Spooks can't serve individuals

In his book The President Keepers, Jacques Pauw makes a series of revelations about the state security agency.
In his book The President Keepers, Jacques Pauw makes a series of revelations about the state security agency.
Image: ALON SKUY

The State Security Agency (SSA) oversees the country's intelligence services. It informs and controls strategies in regard to the deployment of intelligence agents to identify and neutralise threats to national security.

Doing this work is only ever legitimate if it is in the defence of national security. When the SSA prosecutes its mandate for other motives and interests other than the national interest, it must account to constitutional structures.

But the SSA suffers from an apartheid mentality. It believes its claim to secrecy means it has no obligation to account. It lives in a parallel universe where South Africa has yet to transition to a democratic society premised on the supremacy of the constitution.

In his book The President Keepers, Jacques Pauw makes a series of revelations about the sinister, illegal and underhanded activities of the agency.

The reason Pauw ended up having to write a book exposing the shenanigans within the SSA is due to the failure of the oversight mechanisms, in particular the Inspector General for Intelligence, which is tasked to investigate allegations of misconduct within the SSA and ensure accountability.

It also points to the ineffectiveness of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence in parliament that has been unable to rein in the intelligence fraternity due to the unwillingness of members who have an interest in defending and protecting the president at all cost.

In its attempts to intimidate Pauw, the SSA has resorted to accusing him of disseminating classified information that has jeopardised national security. As Pauw himself points out in his book, this is hogwash.

What he has done is to uncover the use of state intelligence and abuse of state resources for narrow political ends to the detriment of the development and stability of our country. Pauw has done a national service deserving of a medal.

The discourse about Pauw's race as well as throwing back to allegations of a plot of regime change are designed to deflect from the real issue.

The SSA has resorted to apartheid tactics to censor and ban this work because it doesn't want us to know about the "orgy of depravity and venality" in the state that Pauw has laid bare for all to see.

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