Parliament must be briefed on Spy Cables - DA

2015-02-24 19:44
(Dan Calderwood, News24)

(Dan Calderwood, News24)

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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

Johannesburg - Parliament's joint standing committee on intelligence must be briefed about the Spy Cables expose, the DA said on Tuesday.

The party's deputy state security spokesperson David Maynier said in a statement he had written to committee chairperson Connie September asking for an urgent briefing on the so-called Spy Cables.

"Al Jazeera’s investigative unit is in possession of a number of classified documents from intelligence services around the world, including the State Security Agency (SSA)," he said.

SSA spokesperson Brian Dube said the agency would release a media statement later on Tuesday.

Maynier said the classified documents now in the public domain included two reports, classified secret. One of them was entitled "Operational Target Analysis of Iran", dated January 2010, and the other "Iranian Intelligence Activities in Africa", dated October 2012.

"These documents provide the first insights we have into the 'inner workings' of the State Security Agency," Maynier said.

"We have never come this close to seeing inside the bottom-drawers of the State Security Agency."

It was imperative the committee be briefed on the likely scope, origins and impact of the expose and whether it would likely reveal any wrongdoing by the SSA.

Civil society group Right2Know (R2K) expected the cable leaks to offer much-needed transparency into the inner working of state security structures.

National spokesperson Murray Hunter said in a statement they had noted the publishers redacted and withheld certain documents, instead of releasing everything.

This pre-empted the claim that such disclosures would likely do irreparable harm to national security.

He said R2K expected South Africa's state security structures to describe the leaks as a hostile act, and seek greater control over the flow of information.

"These leaks may even be used as a pretext to sign the protection of state information bill (the secrecy bill) into law," he said.

R2K saw the leaks as a necessary and inevitable response to the secrecy adopted by South African and many other international intelligence structures.

"This kind of secrecy has led, at home and abroad, to cover-ups and abuses of power from these structures," he said.

Al Jazeera reported on its website that the SSA allegedly spied on Iran.

The monitoring of Iranian agents

According to the report, Al Jazeera had documents - mainly exchanges between the SSA and its counterparts around the world - showing South Africa was monitoring Iranian agents.

Al Jazeera stated South African intelligence agents reported that the Iranians were interested in technology used for satellite interception, online surveillance, and hacking.

South African security services were concerned at Iran's efforts to use official and unofficial channels in South Africa to beat western-imposed sanctions, Al Jazeera reported.

Al Jazeera had a copy of the 128-page report "Operational Target Analysis", written by South African spies and which profiled dozens of alleged Iranian operatives.

According to the report, British agents monitored Iran's activities in South Africa.

The agents profiled a number of carpet shops, publishers, and other small businesses they believed had links to Iran's intelligence agencies.

According to a separate report on Al Jazeera's website the United States' CIA was desperate to make contact with Hamas in Gaza in 2012 and asked South Africa for help.

Al Jazeera reported that the US listed Hamas as a terrorist organisation and had no contact with the group officially.

Classified South African documents also revealed that Israel's then-secret service chief, Meir Dagan, sought Pretoria's help in its efforts to scupper a probe into alleged war crimes in Gaza.

The probe was headed by South African judge Richard Goldstone.

Read more on:    da  |  right2know  |  ssa  |  cape town  |  politics  |  security  |  parliament 2015  |  spy cables

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