Australian participation in the operation of Pine Gap is effectively complete, with access to all areas of the base except the US National Cryptographic Room. The senior Australian Defence officials who negotiated the original implementing agreement with the CIA sought and obtained access to all ‘product’ from the facility. After initial discriminatory restrictions on Australians employed in the Operations Room, by the end of the 1970s, Australians were employed in all of its sections. Compared with arrangements at Pine Gap’s companion station in the United Kingdom, RAF Menwith Hill, Australian officials believe they have achieved a much more genuinely ‘joint’ facility, with command and employment arrangements exemplifying this. However, the fundamental realities are that not only does the vast bulk of tasking of satellites come from the United States and reflect its strategic priorities, but Australian participation in the base’s greatly expanded range of operations brings with it a measure of responsibility for the consequences of those operations.
Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability and Richard Tanter 2016