There have been questions of when (not if) the next "Ed Snowden" situation would show up. There certainly have been a few recent leaks that appear to have been from folks other than Snowden, but they've mostly been one-off leaks. However, this morning, Al Jazeera is claiming that it got its hands on a huge trough of spy documents
, in the form of cables from South Africa's spy agency, the State Security Agency (SSA), and it will begin reporting on what's in those documents, in collaboration with reporters at The Guardian:
Spanning a period from 2006 until December 2014, they include detailed briefings and internal analyses written by operatives of South Africa's State Security Agency (SSA). They also reveal the South Africans' secret correspondence with the US intelligence agency, the CIA, Britain's MI6, Israel's Mossad, Russia's FSB and Iran's operatives, as well as dozens of other services from Asia to the Middle East and Africa.
The files unveil details of how, as the post-apartheid South African state grappled with the challenges of forging new security services, the country became vulnerable to foreign espionage and inundated with warnings related to the US "War on Terror".
As Al Jazeera points out, this is not "signals intelligence" (SIGINT) material, but rather "human intelligence" (HUMINT) of the kind normally done by the CIA, rather than the NSA. It's about spies on the ground -- and also, according to Al Jazeera, their humdrum daily office existence. Honestly, it almost sounds like the plot of a bad sitcom: come work at a premier national intelligence agency... and bitch about the lack of parking
At times, the workplace resembles any other, with spies involved in form-filling, complaints about missing documents and personal squabbles.... One set of cables from the Algerian Embassy in South Africa relates to a more practical concern. It demands that "no parking" signs are placed in the street outside. The cable notes that the British and US embassies enjoy this privilege, and argues that it should be extended to Algeria as well.
Whether or not this latest leak turns up anything more interesting than parking disputes, it is worth noting that another trove of intelligence documents have leaked...