20:13 GMT +316 December 2018
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    'License to Kill': Australian Spies May Be Allowed to Use Lethal Force Abroad

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    Currently, Canberra's agents are permitted to use force only in a few situations, limiting their capabilities. Many of their colleagues in other Western spy agencies have greater freedom in the area.

    The Australian government has suggested giving its intelligence operatives working abroad broader freedoms to use lethal force, the South China Morning Post reported. If the proposal is passed by the parliament, agents would be able to shoot to kill anyone who threatens their operations.

    'The changes will mean officers are able to protect a broader range of people and use reasonable force if someone poses a risk to an operation', Foreign Minister Marise Payne explained.

    Payne also noted that Australian agents often work in war-like conditions and need greater opportunity to defend important individuals, such as hostages. Currently, agents are permitted to use lethal force in cases of self-defence, to defend their colleagues, and to protect Australian government figures.

    The government doesn't currently hold a majority in parliament, but the opposition has previously spoken in favour of the changes. Warren Reed, a former ASIS officer, told the South China Morning Post that he supports broadening agents' rights to utilize force, but warned that proper oversight of such cases is required.

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