The infamous filing cabinet documents at the centre of a government scandal have been seized by ASIO officers after they wound up at the offices of the ABC.
A series of allegedly top secret files, known as the “Cabinet Files”, were found during an ex-government furniture auction in Canberra, with news of the discovery breaking earlier this week.
According to ABC News, the broadcaster had reached an agreement with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to hand back the documents found in the filing cabinet.
Intelligence officers from ASIO collected the papers on Thursday night from several locations in Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, where they had been stored securely in ABC safes.
"The ABC and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet have agreed on the securing of and the return of the documents which were the subject of the ABC's Cabinet Files reporting to the Commonwealth," the ABC said in a statement.
"This has been achieved without compromising the ABC's priority of protecting the integrity of its source and its reporting, while acknowledging the Commonwealth's national security interests."
The “Cabinet Files” saga is said to be one of the biggest security breaches in Australian history, with thousands of pages of documents containing classified details involving pollies including ex PMs John Howard, Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd.