The leak of sensitive information about the Indian Scorpene submarines program was done from an office in Adelaide which is believed to be South Australian crossbench senator Nick Xenophon’s electorate office, an Australian newspaper reports.
Former submariner turned political staffer Rex Patrick, an adviser to Xenophon, has been identified as the source of information for a front page newspaper story in August that triggered an international furore that embarrassed India and the French government-owned submarine builder DCNS, Sydney Morning Herald reports quoting an investigation done by Fairfax Media.
The leak of thousands of pages of information included stealth capabilities and sensitive data related to diving, sonar, noise and the combat system.
According to the report, it was revealed that Senate fully supported his staffer who alerted the media organisation to its existence along with a few redacted sample pages to prove the breach was real.
An investigation has also discovered Mr Patrick tried to tell the Department of Defence in 2013 that DCNS had suffered the major data breach, but the senior navy officer he spoke to did not act on the information.
In August, The Australian revealed details on the leak which contained the entire secret combat capability of the six Scorpene-class submarines that French shipbuilder DCNS has designed for the Indian Navy.
The leak sparked grave concern in Australia and especially in the US where senior navy officials have privately expressed fears about the security of top-secret data entrusted to France.
Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne was quoted as saying that the government "does not consider the unauthorised disclosure of information to be appropriate or in the public interest".
"The Australian government will review the security clearance of any individual or individuals who may have been involved in the alleged unauthorised disclosure," she said on Saturday.