ASIO launches spy recruitment marketing campaign on Instagram, says trench coats and fedoras are a factor of the previous

This 12 months, for the primary time, the Australian Safety and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has turned to Instagram as a part of its annual recruitment drive.

The Why I Spy marketing campaign launched as we speak and has been styled to convey the “assorted profession paths and traits of ASIO workers”, an announcement from the division mentioned.

It options the tales of actual ASIO workers to supply perception into the lifetime of a recent Australian spy.

The marketing campaign comes a 12 months after the organisation joined Twitter, and since they allowed the ABC inside their Canberra headquarters for the primary time.

These steps are a part of Director-Common Mike Burgess’s mission to convey extra transparency to ASIO’s operations.

‘I am an unconventional spy’

ASIO Director-Common Mike Burgess in a secret ASIO room.(

Provided: ASIO


As a part of the brand new recruitment drive, Mr Burgess shared his personal profession journey.

“My path to ASIO began at Underdale Excessive Faculty in Adelaide, once I first performed with the varsity’s solely laptop, an Apple 2. It unleashed my inside geek and I needed to change into an electronics engineer,” he mentioned.

“After I graduated, I noticed a mysterious job advert in a newspaper. After I rang for extra data, all they mentioned was ‘whats up’, I mentioned ‘whats up’ again, they usually mentioned ‘whats up…'”

However he additionally described himself as “an unconventional spy”, and the marketing campaign places emphasis on the purpose that there are a selection of the way to be an ASIO spy in 2021, and that spies can lead seemingly abnormal lives.

One other testimonial contains a feminine intelligence officer who described herself as having two jobs.

“I’ve two jobs — I am a spy… and I am a mum. Every are simply as difficult and rewarding as the opposite,” she writes.

“Folks assume spies are Bonds or Bournes, however real-world intelligence work is rather more nuanced and requires a much more sophisticated mindset,” Mr Burgess mentioned.

“ASIO is on the lookout for intelligent, curious individuals who can assume outdoors the field.

Trench coats are a ‘enjoyable throwback’

An Instagram post shows a trenchcoat on a hanger and someone walking away in normal clothes.
The organisation is taking pains to indicate the cliche of a spy shouldn’t be actuality.(



William Stoltz, a senior adviser for public coverage for the Australian Nationwide College’s Nationwide Safety School, mentioned the transfer to Instagram confirmed that Australia was following, albeit extra slowly, within the footsteps of countries similar to the USA and the UK.

“In a approach, it’s extremely a lot shifting with the instances, and in a way, it’s extremely a lot overdue,” he mentioned.

“If you take a look at the recruitment campaigns that comparable companies like MI6 and the CIA and MI5 and the FBI in comparable international locations interact with. These international locations are much more current on social media and within the media typically.

He mentioned it additionally confirmed how a lot the work of ASIO had modified over the many years, because the iconic period of the Sixties.

Sound padding in front of a wire floor.
ASIO’s Chamber of Secrets and techniques, the place listening units are developed and examined.(

Provided: ASIO


The function of intelligence has shifted in direction of preventing cyber crime lately, which means spies had been more and more participating with folks on-line reasonably than in particular person.

“It is companies right here realising the diploma of threat that they’ve adopted from that public profile must be adjusted for the realities of the fashionable age.

“ASIO exists in a really extremely aggressive recruitment market, they want such a various vary of individuals to do what they do. They want linguists, they want increasingly more folks with STEM expertise, when it comes to having the ability to engineer newfangled, fancy units and notably issues on-line.

“I would not thoughts betting that ASIO taking this step out right into a bit extra of a proactive, public house will truly put stress on the opposite companies to maybe take a look at how nicely they’re participating with the general public as nicely.”

Mr Burgess additionally confused the purpose that being a spy was not what movies and tv reveals might need us imagine.

“Trench coats and fedoras are a enjoyable throwback to our previous, however not the truth anymore,” he mentioned.

Why Instagram?

Photo of Instagram photo up close with the words Instagram written in white
A nationwide safety skilled says ASIO desires to have the ability to recruit potential spies as they end highschool.(

Reuters: Thomas White


As for why Instagram had been chosen as a platform for ASIO’s marketing campaign, Dr Stoltz mentioned it most likely mirrored the time it took to recruit folks and the necessity to get the message throughout when potential employees had been solely simply beginning out.

A safety clearance can take greater than 12 months to course of, and might be held up by crimson flags in an adolescent’s profession or life, similar to hole years with no mounted tackle, he mentioned.

“They need to have the ability to say to people who find themselves about to complete highschool and about to go do an undergrad, to say ‘OK, take into consideration the place you are going to journey, take into consideration the kind of associations and issues you are going to do in that formative a part of your life,'” Dr Stoltz mentioned.

Dr Stoltz mentioned the extra conventional technique of approaching younger folks throughout their levels was “taking place much less and fewer”, changed by a extra rigorous and merit-based system.

“I feel that is one thing that occurred rather a lot within the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies when the intelligence companies did actually have this unstructured, old school boys’ membership strategy [where] somebody would get recognized or nominated by an current member of the organisation and introduced in that approach,” he mentioned.


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