#SpyCables: SA spying on Russia

It's emerged SA is spying on Russia to get information about its own satellite surveillance project.

FILE. A Screengrab from Al Jazeera’s Spy Cables video shows a South African State Security leaked document.

JOHANNESBURG - With the next wave of leaked Spy Cables, it's emerged South Africa is spying on Russia to get information about it's own satellite surveillance project.

Project Condor culminated in the Russian launch of a satellite last year on behalf of South Africa, which hoped to allow the country to conduct it's own surveillance of Africa.

But as Al Jazeera reports on the latest leaked Spy Cables, very little is known about South Africa's own project.

"It's a joint South African and Russian project, code named Condor. While it monitors all of Africa, it's creators are struggling to monitor it. Few in government even know what Project Condor is or what they're paying for."

While Project Condor has been led by South African military intelligence, the latest Spy Cables suggest it's left their civilian counterpart out of the loop.

The State Security Agency (SSA) is relying on an agent with direct access to the Russian government to obtain information about the project.

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Dubbed 'Agent Africanist', the spy has reported back on the number of technicians involved in the project.

He also confirmed Russia's interest to further invest in South African arms manufacturer Denel, geared towards supplying the African market with weapons to rival France and the United States.

The SSA on Wednesday announced its launched an investigation into the leaks warning that disclosure of classified information is against the law.

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At the same time, Al Jazeera has released another batch of the secret documents.

The data has exposed South Africa's secret relations with the world biggest spy agencies, including the America's CIA and Israel's Mossad.

The latest Spy Cables have revealed how the South African government allegedly suspects that the country serves as a transit point for al-Qaeda terrorists but that they do not pose a direct threat to the nation.

Two power-point presentations in the batch of Spy Cables show how at least half a dozen Al-Qaeda operatives were monitored entering South Africa, spending short periods of time here and then movong on to other countries.

While in South Africa, they received support and met with other suspects believed to be linked to the terror network, including the now infamous Samantha Lewthwaite, also known as the 'White Widow'.

The Spy Cables also referred to a specific individual whose name has been redacted as being the second highest ranking al-Qaeda member in South Africa, suggesting the network is well established.

In other documents however, it's clear that local spies do not believe the organisation poses a direct threat to the country.


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

A 2009 report reveals National Intelligence Agency concerns over diplomatic cover being used to obtain access to certain individuals and institutions.

Foreign intelligence services also reportedly used diplomatic privileges to gain access to critical information and infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the SSA has warned the leak has the potential to undermine national security and adds that disclosing such information is illegal.

The agency said in a statement, that disclosing classified information has the dangerous effect of undermining the operational effectiveness of efforts to secure the country's borders, as well as souring diplomatic relations with the international community.

State Security Minister David Mahlobo is said to have noted the leaks with concern.

The SSA says that it's illegal to disclose classified information and that a full investigation into the breach is being conducted.

The agency says government has also noted some reports of the spying activities of certain politicians, which is says it will also investigate.