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Australia Drops Charge Against Lawyer Over East Timor Spying Claim

Mark Dreyfus

Mark Dreyfus

Photographer: Michael Masters/Getty Images  

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Canberra, Australia (AP) -- Australia’s new government on Thursday dropped the 4-year-old prosecution of a lawyer over his alleged attempt to help East Timor prove that Australia had spied on the then-fledgling nation’s government during multibillion-dollar oil and gas negotiations in 2004.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus maintained the government's longstanding stance of refusing to confirm or deny whether the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, a spy agency that operates out of Australian embassies, bugged government offices in the East Timorese capital Dili.