1 Nov 2013

Australia becomes embroiled in spying controversy

9:17 am on 1 November 2013

Australia's ambassador to Jakarta will appear before the Indonesian government on Friday to explain reports that Australian embassies have been used for American spying.

Greg Moriarty was summoned by the country's foreign ministry to explain.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports Australian embassies in Asia, including the ones in Beijing and Jakarta, are being used to collect intelligence on the host countries.

The reports are based on documents released by the exiled former intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden.

The ABC's Indonesia correspondent George Roberts told Morning Report that it's already known that Australia gathers intelligence about people-smugglers, which it passes on to Indonesian authorities.

He says Australia's been caught with egg on its face.

"Countries spy on other countries they just don't normally get caught out, Australia's operations have been exposed and therefore it's a situation where Indonesia feels it has to call in Australia and rap them over the knuckles and say this is inappropriate, this is unacceptable."

He says it's the possibility that Australia might be spying on politicians and intercepting phone calls and emails that has really angered Indonesia.

Mr Roberts says Indonesia has also already demanded an explanation from the American ambassador.