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South Australian senator Nick Xenophon said he believed the leak was in the public interest.
14 Dec 2016 - 3:15 PM  UPDATED 14 Dec 2016 - 4:48 PM

The highly sensitive Scorpene submarine data leak that shook India's defence establishment in August this year emanated from the electoral office of South Australian senator Nick Xenophon, Fairfax Media reported.

The 22,000-page leak-termed as an intelligence bonanza for China and Pakistan- which included critical information about the nuclear submarines the French government-owned DCNS is building for the Indian navy, had left India and France red-faced after The Australian splashed it on the front page.

The newspaper claimed it had redacted the critical frequencies in the leaked documents.

DCNS is also involved in building Australia’s $50 billion future submarine project.

A Fairfax Media investigation has now revealed that the man behind the leak was Rex Patrick, and adviser to senator Nick Xenophon who reportedly supported his adviser’s move.

Fairfax Media reported that Rick Patrick, a former submariner, tried to inform the Department of Defence that the French company DCNS had suffered the leak. He reportedly met a senior officer in parliament house and showed him a computer disk containing the leak, however, the officer did not act on the information.

Soon after the data leak story appeared in the newspaper, senator Xenophon called for suspending negotiations with DCNS over fears of security of Australia's future submarine project. 

Though, the powerful South Australian senator said the leak was in public interest, the Australian government is reviewing the security clearance of Rick Patrick.

Defence Minister Marise Payne said the government does not consider unauthorised disclosure of information to be in the public interest.

“The Australian government will review the security clearance of any individual or individuals who may have been involved in the alleged unauthorised disclosure,” she said.

The data was reportedly stolen in 2011 by former French naval officer who was working with DCNS as a subcontractor. 

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