Africa

South Africa investigates alleged leak of intelligence files

 

File: In this Monday, Feb. 23, 2015 file photo Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walks past a window overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. According to files after allegedly being leaked and widely published Tuesday Feb. 24, 2015, documenting the concerns of past South African authorities' concerns about Iranian influence in Africa as well as communication between South African intelligence and the American CIA and Israel’s Mossad. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, FILE)

File: In this Monday, Feb. 23, 2015 file photo Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walks past a window overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. According to files after allegedly being leaked and widely published Tuesday Feb. 24, 2015, documenting the concerns of past South African authorities’ concerns about Iranian influence in Africa as well as communication between South African intelligence and the American CIA and Israel’s Mossad. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, FILE)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Warning of a threat to national security, a top South African official on Wednesday condemned an alleged leak of South African intelligence documents and said an investigation is underway.

The comments by David Mahlobo, South Africa’s state security minister, followed the publication this week of the purported spy files by The Guardian and Al-Jazeera news organizations.

The files, which were reportedly leaked, document past South African monitoring of suspected Iranian spies as well as communication between South African intelligence and the CIA and Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

Mahlobo said it is illegal to disclose classified information.

“Such conduct has the dangerous effect of undermining operational effectiveness of the work to secure this country, and borders on undermining diplomatic relations with our partners in the international community,” he said in a statement.

“Any leakages of classified information undermine the national security of any state,” Mahlobo said.

He also noted that it was common for countries to share intelligence on “cross-cutting issues” such as economic opportunities and security matters.

The Democratic Alliance, South Africa’s main opposition party, has said the leak could hurt the credibility of the country’s intelligence service and damage its relationships with foreign spy agencies.

 

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