Australia's domestic spy agency has foiled a plot by foreign agents to penetrate the intelligence community.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation's director-general Mike Burgess revealed details of the thwarted operation in his agency's latest annual report.
"An Australia-based foreign national was working with a team of foreign intelligence officers, who were trying to recruit multiple Australian security clearance holders," Mr Burgess said.
"The agents wanted sensitive information about the intelligence community's operations, particularly those directed against their home country."
Mr Burgess again warned there were more foreign spies and their proxies operating in Australia than at the height of the Cold War.
"Foreign governments are seeking information about Australia's capabilities, research and technology, and domestic and foreign policy," he said.
"Almost every sector of Australian society is a potential target of foreign interference, and the threat manifests itself in different but equally unacceptable ways."
Over the past year, the domestic spy agency has ramped up investigations into attempts to secretly recruit Australian politicians.
"In all states and territories, at every level of government, intelligence services are seeking to cultivate politicians who will advance the interests of the foreign country," Mr Burgess said.
The intelligence chief is also concerned foreign agents are monitoring, harassing and intimidating members of diaspora communities.
"We have uncovered many cases - involving multiple countries - where Australian community members and their families have been threatened for expressing views at odds with the foreign government's policies or values," he said.
"It is unacceptable that people in Australia are being intimidated simply for advocating democratic reforms or criticising human rights abuses.
"Seen in this context, foreign interference can be nothing less than an attack on Australia's sovereignty, multicultural communities, values and freedoms."
Mr Burgess also said right-wing extremists had become more organised, sophisticated, ideological and active than in previous years.
"While we have been actively monitoring the threat for some time, this year extreme right-wing individuals comprised around one-third of our counter-terrorism investigative subjects," he said.
"Many of these groups and individuals have seized on COVID-19, believing it reinforces the narratives and conspiracies at the core of their ideologies.
"They see the pandemic as proof of the failure of globalisation, multiculturalism and democracy, and confirmation that societal collapse and a 'race war' are inevitable."
Australia's terror threat remains at probable and Mr Burgess said there was no prospect it would be lowered in the foreseeable future.
Sunni Islamic extremism remains ASIO's greatest concern.