Australian Federal Police officers have left the ABC’s Sydney headquarters more than eight hours after a raid began over a series of 2017 stories known as the Afghan Files.
“This is a serious development and raises legitimate concerns over freedom of the press and proper public scrutiny of national security and Defence matters,” he said. “The ABC stands by its journalists, will protect its sources and continue to report without fear or favour on national security and intelligence issues when there is a clear public interest.”ABC managing director David Anderson
ABC raid: AFP leave Ultimo building with files after hours-long raid over Afghan Files stories
The stories, by ABC investigative journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, revealed allegations of unlawful killings and misconduct by Australian special forces in Afghanistan and were based off hundreds of pages of secret Defence documents leaked to the ABC.
The search warrant named Oakes, Clark and the ABC’s director of News Gaven Morris.
The AFP officers took with them two USB drives containing a small number of electronic files, which were sealed in plastic bags pending a review by ABC lawyers.
AFP technicians password-protected the files and police will be unable to access them until the two-week period of review is over.
The ABC’s lawyers will now analyse the documents to determine any privilege claims. They are also assessing whether they will challenge the terms of the search warrant.
Three AFP officers entered the ABC building at about 11:30am, followed shortly afterwards by three police IT technicians.
AFP officers served the ABC legal team with a warrant and searched for information related to the warrant. READ MORE
What the fuss is all about: War Crimes:
“Hundreds of pages of secret defence force documents leaked to the ABC give an unprecedented insight into the clandestine operations of Australia’s elite special forces in Afghanistan, including incidents of troops killing unarmed men and children.
The ABC can reveal that some of the cases detailed in the documents are being investigated as possible unlawful killings.“