ASIO history finds no evidence that Burton spied

Ernst Willheim, former senior lawyer, writes today in the Canberra Times insert Public Sector Informant (also in other Fairfax media and fuller version in hard copy) about allegations, raised by Professor Desmond Ball and others, that former public servant, John Burton, was a Soviet spy. This follows a speech earlier this year by Pamela Burton, daughter of John. Willheim has read David Horner’s The Spy Catchers, an official history of ASIO 1949-63, which was based on complete access to ASIO files. Willheim writes:

This monumental work contains no less than 23 references to Burton, including that he persuaded Chifley of the importance of security and that Spry concluded there had never been any evidence Burton was a communist. Unlike Ball, Horner had complete access to ASIO’s archives. Horner’s work deals with many personalities, favourably and unfavourably. In response to a direct question, Horner replied to me that he found no evidence in the archives that Burton was a spy.

Willheim’s article also canvasses other evidence.

4 November 2014

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