Wanted: locksmith to open doors to world of spy secrets

HANDY with a lock pick? Watched all the James Bond movies? Want to see the world, meet interesting people and break into their embassy to steal their secrets? The Australian Secret Intelligence Service might have the job for you.

In a new notice on its careers webpage, ASIS, Australia's foreign intelligence agency, is looking for a ''corporate locksmith''.

''This is a unique role for a highly motivated and dedicated locksmith to provide complex locksmith services and advice across our organisation,'' the notice states. ''The position involves interstate and overseas travel, often at short notice.''

While such ''advice'' could involve cracking into the safes of certain Canberra embassies, the job is more likely to involve keeping ASIS's secrets secure.

The job notice says the successful applicant would have to manage the purchasing of all locks, safes and other secure containers for the service. Like most security and intelligence agencies, ASIS uses state-of-the-art safes to protect its many ''products''.

Like Australia's five other intelligence agencies, ASIS has experienced a remarkable decade of growth since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, with its annual budget appropriations growing from $54 million in 2002 to $246 million this year.

For the first time in its 60-year history, the service's director-general, Nick Warner, last month gave a public speech during which he said the 21st century had given ASIS's work ''a new urgency and importance''.

Even applying to be the official ASIS locksmith is likely to be an interesting endeavour, as a disclaimer on the agency's website states.

''All applications for employment with ASIS are handled in the strictest confidence. It is essential that you maintain a similar level of confidentiality and that you not discuss your application with others.''

And sadly for all those Ian Fleming enthusiasts, the applicant must have a qualification from the government Security Construction and Equipment Committee, or SCEC.

A SCEC qualification requires a federal police check, which presumably rules out talented, but ''self-taught'', safe-breakers.

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