SA left secrets exposed to foreign spies - Spy cables

2015-02-24 20:05

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

SA's security agency must be more transparent - Right2Know

2015-02-24 14:27

We are finally getting to see who is pulling the strings - Right2Know weighs in on the spy cables. Watch.WATCH

Doha – South African government and security agencies have left secrets exposed at every level and foreign spies have access to all areas of government, according to Spy Cables obtained by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit.

A secret security assessment by South African intelligence says foreign espionage is booming, with more than 140 foreign spies estimated to be operating in SA– and that the South African state is doing a poor job of protecting itself.

On Monday the news organisation announced that it was in possession of leaked documents from State Security Agency (SSA) operatives showing how South Africa became vulnerable to foreign espionage after the end of apartheid.

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

According to the leaked cables there were persistent concerns around information security risks in the government are assessed as a major risk of long-term duration.

“Foreign governments and their intelligence services strive to weaken the State and undermine South Africa’s sovereignty… Some ministries and departments are becoming targets of foreign intelligence services.”

The cables state human error also resulted in a major risk to the integrity of sensitive and classified information through the theft of personal and laptop computers - among other technologies.

Investigations by NIA have exposed serious deficiencies in the security integrity of information communications technology systems (ICT), which has been abused for fraudulent purposes and financial gain.

“Such deficiencies render statutory institutions vulnerable to fraud and corruption, and worst to espionage and malicious infrastructural disruption… Personnel, physical, document and ICT remain prevalent deficiencies.”

These deficiencies left a vulnerable security system with non-adherence to minimum standards regarding the criteria for the classification of documents and control of information.

“Insufficient lock-up facilities to store classified information and the lack of control over copies and/or removal of sensitive information from government departments in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West and KwaZulu-Natal,” according the cables.

There were also no minimum standards are used on encryption for computerised transmission of sensitive and classified data.

Threat to national security

The governments “open door” policy also raised many problems, which poses a threat to South African national security.

“The lack of control of access to the offices of the government employees and those employed at strategic institutions in the country.”

According to the Spy Cables visiting delegations (including delegations from Iran and China) to strategic installations such as Denel, Koeberg and Mossgas utilise official access, usually on invitation of these institutions, to demand access to sensitive plants where advanced technology is being developed.

Read more on:    doha  |  pretoria  |  spy cables

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
25 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.