America’s top spy, the US Director of National Intelligence, is on a secret visit to Australia, the ABC has learnt.
James Robert Clapper Jr directs the US National Intelligence Program and reports directly to President Barack Obama.
So far the federal government is refusing to give any details of his activities and meetings while in Australia, but the United States embassy in Canberra has confirmed Mr Clapper’s visit.
“As allies, the United States and Australia cooperate closely on a wide range of issues,” an embassy spokeswoman told the ABC.
“It is not uncommon that senior US Government officials visit Australia and engage in high-level consultations.”
Before flying to Australia Mr Clapper stopped over in New Zealand where he met with Prime Minister John Key.
“I’ve met General Clapper on a couple of occasions. He’s obviously got great insight into intelligence and what’s happening around the world,” Mr Key said.
The US intelligence chief is believed to be travelling onboard a US military C-17 Globemaster.
Last week the Australian Federal Police hosted the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James B Comey on a two-day visit to Australia.
Mr Comey also met with Attorney-General George Brandis and Justice Minister Michael Keenan.