Members of intelligence agencies must have felt invincible. Operatives looted cash meant for covert operations and thwarted investigations by over-classifying documents. Politicians knew what was happening but appeared more concerned with targeting the intelligence watchdog than improving accountability.
One of the most startling aspects of Inspector-General for Intelligence Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe's testimony at the Zondo Commission is that for some MPs, the revelations wouldn't have been startling at all.
Dintwe, who testified on Wednesday, has been in the job for four years and repeatedly informed Parliament's 11-member Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI) that members of the State Security Agency (SSA) and Crime Intelligence were brazenly stealing cash designated for covert operations. They either kept it for themselves, used it to fund factions of the ANC and even funded parallel intelligence operations.
Legitimate intelligence services require cash. Agents use it for covert ops to pay sources and for services that require a level of secrecy. SSA and Crime Intelligence members abused that system because, well, they knew they could get away with it.
Zondo has already heard evidence about how hundreds of millions of rands were allegedly siphoned from the SSA to fund projects to benefit former president Jacob Zuma....