Australia's security services delivered safes Thursday to a national broadcasting company to secure hundreds of top-secret Cabinet documents that had been found in two filing cabinets sold at a secondhand store in Canberra.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) the treasure trove of files and published a series of exclusive reports earlier this week.
Australia is scrambling to contain the fallout from the publication of a treasure trove of secret documents that was found in two filing cabinets bought from a second-hand store. "The deals can be even cheaper when the items in question are two heavy filing cabinets to which no-one can find the keys", the ABC said in its report. ABC News has called the documents "The Cabinet Files".
Cabinet papers are legally supposed to remain secret for 20 years after their production.
Inside, they discovered files that are almost all classified, with some designated "top secret" and others marked "AUSTEO", meaning they were meant to be seen by Australian eyes only.
It said the files had been found in filing cabinets purchased by an unidentified person from the shop where ex-government furniture is sold cheaply.
During the September 2013 audit, the AFP said a number of its Cabinet Liaison Officers had properly destroyed Cabinet documents and recorded it, but they were "not aware of the requirement to mark this destruction on a specific electronic database". The files she left in the office contained sensitive intelligence information.
Rudd, who has retired from politics, announced on Thursday that he was taking legal action against the ABC over one report.
In an interview on ABC television Wednesday night, Australia's opposition Labor Party leader Bill Shorten said the situation was "absurd".
The former Prime Minister also claimed the risks referred to in the cabinet document refer to "financial and administrative risks to the program for the Commonwealth" and "not safety risks to workers".
They also reveal that police lost nearly 400 documents from the top-secret national security committee.
The ABC has revealed that the documents related to the loss of nearly 400 national security files over the last five years, a scrapped government plan to rescind welfare payments to under 30s and a home insulation scheme that claimed four lives among other revelations.
"As a former cabinet minister who participated in national security meetings, a senior member of shadow cabinet and a current member of the PJCIS I always take my responsibilities seriously".
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