Din­twe can’t be trusted with state se­crets – Fraser

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE setumo.stone@city­press.co.za

The coun­try’s top spy, Arthur Fraser, says his le­gal wran­gle with his depart­ment’s over­sight head, Setl­homa­maru Din­twe, is a part of a po­lit­i­cal con­spir­acy to dis­credit him, the State Se­cu­rity Agency (SSA) and the ANC.

In court doc­u­ments filed on Fri­day, Fraser, the SSA’s di­rec­tor-gen­eral, said he with­drew Din­twe’s se­cu­rity clear­ance as in­spec­tor-gen­eral of in­tel­li­gence be­cause he could not be trusted with state se­crets.

He said he had ev­i­dence that Din­twe “per­son­ally and with­out au­thor­ity dis­closed clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion to rep­re­sen­ta­tives of po­lit­i­cal par­ties in Par­lia­ment”, specif­i­cally the DA.

Fraser said he would only dis­close his sources to the judge in cam­era.

In May last year, the DA lodged a for­mal com­plaint with the in­spec­tor-gen­eral’s of­fice, ask­ing for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Fraser’s in­volve­ment with the prin­ci­pal agent net­work pro­gramme which he, as then deputy di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Agency, ini­ti­ated and over­saw from 2007 to 2009.

“The pur­ported in­ves­ti­ga­tion is ma­li­cious and at the whims of po­lit­i­cal par­ties aimed at dis­cred­it­ing me, the agency and the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship,” Fraser said in his re­ply­ing af­fi­davit.

City Press un­der­stands that while Fraser had the power to with­draw se­cu­rity clear­ances, such de­ci­sions should be based on a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion and a de­tailed re­port.

SSA in­sid­ers said former pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and former in­tel­li­gence min­is­ter David Mahlobo ap­pointed Fraser, de­spite warn­ings that he was not fit for the job, to the dis­plea­sure of many in in­tel­li­gence cir­cles and some in the ANC de­scribed as “the ex­iles”.

A source said the SSA was con­tested po­lit­i­cal ter­rain and the only way to pro­fes­sion­alise it was to re­move it from the old guard and let the younger gen­er­a­tion take charge.

Din­twe on Wed­nes­day chal­lenged the with­drawal of his se­cu­rity clear­ance in court. He ar­gued that Fraser was try­ing to stop him from in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­le­ga­tions that he was cor­rupt.

He said the de­ci­sion con­sti­tuted a sus­pen­sion – which fell out­side Fraser’s pow­ers – be­cause he was un­able to get into his of­fice and do his work.

The DA this week called on Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa to sus­pend Fraser.

Din­twe re­ceived his se­cu­rity clear­ance in Fe­bru­ary last year, ap­proved by Fraser. He re­voked his de­ci­sion on the ba­sis that Din­twe had re­fused to sub­ject him­self to a revet­ting process.

Fraser said Din­twe could ap­peal in­ter­nally if he was dis­sat­is­fied. He said clas­si­fi­ca­tion in­cluded ac­cess to of­fice premises.

He ac­cused Din­twe of con­tin­u­ing to be reck­less by at­tach­ing con­fi­den­tial doc­u­ments to his court ap­pli­ca­tion, which meant they were avail­able to the public.

“It is ap­par­ent that he fails to ap­pre­ci­ate the prin­ci­ples of con­fi­den­tial­ity that gov­ern the cir­cu­la­tion of clas­si­fied doc­u­ments. This fail­ure por­trays a lack of ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the ba­sic rules of the area in which he must ex­er­cise his over­sight re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.”

Fraser said that in Novem­ber last year, in­for­mants tipped him off that rep­re­sen­ta­tives of po­lit­i­cal par­ties in Par­lia­ment had clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion about the se­cret ac­tiv­i­ties and op­er­a­tions of the SSA and that this had been given to Din­twe.

It ap­peared that the SSA’s cur­rent and former em­ploy­ees were shar­ing state se­crets with unau­tho­rised per­sons. Such con­duct ham­pered the agency from per­form­ing its counter-in­tel­li­gence du­ties. His ef­forts to ver­ify his brief with Din­twe failed, he said.

Fraser said me­dia ar­ti­cles pub­lished at that time made ref­er­ence to clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion in pos­ses­sion of Din­twe’s of­fice. He was later told that Din­twe had passed clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion to MPs.

He said his de­ci­sion to revet Din­twe was taken “in or­der to pro­tect the in­tegrity of the of­fice of the in­spec­tor-gen­eral of in­tel­li­gence, while main­tain­ing the SSA’s counter-in­tel­li­gence man­date”.

When the me­dia leaks con­tin­ued in De­cem­ber, he launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. He said that his re­quest for Din­twe’s co­op­er­a­tion again failed.

Fraser said that ac­cord­ing to le­gal ad­vice he re­ceived, the de­ci­sion to with­draw se­cu­rity clear­ance con­sti­tuted ad­min­is­tra­tive ac­tion which would re­main in ef­fect un­til set aside by a court of law.

Fraser is men­tioned in Jac­ques Pauw’s book, The Pres­i­dent’s Keep­ers, for hav­ing been ac­cused of run­ning a par­al­lel in­tel­li­gence net­work dur­ing a pre­vi­ous stint at the SSA prior to 2010.

ARTHUR FRASER

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