Ex-Australian spy chief joins Scott Morrison at US consultancy

22 May 2024 Consultancy.com.au 2 min. read
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Australia’s former top intelligence official Nick Warner has joined the Trump-linked US advisory American Global Strategies, which recently brought in Scott Morrison as vice chairman.

Warner retired from a four-decade national security career in 2020, at the time serving as the director-general of the Office of National Intelligence (ONI), Australia’s highest intelligence post which reports directly to the prime minister.

He now joins the ex-prime minister at American Global Strategies, which was founded by Donald Trump’s former national security advisor Robert O’Brien and CEO Alexander Gray, previously a White House director for Oceania security.

Ex-Australian spy chief joins Scott Morrison at US consultancy

“The addition of Nick adds exceptional depth in the defense, aerospace, energy, technology, and intelligence sectors on behalf of our clients,” Gray stated. “American Global Strategies continues to expand our roster of highly-capable former practitioners and cutting-edge thinkers to support our clients globally in this deeply complicated and volatile geopolitical environment.”

In addition to leading the ONI from its inception, Warner also previously served as director-general of the overseas Australian Secret Intelligence Service (a role now held by former Proximity chair Kerri Hartland), as well as Defence Department secretary and ambassador to Iran among a series of international postings for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Since his retirement from the Australian public sector, Warner has acted as an adviser for Fortescue Future Industries alongside another former prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and as an external consultant to the Prime Minister’s department during Morrison’s final year in office, during which time he was also employed by the highly-networked political advisory Dragoman.

The arrangement drew criticism from Labor’s Julian Hill at the time; “This is the former spy boss who for decades had access to the most privileged secrets of Australia, who’s finished in the public service and is now working for a lobbying firm whilst separately contracted by the prime minister. Who knows what work he is actually doing and how and if conflicts of interest are being managed.”

Now, Warner will once again work alongside Morrison, after the prime minister recently handed in his federal seat (since claimed by former McKinsey partner Simon Kennedy) to join American Global Strategies as non-executive vice chairman.

American Global Strategies, which is stacked full of Trump-era aides and security advisors, has previously denied it’s a lobby shop.

Branding itself rather as a boutique strategy advisory, the firm’s website states; “American Global Strategies delivers unparalleled expertise for our clients by assessing the global geopolitical environment, devising strategies for navigating US Government processes and policies, assisting on international business transactions, and managing domestic crisis situations.”