JOHANNESBURG - The Mail & Guardian has submitted a complaint to the Inspector General of Intelligence, Zolile Ngcakani, following the discovery of evidence that its journalists were spied upon and subjected to dirty tricks by state intelligence operatives (see article "I Spy...").
In a 25-page letter to Ngcakani the newspaper documents a series of incidents, over several years, where its journalists seem to have been targeted by various state security agencies. Most recently, the newspaper says, it has received information that outgoing editorial Ferial Haffajee and journalist Sam Sole "feature on the spy recordings leaked to President Jacob Zuma's attorney, Michael Hulley. The intercepts apparently involve conversations beyond those immediately relevant to any conspiracy within the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) against Zuma."
The M&G's expose of police chief Jackie Selebi also, the newspaper alleges, precipitated a counter-intelligence operation against the newspaper directed from police headquarters. The newspaper reports that during this investigation journalist Stefaans Brümmer was approached by an individual involved in the private intelligence sector.
"During two meetings it appeared that [this individual - labelled Mr. X] was a plant, on a fishing expedition to extract information: what Brümmer thought of Selebi, whether Brümmer used drugs, and so on. Brümmer got the impression X was recording the conversations - later corroborated when a police source said recordings had been played at police headquarters in which Brümmer discussed Selebi. When X sought further meetings Brümmer was warned by a source acquainted with X that X had been instructed to entrap him with drugs."
In a related comment piece published in the same edition Sole notes that recent events, not least the publication of extracts from the Zuma spy-tapes, have exposed the "blatant manifestation of the pervasive influence of spies on our politics."