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ASIO lifts the lid on an ultra-secure high-tech facility that is one of the quietest places in the world

By on March 29, 2021 0

Inside Australia’s most secret room: Top spy agency unveils ultra-secure, high-tech facility that’s one of the quietest places on earth

  • Australian spy agency finally revealed its ultra-secure ‘chamber of secrets’
  • ASIO has a “floating” room at Canberra headquarters to test listening devices
  • General Manager Mike Burgess said the room was “an audio studio on steroids”

The Australian spy agency has finally revealed an ultra-secure high-tech facility after denying its existence for years.

The headquarters of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) are in the Ben Chifley building in Canberra – but little is known about what goes on behind the doors.

ASIO CEO Mike Burgess took the lead ABC through the 250-meter corridor to the basement of the building and into the body’s “chamber of secrets”.

Pictured: ASIO’s “Chamber of Secrets”, officially known as the “Anechoic Chamber”. The floor is like a trampoline, with large white panels to eliminate sound installed underneath

Officially known as the “anechoic chamber”, the room tests hypersensitive listening devices used by ASIO spies.

“It’s an audio studio on steroids,” Mr. Burgess told the publication.

“This coin actually floats inside the Ben Chifley building. It’s physically isolated, so if the Ben Chifley building was vibrating, this building wouldn’t be vibrating.

The floor is like a trampoline, with large white panels to eliminate sound installed underneath. High heels are prohibited in the room due to the layout.

Audio plays below the level a human ear can hear, but ASIO devices can hear sounds loud and clear.

“Perfect stillness and silence are important as we test our listening devices,” said Mr. Burgess.

ASIO CEO Mike Burgess took the ABC to the 250-meter hallway of the building's basement (pictured)

ASIO CEO Mike Burgess took the ABC to the 250-meter hallway of the building’s basement (pictured)

ASIO also manufactures devices to catch other spies, as there are currently more foreign spies in Australia than there were during the Cold War.

Australian spies use a device that looks like a metal detector to find microphones and transmitters hidden in hard surfaces.

Mr Burgess said ASIO agents would use the device in the Prime Minister’s office and in the Parliament briefing room, among other places where confidential information is shared.

Earlier this year, an Australian spy revealed what it’s like to work for the country’s secret service.

“Sam,” who is an intelligence officer for ASIO, said 9 News that his work bears no resemblance to the glamorous life of the fictional spy James Bond.

The headquarters of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) are in the Ben Chifley building in Canberra - but little is known about what goes on behind the doors

The headquarters of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) are in the Ben Chifley building in Canberra – but little is known about what goes on behind the doors

“We don’t run around driving Aston Martins and drinking martinis,” she said.

Sam was a nurse before becoming a spy after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States and the Bali attacks in 2003.

Her job as an intelligence officer must be hidden from her family and she will not say what she does or how she does it.

“We work to protect people from harm and it’s probably one of the most important jobs in the world,” Sam said.

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