Paul O'Sullivan

Paul O'Sullivan

Paul O'Sullivan (b. Sydney, 1948) is the Australian Director-General of Security and head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Australia's domestic intelligence agency. Prior to his appointment by former Prime Minister John Howard in July 2005, O'Sullivan was Mr Howard's senior foreign affairs advisor. [Cynthia Banham, [ Howard adviser lands top spy job] , "Sydney Morning Herald", July 11, 2005.]

O'Sullivan attended Marcellin College, Randwick, [Tom Allard, [ Read all about it - soon it will be illegal] , "Sydney Morning Herald", 28 October, 2005.] and graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons). After joining the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1971, O'Sullivan held diplomatic appointments in Rome, Washington and Cairo. Between 1991 and 1994 he was the Australian UN disarmament representative. From 1994 to 1996 he headed two divisions in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). After serving as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Australian Embassy in Washington, O'Sullivan was appointed as the Australian Ambassador to Germany in 1999. [Minister for Foreign Affairs, [ Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador To Germany] , Media Release, 2 February, 1999.]

O'Sullivan was the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade between 2003 and 2004. He was appointed as Senior Advisor (International) to the Prime Minister in January 2004. [ Australian Institute of Company Directors, [ Speaker's biographical note.] ]

Criticisms and controversies

Allegation by former ASIS officer

O'Sullivan's appointment as Director-General of Security was criticised by former Australian Secret Intelligence Service officer Warren Reed, who claimed that O'Sullivan failed to protect Reed's cover while serving as deputy to the Australian Ambassador in Cairo, leading to the abduction of Reed's operational assistant by Egyptian security agents and the closure of the ASIS station in Cairo. [Tom Allard, [ New ASIO chief 'blew Cairo spy's cover'] , "The Age", 17 July, 2005.] [Laurie Oakes, [ Interview: Warren Reed] , "Sunday", Nine Network Australia, 17 July, 2005.]

Role in "Oil for Food" scandal

According to evidence presented to the Australian Royal Commission into the "oil for food" scandal, in June 2005, while serving as senior international advisor to the Prime Minister, O'Sullivan advised executives of the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) against full co-operation with a United Nations inquiry into allegations that the AWB had breached UN sanctions by paying kickbacks to the regime of former Iraqi dictator Sadaam Hussein. Notes tendered to the Australian Government's Cole Inquiry showed that O'Sullivan told AWB executives to " [k] eep your responses narrow [and] technical. Do not blame US, complain about process." Prime Minister John Howard had previously ordered full co-operation with the UN inquiry. [Michael Edwards, [ AWB told to be "small target"] , "Lateline", Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 29 March, 2006.]


External links

*Marian Wilkinson, [ Spy chief gives little away at first outing] , "Sydney Morning Herald", 14 October, 2005.
*Tom Allard, [ Citizen to terrorist a quick step: ASIO chief] , "Sydney Morning Herald", 13 March, 2006.
*Brendan Nicholson, [ ASIO warns of domestic terror risks] , "The Age", 5 May, 2006.
*David McKnight, [ Background check shows ASIO still needs to be watched] , '"Sydney Morning Herald", 8 May, 2006.
*Mark Todd, [ ASIO chief warns of attacks in Australia] , "The Age", 14 October, 2006.
*AAP, [ Spy chief gagged on AWB] , "The Age", 14 February, 2006.
*Leigh Sales, [ ASIO boss defends agents over kidnapping] , "ABC News", 5 December, 2007.
* [ ASIO boss rejects 'kidnap' accusation] , AAP, 5 December, 2007.

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