Botswana: State Secrets Compromised

Magosi

Israelis infiltrate Government network systems -claim

Radio Botswana hard hit ; 'There were some technical glitches'

PHILLIMON MMESO

editors@thepatriot.co.bw

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has declined to be drawn into discussing the status of his security on the backdrop of continuous leaking of classified information from sensitive state organs, which threaten to compromise national security.

Speaking through the Press Secretary to the President, Batlhalefi Leagajang, he said relevant institutions are best placed to respond to the issues surrounding the leaked audio tapes of meetings between state security agencies."The institutions mandated with the security of the country are best placed to comment on the issue," said Leagajang in a brief response to a questionnaire from The Patriot on Sunday.

The latest leaks of high profile meetings discussing the case of embattled spy Wilhelmina 'Butterfly' Maswabi is a small matter as government is now faced with serious issues of compromised networks especially in key government departments and ministries. Key government networks are said to have been compromised as classified information continues to be leaked to the public thus compromising national security.

Impeccable sources told The Patriot on Sunday that the state broadcaster, Radio Botswana was recently hard hit when their radio signal was intercepted and hacked by unknown characters leading to the radio station broadcasting of old news. Their live reading of news was also blocked by the hackers who infiltrated the state systems.

Radio Botswana has been experiencing a lot of technical glitches lately regarding their news reels and have launched an investigation using experts on radio production to determine how the security of the system could have been breached. The intrusions are said to have been going on for several months with some emails between senior governments officials ending in the wrong destinations and eventually in the public domain.

Deputy Permanent Secretary - Information and Broadcasting in the Ministry for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Oshinka Tsiang declined to comment on the issue referring any enquiries on the matter to his superior at the Office of the President, Permanent Secretary Andrew Sesinyi. Sesinyi could not be reached at the time of going to print.

Sources at Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) have blamed the intrusion on failure by their organization in renewing license for some of the software they are using. "The other challenge is that IT guys who were trained on the systems have been deployed to other department as they felt that they were loyal to the former administration and now the current IT guys are battling to understand the system," revealed the source, adding that the hackers broke into the periodic automatic updates of the software of government networks and have gained control over the systems including emails.

"Our security system was installed by companies from Israel and now since most of the license have not been renewed, the hackers have inserted their code into periodic updates of software used to manage networks and they are in control of the whole government system," he revealed.

There is concern within Botswana security agencies, especially those dealing with networks, that the intrusion might lead to government losing some material as the attacks had been underway as early as 2019 and they were undetected for a long time.

Reacting to recordings leaked through social media during the week, exposing discussions of high profile government matters like the the Butterfly case which involved agents of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS), the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), the latter said in a statement;"It is unfortunate and regrettable that the deliberations of such a classified operational meeting, was during the conduct of an official government business secretly recorded in this fashion and leaked to the general public and by extension, potentially to the whole world, at a time when a country is dealing with a sensitive serious national issues, among others, in the anti-money laundering, Counter Financing Terrorism and Proliferation financing space".

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