Melbourne, July 29 : Australia's security intelligence agency repeatedly told the Howard Government when it was in power last year that former terror suspect Mohamed Haneef posed no security threat.
According to news.com.au, in an unclassified submission to the inquiry into last year's bungled investigation of the Gold Coast-based doctor, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) Director-General Paul O'Sullivan has revealed his organisation never believed Dr Haneef was a threat.
Dr Haneef was arrested in Brisbane and detained for 12 days without charge last year over suspected links to botched terror attacks in Britain.
He was later charged but the case against him collapsed amid accusations of bungling by the authorities.
ASIO conducted an intelligence investigation into Dr Haneef and provided analytical support to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), but never questioned Dr Haneef itself.
"In conducting its intelligence investigation, ASIO considered whether Dr Haneef posed a threat to security and provided advice across government on this issue," Mr O'Sullivan said.
"ASIO participated in whole-of-government meetings in relation to Dr Haneef.
"ASIO's consistent advice to these meetings was that, based on available information, ASIO did not assess Dr Haneef as a threat to security and did not have grounds to issue an adverse security assessment."
O'Sullivan also said that ASIO was not involved in the decisions to arrest, charge, prosecute or release Dr Haneef.
Meanwhile, lawyers acting for Dr Haneef said they wanted the Clarke inquiry to be given the powers of a royal commission.
Retired NSW Supreme Court judge John Clarke, who is heading the inquiry, yesterday declared much of the evidence presented to him cannot be made public and he would not be seeking royal commission powers.
Dr Haneef's lawyer Rod Hodgson today said the Rudd Government had promised a full judicial inquiry.
"Whatever this inquiry is, it is not judicial and it is not open," he said.
"It is a very convenient result for the Australian agencies, especially the AFP and DIAC (Department of Immigration and Citizenship), in that they cannot be made accountable to the Australian public because of an alleged fear of offending a foreign government.