Australia's spy chief has stressed the "seriously damaging" impact of the intelligence agency's classified advice to the government being leaked to the media.
Duncan Lewis, the director-general of ASIO, also addressed the harm done by media outlets wrongfully attributing advice to the spy agency.
"When reporting wrongly attributes advice from ASIO, or where our classified advice is leaked, it undermines all that we stand for," he told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra on Monday.
Mr Lewis is adamant his officers would never divulge ASIO advice to third parties.
"ASIO does not and will not use its position to influence the national debate on security-relevant issues through unauthorised disclosures," he said.
"ASIO does not finalise policy or provide running public commentary on the effectiveness of policy proposals."
His remarks tackled head-on a recent article in The Australian newspaper about asylum-seeker medical transfers, which carried the headline: "Phelps bill a security threat: ASIO."
The article was based on a leaked classified briefing from the Department of Home Affairs, which included advice from ASIO and other security agencies.
"The advice that ASIO gave was not what was represented on the front page of The Australian newspaper," Mr Lewis said.
"It is unhelpful, in my view, when inaccurate reports circulate."
The Australian Federal Police is investigating the advice being leaked to The Australian.
Australian Associated Press