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The head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has warned that the country faces the threat of terrorism from within.

"That lone wolf, that person who can be recruited, indoctrinated, and trained over the internet until the very last moment and that can happen in a very quick amount of time before a bomb goes off or whatever - that is the issue that I think keeps both me and my international colleagues awake at night." he warned today at the Security In Government Conference in Canberra.

Irvine said there are currently over 200 counter terrorism investigations, many involving Australians heading over to the Middle East and Africa to go through extremist training. Somalia and Yemen were named as equally popular destinations as Afghanistan and Pakistan for training camps.

Irvine compared the situation in Australia with that of the UK.

"In June this year the head of the British security service, MI5, John Evans, revealed in a speech that in backrooms and cars and on the streets of his country there is no shortage of individuals talking about wanting to mount terrorist attacks. I would like to tell you that things are different in Australia but I can't."

"The threat will remain as long as the proponents of violent jihad stay committed to the promotion of their objectives by violent means," said Irvine.

David Irvine became Director General of ASIO in March 2009. Australia's national security service employs over 1,600 staff.

Main image: David Irvine (ABC news/YouTube)

Video: ASIO director-general David Irvine talks to Australia's ABC news in 2011 about the development of counter-terrorism efforts in the last decade.


Aussie anti-terror chief says he fears 'home-grown lone wolf' attacks will hit Australia
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