Alumnus wins prize for official ASIO history

24 April 2015

Professor David Horner (PhD '81), from the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, has won a coveted prize for his official history of Australia's domestic spy agency ASIO.

Horner's book, The Spy Catchers, has won the St Ermin's Hotel Intelligence Book of the Year Award in London.

Covering the period from 1949 to 1963, The Spy Catchers is the first official history of Australia's Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

"David Horner knows his craft and has produced a hugely impressive account of ASIO's work, which is greatly deserving of this award," judges of the St Ermin's Hotel Intelligence Book of the Year prize said.

The first volume, released in late 2014, sheds new light on a conspiracy theory that ASIO and the government engineered the Petrov defection, specifically to embarrass the Labor Party and keep it out of power.

The book also outlines tactics ASIO used in counterespionage, from embassy bugging to surveillance of local suspects.

The St Ermin's Hotel was once the headquarters of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service and part of the hotel was used by the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War.

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