Johannesbur – A former apartheid-era intelligence agent has been fingered as the source of the damaging intelligence cables that were leaked to TV channel Al Jazeera.
The Sunday Independent has established, through a number of independent intelligence sources, that the leak was the result of a breach of security by an agent who was working on a secret intelligence project code-named the Mokopa Missile project.
The agent, whose name is known to The Sunday Independent, had given his brother-in-law access to his official computer.
The brother-in-law copied all the files in the hard drive and then sold them to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the British secret intelligence MI6.
However, MI6 made a copy and returned the document to the SA State Security Agency (SSA). Criminal and internal investigations were then launched by SSA.
US embassy spokesman Jack Hillmeyer said on Saturday: “We have no information on the spy cables. We have no comment about that.”
He added they had read about the leaked cables in the media. However, he pointed out that none of the leaked documents that were reported on were purported to come from the US government.
And British High Commission spokesman Hooman Nouruzi said: “We do not comment on intelligence matters.”
The actions of the ex-apartheid intelligence agents were investigated by the SAPS and a docket was submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority.
Two investigating officers familiar with the matter this week refused to discuss the case with The Sunday Independent.
NPA spokesman Velekhaya Mgobhozi did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday.
Following recent media reports about the leaked classified security documents, State Security Minister David Mahlobo said he had launched a full investigation into the purported leakage.
Mahlobo said it was illegal, in terms of the country’s classification protocols, to disclose information of such a nature and that such leaks undermined national security.
On Saturday, SSA spokesman Brian Dube said the investigation to find the source of the leaked information “is ongoing”.
When asked if he knew anything about the allegations that an agent had given his official computer to his brother-in-law, who then downloaded the information, and sold it to the CIA and MI6, he said: “We would not be drawn into speculation. We won’t be able to speculate who could have done it,” Dube said.
He said the SSA would wait for the investigations to be concluded.
The leaked documents included information, among other sensational claims, that AU chairwoman, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, was almost assassinated in 2012, days before she assumed her position.
The cables pointed the finger at Chad.
A government official, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Those documents are very authentic. It’s like Wikileaks. “They are talking about the things that we were alerted to.” The government official added: “At the time our security agencies were alerted to a plot to assassinate Dr Dlamini Zuma.”
The source added: “It’s very tense. There are all sorts of investigations. There are people that are suspected. There are people that have been removed. We believe there are other forces at play.”
Last year, head of the national intelligence co-ordinating committee, Dennis Dlomo, the director of the domestic branch of the SSA, Simon Jabulani Ntombela, and the deputy director-general of domestic collection, Nozuko Bam, were suddenly redeployed as ambassadors.
The documents in Al Jazeera’s possession include exchanges between the SSA and its counterparts around the world, including some showing that South Africa was monitoring Iranian agents.
According to one of the leaked National Intelligence Agency document from January 2010, businesses in South Africa have allegedly been used as fronts to help the Iran revolution, and there are jihad training camps at Zakariyya Park in Lenasia and at a farm in Port Elizabeth and in KwaZulu-Natal.
The document looked at the Iranian Intelligence Service’s operations in South Africa and gives an overview of its activities in this country. It also said Iran was using students who had previously undergone either religious training or military training in Lebanon for covert intelligence collection and espionage.
South African students also received religious training in Iran, and “front companies to disguise revolutionary Islamic activities are being utilised by these students to radically influence the Islam communities in many African countries”, the document stated.