SYDNEY - Australian spy agencies attempted to listen to the phone calls of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and also targeted his wife and senior ministers, reports said yesterday, drawing a demand for answers from Jakarta.
Secret documents leaked by US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden, obtained by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and The Guardian newspaper, named the President and nine members of his inner circle as targets of surveillance.
Indonesia yesterday recalled its ambassador to Australia for "consultations" over the matter, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said.
The embarrassing details emerged at a time when ties between the strategic allies are already strained over previous spying allegations and how to deal with boat people heading to Australia via Indonesia.
The documents showed that Australia's electronic intelligence agency tracked Dr Yudhoyono's activity on his mobile phone for 15 days in August 2009, when Labor's Mr Kevin Rudd was prime minister.
The directorate reportedly intercepted at least one call.
The list of targets also included Dr Yudhoyono's wife, Ani; Vice-President Boediono; former vice-president Jusuf Kalla; the foreign-affairs spokesman; the security minister and the information minister, reports said.
Dr Yudhoyono's office demanded an explanation from Canberra.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott refused to comment on the latest claims when pressed in Parliament, but said Indonesia was an important partner.