Federal Police raid ABC office in Sydney over ‘Afghan Files’

Sydney: The Federal Police raided the headquarters of the country’s public broadcaster ABC early on Wednesday over an investigative story into misconduct by Australian forces in Afghanistan

The search warrants named two journalists and News Director Gaven Morris, the BBC quoted ABC as saying.

The action comes a day after police searched the home of Annika Smethurst — a News Corp journalist — over the alleged leak of classified information.

Journalists expressed alarm over the raid. A spokesperson for the press gallery in Parliament called it “an outrageous move that should concern all Australians who value their freedom in an open society”.

Tuesday’s raid came weeks after a new centre-right government was elected in which Prime Minister Scott Morrison returned to power.

According to a police statement, no arrests were planned and the warrant was “not linked” to Tuesday’s search and was “in relation to allegations of publishing classified material”.

“The search warrant relates to a referral received on July 11, 2017 from the Chief of the Defence Force and the then-Acting Secretary for Defence,” the statement said without giving further details.

According to the ABC, the search is about the 2017 investigative series known as “The Afghan Files” which “revealed allegations of unlawful killings and misconduct by Australian Special Forces in Afghanistan”.