Info for spies' eyes only - govt

2015-02-25 17:51
(File: Al Jazeera)

(File: Al Jazeera)

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Cape Town – The government has launched an investigation into the leaking of documents from State Security Agency (SSA) operatives, labelling the leak illegal.

Minister of State Security David Mahlobo said on Wednesday that the investigation into the leak of the now infamous spy cables will be handled in “terms of the protocols governing the management of classified information”.

On Monday Al Jazeera announced that it was in possession of leaked documents from SSA operatives showing how South Africa became vulnerable to foreign espionage after the end of apartheid.

The cables, obtained by the news organisation, span a period from 2006 to the end of 2014, and include detailed briefings and analyses written by the operatives.

Mahlobo said: “The leaking of the purported documents detailing operational details of State Security Agency is condemned in the strongest possible terms."

He said it is illegal to disclose such information outside the classification protocols in place.

“Such conduct has the dangerous effect of undermining operational effectiveness of the work to secure is country and borders on undermining diplomatic relations with our partners in the international community.

“Any leakages of classified information undermine the national security of any state.”

Mahlobo said further concerns have been raised around social media reports alleging espionage activities linked to some politicians and a head of a Chapter Nine institution.

On Tuesday it emerged that the leaked cables revealed that there was a plot to assassinate African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in Ethiopia days after she assumed the position in October 2012.

The documents also reveal that Sudan was suspected of being behind the plot, and that South African and Ethiopian intelligence agencies were unprepared, with South African officials admitting they did not have time to "neutralise" the threat and apprehend those involved.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  security  |  media  |  spy cables

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