Leaker Snowden asked for more dirt

Nick Butterly Canberra
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Leaker Snowden asked for more dirt

Street protest: Demonstrators outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. Picture: Reuters

Indonesian politicians plan to quiz former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in Russia about revelations Australia tapped the phone of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The move came as Indonesian protesters again laid siege to the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, burning images of Tony Abbott, throwing eggs and calling for a hard line against Australia.

More than 1600 police were deployed to the Australian and US embassies and at several other potential targets in the capital after reports that hardline group the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) planned to hold the rallies after Friday prayers.

Indonesian media reported MPs had "permission" from Moscow to go to Russia to meet with Snowden, who lives under temporary protection there.

The American is thought to have stolen hundreds of thousands of highly classified documents while working for the NSA, including papers showing how Australia targeted the phone of the Indonesian President.

The Jakarta Post said a delegation of Russian politicians was in Indonesia this week to discuss the Australian phone tapping revelations.

Indonesia also launched an investigation into local telecommunications companies to see what role they may have played.

Indonesian Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring summoned executives of the country's 10 mobile phone companies, giving them a week to run internal investigations.

He warned that if any had a role in the tapping they would face charges.

The Australian Government refuses to discuss its response to the crisis and the Prime Minister's office will not to say whether it has replied to the President's letter demanding an explanation.

At his weekly briefing on border security yesterday, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison refused to discuss any aspect of joint operations with Indonesia.

Indonesia has suspended all co-operation on efforts to combat people smuggling until Mr Abbott offers a full explanation.

He has previously called Indonesia Australia's most important partner in combating people smuggling and said the success of border security operations rested on "no single partner".

Former prime minister Julia Gillard told US media Mr Abbott should follow the example of President Barack Obama and give Indonesia an explanation about spying.

She stopped short of saying Mr Abbott should apologise to Indonesia.