The letter from the Australian Federal Police to journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark was emailed on April 1 — two months before AFP officers raided the ABC’s Sydney headquarters seeking leaked documents relating to the stories.
The ABC said the email stated the AFP was “requesting your consent to a forensic procedure being the copying of your finger and palm prints”, with the two journalists being suspects in relation to three alleged offences.
The ABC declined to comment further on Monday, beyond confirming the AFP request had been received.
The revelation followed a report in the Sydney Morning Herald which said the AFP had sought from Qantas the travel details of Oakes.
The ABC’s managing director David Anderson has asked for the investigation to be dropped and is pursuing legal action to declare the search warrant involved in the raid invalid.
It is also seeking a permanent injunction stopping the AFP accessing the electronic files removed from Ultimo on a sealed USB stick.
Former military lawyer David McBride has been committed to stand trial charged with theft of commonwealth property, three counts of breaching the Defence Act and unauthorised disclosure of information.
The Australian Federal Police Association in June backed the professionalism and integrity of the officers involved in executing the search warrant. The parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security has begun an inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press.
Submissions to the inquiry close on July 26 and it is due to report in October.