National security is an issue that affects everyone. Since the start of federation in Australia in 1901, Commonwealth security services have been operating secretly, serving the government of the day.
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by Valdemar Robert Wake
National security is an issue that affects everyone. Since the start of federation in Australia in 1901, Commonwealth security services have been operating secretly, serving the government of the day. There is a strong body opinion that believes these agencies usually served the aims of the conservative governments. While there is much evidence of this claim, there are exceptions. Bob Wake was one such exception. A man who worked in security for near thirty years, Bob Wake co-operated with the Labor Government and in the process sowed the seeds of his own undoing.
No Ribbons or Medals is the story of Bob Wake's work in Naval Intelligence, Commonwealth Investigation Branch, Military Intelligence, Commonwealth Security Service, Commonwealth Investigation Service and ASIO; work that led one British Naval Intelligence officer to claim that Bob Wake was one of the finest security officers in the British Empire.
"The collection and analysis of intelligence is an exacting task, most if it just hard slog; the value-adding is the inspired thinking that seizes on the hitherto overlooked point or joins the dots where no one else suspect dots existed.
"It requires a rare ability to think outside the square, but as has been shown repeatedly, such people who tend this way are unorthodox, and are therefore anathema to the rigid conformity of the intelligence community...
"Bob Wake was one such intelligence operative - dedicated, obsessive, secretive; the head of wartime intelligence in Australia, Brigadier Bill Simpson, described him as the best security man in the land...
"Bob Wake's son, Val, has gone back over his father's known career, and with access to his personal ASIO dossiers, has produced a book that throws rare light on the shadowy internal working and absurdly petty jealousies of those who gather secrets." Norman Abjorensen, The Canberra Times, Thursday June 17, 2004