Tapping of South Africans' phones no surprise - expert

2015-02-25 05:00
(File: AP)

(File: AP)

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Cape Town - The tapping of South Africans’ phones by spies and keeping an eye on organisations such as Greenpeace is no great surprise because this is within the realm of what intelligence operatives do, a counter-terrorism expert told News24 on Tuesday.

According to leaked intelligence documents obtained by Al Jazeera, South African state security chiefs feared Israeli agents were eavesdropping on the mobile phone conversations of South African citizens. 

It was also revealed in other cables that intelligence agencies around the globe spied on environmental activist group Greenpeace.

But the Institute for Security Studies’ managing director Anton du Plessis says this isn’t exactly a startling revelation.

“I am not surprised about the spying on Greenpeace, or any other agency. We know that is what intelligence agents do. [The] same [goes] for the tapping of phones. This is what spies do,” said Du Plessis.

South African agents wrote in a 2009 document that they suspected that Israel's secret service, Mossad, was using Israeli software giant Amdocs to eavesdrop on mobile phone conversations and gather data.

According to the cable, Amdocs was suspected of being used as a front company. Its main customers include Telkom SA and Cell-C.

"The implications are serious," an agent wrote in a 2009 secret intelligence assessment of Israel.

The document also reveals that Amdocs faced similar allegations of eavesdropping in the US, but was cleared by the CIA, FBI and NSA.

Other documents seen by Al Jazeera also showed that there was a plot to assassinate Dlamini-Zuma and that Sudan was thought to have been behind it.

Du Plessis said this information “will certainly create an interesting diplomatic dynamic for South Africa and the country involved once it’s confirmed”.

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

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