Reports: Hundreds of Spy Files Leaked

PHOTO: In this file photo, a flag flies outside the South African Embassy in WashingtonPete Marovich/Getty Images
In this file photo, a flag flies near a statue of Nelson Mandela outside the South African Embassy in Washington, Dec. 6, 2013.

Two major international publications said today they will be publishing a portion of “hundreds” of leaked spy documents covering nearly the last decade, centering on South Africa’s spy agency and involving the CIA and Britain’s MI-6.

The Qatar-based news outlet Al Jazeera reported today that it obtained the documents from 2006 to late 2014 and, along with The Guardian in the U.K., will be exposing some of the files, which Al Jazeera said “offer an unprecedented insight into operational dealings of shadowy and highly politicized realm of global espionage."

The files purportedly show the secret communications between South Africa’s State Security Agency (SSA) and its international counterparts, the CIA in America, MI-6 in Britain, Israel’s Mossad, Russia’s FSB and even Iranian operatives, “as well as dozens of other services from Asia to the Middle East and Africa.”

The announcement comes as reporters at several publications, including The Guardian, continue to dig through the enormous cache of documents leaked from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) by contractor Edward Snowden. Whereas Snowden’s documents so far have dealt primarily with signals intelligence (SIGINT) capabilities of the NSA and its allied counterparts, Al Jazeera said their crop of documents are more focused on human intelligence, or HUMINT.

Representative at the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. was not immediately available to comment and a spokesperson at the CIA declined to comment on the leak.

The CIA spokesperson did, however, provide a comment with regards to a story by The Guardian based on the documents alleging the Agency had tried to contact the Palestinian group Hamas in 2012 despite an official U.S. ban.

The spokesperson said, "CIA supports the overall U.S. Government effort to combat international terrorism by collecting, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence on foreign terrorist groups and individuals."

"CIA conducts those intelligence activities in compliance with the United States Constitution, federal statutes, and Presidential directives," he said.

In other reports based on the documents, Al Jazeera and the Guardian write that Israeli intelligence apparently disagreed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he told the United Nations in 2012 that Iran was closing on a nuclear weapon. The outlets reported that a month after Netanyahu’s widely-noted “red line” speech, a cable showed that Mossad believed that Tehran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.”