Australian Secret Intelligence Service, Australia's overseas secret intelligence collection agency
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ASIS in the AIC

The Australian Intelligence Community (AIC) comprises six Commonwealth intelligence agencies, each with distinct responsibilities and functions. They include the Office of National Assessments (ONA), the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO), the Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO) and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS). There are three collection agencies (ASIS, ASD and DIGO) and two assessment agencies (ONA and DIO). ASIO's role incorporates collection and assessment, as well as policy formulation and advice. For more information about the AIC, visit

Difference between ASIS & ASIO

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) is Australia's national security service. As set out in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979, ASIO’s main role is to gather information and produce intelligence to warn the government about activities or situations that might endanger Australia’s security. ASIS and ASIO have in common the fact they both collect intelligence from human sources and are both members of the Australian Intelligence Community (AIC). However, there are substantial differences between the two agencies. ASIS’s work relates to foreign intelligence in the interests of Australia's national security, foreign relations and national economic well-being, whilst ASIO’s work principally relates to security intelligence. ‘Security intelligence’ is not a synonym for ‘domestic intelligence’ - ASIO’s role is limited only by its function of security intelligence as defined in the ASIO Act, not by geography. Another important difference is that while human intelligence constitutes the majority of ASIS’s work, ASIO’s human collection is only one part of its work as an integrated collection, assessment and advisory agency.

chat icon Minister for Foreign Affairs

ASIS is accountable to Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs

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law icon Legislation

Following reforms in recent years, the accountability framework for most intelligence agencies in Australia has been provided by legislation.

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gears icon Accountability

ASIS operates under a stringent accountability framework, as set out in The Intelligence Services Act 2001 ('the Act').

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