The Customs and Justice minister Chris Ellison says security at Customs’ sites has also been boosted following the theft from the Customs’ cargo processing and intelligence centre at the airport on the 27th of August.
Two men claiming to be computer technicians were allowed into the area, where they reportedly spent two hours before walking out with the two computers.
Senator Ellison says he won’t elaborate on what files were on the computer servers but he says it’s a concern that apparently fraudulent identification was used to gain access the building.
“The Australian Federal Police are investigating the matter and I’ve called for a full report from Customs but can I say that there are reports, that are exaggerated, as to the effect of this theft. The two computer servers involved were for communication purposes. They do not store or retain documents and they do not contain thousands of confidential files, as suggested in media reports.”
The federal opposition leader, Simon Crean, has also expressed shock over the actions of the customs officers.
“How can this happen? You’ve got a government that says that Australia is under threat from terrorism and yet it allows people to walk into the Customs Department and take computers that are known to have information associated with the Federal Police.”
Senior Customs officers have also been criticised for covering up the crime when they gave evidence on Thursday to a parliamentary inquiry into aviation security.
Officers were recalled to the inquiry yesterday to explain why the information had been withheld.
Senior Customs official, Gail Battman said she believed that because the media hadn’t picked up the story it wasn’t neccesary to tell the inquiry about the incident.