Al Jazeera release 'Spy Cables'

The top secret documents come from the world’s major agencies including Mossad, MI6 and FSB.

A screengrab from the Al Jazeera 'Spy Cables' video. Picture:

A digital leak to Al Jazeera of hundreds of secret intelligence documents from the world's spy agencies has offered an unprecedented insight into operational dealings of the shadowy and highly politicised realm of global espionage.

Over the coming days, Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit is publishing 'The Spy Cables', in collaboration with The Guardian newspaper.

Ranging from confidential to top secret, the documents come from the world's top agencies including Israel's Mossad, Britain's MI6, Russia's FSB and from South Africa, which now reportedly faces its largest and possibly most damaging leak.

Spanning a period from 2006 until the end of 2014, the documents include detailed briefings and internal analysis written by operatives of South Africa's State Security Agency.

The files give details of how, as the post-Apartheid South Africa grappled with the challenges of forging a new security service, the country became vulnerable to foreign espionage.

But unlike the documents from US operative Edward Snowden focussing on electronic signals intelligence, the 'Spy Cables' deal with human intelligence.

The identities of the operatives have been removed but details on the agency and its operations are expected to be revealed.

(Phumlani Pikoli)