us!
The Defence Department said that only the security checks performed by the three whistleblowers would have to be re-checked. (John Stewart, ABC Lateline, 21/9/2011)
It was cat and mouse from then on!
Nine short days after it was set up that high-profile Defence investigation was cancelled. The Prime Minister of the day, Julia Gillard, intervened and took the investigation out of the hands of the Secretary of Defence and gave it to the most powerful intelligence investigative body in Australia, the Investigator General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS). That investigation held the power of a Royal Commission.
We are going to find out from the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security the depth and length and breadth of how severe this problem is, and I think it’s very severe. (Senator Johnston, ABC Lateline, 19 October 2011)
Amazing things began to happen. Defence found many ways to come after us and each time their plans fell apart. Meanwhile, the six-month IGIS investigation found so much evidence of corruption that our claims became ‘the tip of the iceberg’. The corruption was so widespread and had been going on for so long that some of the damage done was found to be unfixable.
Three whistleblowers who claimed that thousands of Defence security checks had been compromised have been vindicated after an official report found their allegations to be true. (Tony Jones, ABC Lateline Program, 8/2/2012)
The whole story is one of victory against all odds!
So how did we do this? How did we make this work when we had no evidence? How did we get this investigated in the highest courts in Australia without any proof that what we were saying was true?
Well, a lot was happening behind the scenes. Our success didn’t happen by accident. We were organised, and we were not alone...
From start to finish the battle took three and a half years. Was it worth it? Yes!
We owe them a debt of gratitude. The parliament owes these three brave people a great debt of gratitude for coming forward in the circumstances. (Senator David Johnston in an address to Parliament 9/2/2012)