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1111 Glossary of Terms used in ASIO files

Category: ASIO Files


A.C.:                         Agent Comment. These are any comments which the agent thinks may add to the comprehension of the report. A.C. may include physical descriptions of people the agent doesn’t know. This section of a report is where an agent may also express his or her opinion of the event, meeting or person in question. (See also C.O.C)

AGENT:                Volunteer recruited by ASIO and directed to join target organisations and report back to ASIO handler on events persons of interest etc. (See Officer)

ASIO File Number: This is the number of the file of the person of interest. Generally there is a master file held at HQ and a regional one held in the state office in which the person lives. The file number generally begins with the first letter of the Person Of Interest’s surname followed by two sets of digits. In the case of women the file begins with the first letter of their maiden name.



B BRANCH;        Section within ASIO. Broken into two divisions:

                                    B1 – Counter subversion

                                    B2 – counter Espionage

C Branch            Section within ASIO concerned with Vetting

Q Branch            Formally called Special Services Branch. In charge of recruitment and running agents.

BUGLE:               ‘Operation Bugle’ telephone intercept.

C.O.C.:              Case Officer Comment: This is where the agent’s case officer may make a comment about the agent’s report and it’s relevance to some larger picture.

CONTACT:          A friendly member of a community or association willing to supply information. Different to agent who was regular and targeted

DELICATE SOURCE:   An informant or source of information who’s identity should be kept secret as revelation could cause damage to the case or informant.

EVAL & CRED:     Evaluation and Credibility. At the top of many pages Eval & Cred appear. The letters and numbers which appear after them indicate the evaluation and credibility of the file page in question. A1 is the highest and C3 the lowest. Generally speaking A1 might be information direct from the Person of interest to a very credible listener, and agent or officer. C3 would possibly be gossip overhead in a bar spoken by someone not involved in the story in question and overheard by a listener with little or no credibility. Most information appears to be B2.

FNU:                   Full Name Unknown

GRATIS:             Information which is freely and publicly available. Pamphlets, public announcements and the like. (See also Non Gratis)

INTERCEPT REPORT: Log entries of conversations intercepted and then recorded from a telephone line. Mostly these were synopses of a conversation. If the conversation was considered particularly important it would be transcribed literally. At the top of the page are the letters I and R. I is the date on which the conversation was recorded and R is the date on which the report was written up. IN/OUT This indicates whether the call is coming into or out of the phone number which is being interecepted. Time of the call then follows.

NON-GRATIS:       Information which has come from a private source, an informant, a private document, a telephone intercept. (See also Gratis)

NR:                     Not Recorded (ie in ASIO file)

OBE                    (Operation Base Establishment) ASIO surveillance officers.

OFFICER:            Full time ASIO staff member (see Agent)

PHON:                Phonetic. A name or word which the agent heard but can’t be absolutely sure is accurate. Ie “sounded like”.

SPOILING OPERATION: Operation designed to disrupt people’s lives and political activities often using personal information distributed to the press.

SURVEILLANCE REPORT:  A log, noting by time of day, a sequence of events concerning a person, place or event.

THE CASE:         The project where ASIO identified the people supplying secret information to the Soviet Embassy in Canberra.  Most secret.  Soviet diplomatic codes broken by Venona project.

TO BE INDEXED: Words stamped onto a file page next to a name. This indicates that that the person next to this stamp is to have an ASIO file opened on them. Ie they go into the index.

TO RECORD: Other subject files to which the above information should be attached

TRACE:               A search for whether a person had been mentioned in an ASIO security file. Often involved establishing the background of a person of interest. I.e. checking full name, date and place of birth, parents names, date of marriage. The persons of interest’s car registration number, address, and place of employment, details from electoral roll.

UI:                      Unidentified Individual

Q REPORT:           Report written by agent handler as a result of agent debriefing

SECURITY CHECK: The process of assessing the threat to security presented by an individual. Combining a trace, vetting ASIO is able to provide the minister, the public service board or other agency with advice concerning the level of classification that person may be given access to. An adverse assessment often led to an applicant failing to rise within an organisation or failing to get a job in the first place.

SWEEP:               A photographic survey of a location. Often a cinefilm sequence wherein the camera shoots various angles of a location covering surrounding buildings and nearby streets often prior to an operation which takes place in the location. Presumably used in house to help officers acquaint themselves with the topography.

VETTING:            The process of establishing details of a person’s background. Usually begins with Date and Place of birth and builds a detailed picture of who the person is and their social and political connections. Vetting is the raw material used for a security check