SSA has been monitoring SA citizens

2015-02-27 00:00

AN official application form that spies had to fill in to get spying activities approved had on Wednesday laid bare the extent to which the public is being watched.

The form was part of the many classified intelligence documents from South Africa leaked to Al Jazeera.

It is described as the biggest leak in South Africa’s history of covert intelligence gathering.

The spies’ application document forms part of the Technical Intelligence Policy and Procedures text book.

Spies have to tick or cross boxes to indicate the best technical manner in which to gather information in a covert manner.

The options are

• Recording sound;

• Photographing and filming activities;

• Intercepting cellphone or landline calls;

• Intercepting Internet messages and ­faxes;

• Cloning hard drives and hard drive ­analysis; and

• Monitoring activities on computers.

The leak is the latest scandal to hit the State Security Agency (SSA) in less than a month.

Three weeks ago, Minister of State ­Security David Mahlobo had to apologise for the SSA openly installing a device to scramble cellphone signals in Parliament and activating it before President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address.

DA spokesperson on state security ­David Maynier said the leak had also ­revealed the loopholes spies can use to monitor South Africans.

“The Interception of Information Act and Provision of Communication-related Information (Rica) is so wide you can drive a truck through it,” Maynier said in a ­statement.

Maynier referred to the 2010 report by the Matthews Commission which showed the National Communication Centre of the SSA seemed to be intercepting and ­monitoring communications “in an illegal and unconstitutional manner”.

Maynier said Rica “has to be amended urgently to close the many loopholes”.

Mahlobo said in a statement — which was issued late on Wednesday evening — he has learnt with concern about the leak of classified intelligence reports.

Mahlobo said this was illegal and an ­investigation was already under way into the leak.

Mahlobo said he wanted to assure all South Africans the SSA “will continue to focus on its mandate to ensure protection for South Africa’s citizens and vital ­infrastructure.”

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