Book Review: The Dark Side of Australia’s Defence Intelligence

7 April 2022


Uncovering corruption within Australia’s defence sector, this book sheds light on how ordinary Australians can stand up and put an end to dastardly deeds.

Monica Bennett-Ryan has written a new book, A Pre-COVID Social Experiment: The Dark Side of Australia’s Defence Intelligence. In it, she narrates, with great detail, exactly what happened between 2009 and 2011 in an intelligence organisation within Australia.Defence Dark Side

Monica and two other former employees made headlines when they blew the whistle on the corruption that they witnessed in Australia’s defence intelligence. Monica has expanded on her writings in What They Saw, drawing parallels throughout the book to the COVID pandemic.

The daughter of a military man and therefore familiar with what Defence should look like, Monica found herself moving from a state department job (due to the Global Financial Crisis) to a job with DSA (Defence Intelligence and Security Authority).

In an environment of chaos, confusion, threats, isolation, segregation, fear and constant job insecurity, she and several others became aware of, and eventually uncovered, rampant corruption within their workplace.

The efforts of these brave few to bring change to the practices of DSA fell on deaf ears, until finally they felt they had no other option than to take their stories to the media.

Speaking Out

In May 2011, Lateline aired their grievances and they were taken seriously at last. It still took many months for resolution to occur and for those in authority to admit that the Defence Intelligence and Security Authority had allowed the compromise of thousands and thousands of security applications over the previous three years, thus affecting the safety and protection of our borders, embassies, parliaments and more.

If you enjoy intrigue, this testimonial provides plenty of suspense as you are introduced to Monica’s new workplace and the odd things that happen there. If you like hearing about the day-to-day gritty details of workplace practices, all with an underlying sense of unease that something is not quite right, and if you love to read about the average Aussie triumphing over the evil and moral dilemmas of our modern world and their implications for society, you will enjoy this book immensely.

Bureaucratic Bungles

Perhaps of greatest interest, however, are the parallels Monica Bennett-Ryan draws between what happened between 2009 and 2011 and the past few years when Australia endured the ‘COVID Pandemic’.

Not only does Monica insert paragraphs in each chapter pointing out the similarities between these two disasters, but the final chapter is devoted to COVID-19.

The last chapter of this book, as the title indicates, gives seven steps that both the DSA fiasco and the COVID crisis have followed.

Monica recalls that she and two other Christian civilians were able to expose the lies and treachery that were happening on a daily basis in the DSA, and gives a strategy that the unsung heroes, the ordinary people of Australia, can take to make a difference in this great nation.

Don’t forget that this is a true story!

The intrigue, corruption, and yet the ability of good to overcome evil, narrated in this book’s pages, have lessons for all of us.


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio.

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  1. Bronwyn Bye 10 April 2022 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    Wonderful read, giving us some real hope! Made me cry!!

  2. Monica Bennett-Ryan 11 April 2022 at 11:48 am - Reply

    Thank you, Alison, for this insightful review. It is an unexpected and very welcome blessing.

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