Annika Smethurst, the Walkley Award-winning political editor of The Sunday Telegraph, was confronted by several police at her Canberra home this morning with a warrant to search the premises, her mobile phone and her computer.
It apparently concerns a report published in April last year that the departments of Defence and Home Affairs were considering new powers that would allow Australians to be monitored for the first time.
When contacted by news.com.au, Ms Smethurst confirmed the report on The Daily Telegraph website this morning that she was the subject of a search but could not comment further.
In the story, it’s reported that Ms Smethurst’s original article included images of top secret letters between Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo and Defence Secretary Greg Moriarty.
They reportedly outlined a proposal to allow government spies to “proactively disrupt and covertly remove” onshore cyber threats by “hacking into critical infrastructure”.
The proposal could also allow the cyber spy agency the Australian Signals Directorate powers to snoop on the emails, bank accounts and text messages of Aussies, with the approval of the relevant Home Affairs and Defence Ministers.
A spokesman for the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, the union for journalists, told news.com.au it’s closely monitoring the situation.
The AFP and News Corp Australia, which publishes The Sunday Telegraph, have been approached for comments.
More to come