Saturday, May 28, 2022

DIS blunder opened Botswana to Zim electronic war-fare attack

Botswana’s strategic communications infrastructure installations were so vulnerable to electronic warfare attacks that Zimbabwean saboteurs could in “one fell swoop” bring down the whole of Botswana’s communication system. This emerged in intelligence files on Andrew Sanderson’s interrogation by Botswana’s intelligence agents.

Sanderson an information technology whizz kid who was declared a prohibited immigrant in Botswana in 2007 was recruited by the Zimbabwean Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to locate the weak spots in Botswana’s communication network. Despite his PI status, Sanderson was allowed back into Botswana and found his way into the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) system following what he termed “a gentleman’s agreement”, with DIS Director General Isaac Kgosi.

The security breach by the DIS command opened the back door for Zimbabwe’s electronic war fare attacks against Botswana.
It emerged that at the time the Botswana government approached the American government to assist with military equipment to prepare for a possible attack from Zimbabwe between 2008 and 2009, Botswana was a sitting duck for a Zimbabwe electronic ware fare onslaught.

“Those guys are not stupid. They know that BTA’s (Botswana Telecommunications Authority” listening posts are strategic posts and not just for triangulating signals into Botswana. They know that if they disrupt the fibre links then the backup redundancy links would have to kick in which is microwave, and if you have the right equipment and they (Zimbabwean High Commission) are right across from the BTC tower, all they have to do because the BTC is where the main switches are, that is the Ericsson AXE 10 switches and this is something you guys did not think of, that is what they told me. The computer bureau is on both top buildings across from them (Zimbabwe High Commission). The back – up data recovery and the main one are both on top floor and they are microwave linked. So with one fell swoop if there was an attack to take out the fibre links” the country’s communication system would be paralysed, Sanderson warned the Botswana intelligence.

In what Sanderson and Botswana’s intelligence agents termed “electronic warfare”, it emerged that the Zimbabwe High Commission in Gaborone had invested in expensive electronic ware fare equipment. He made special reference to the HP spread spectrum analyser which he said he saw during one of the visits to the Zimbabwean High Commission in Gaborone.

Electronic warfare is any action involving the use of the electromagnetic spectrum or directed energy to control the spectrum, attack an enemy, or impede enemy assaults via the spectrum. The purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent the advantage of, and ensure friendly unimpeded access to, the electro-magnetic spectrum. Military operations are executed in an information environment increasingly complicated by the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. The recognized need for military forces to have unimpeded access to and use of the electromagnetic environment creates vulnerabilities and opportunities for electronic warfare in support of military operations.

Sanderson told the Botswana Military Intelligence that the Zimbabwean government was convinced that a number of AWOL soldiers from the Zimbabwean Defence Force were crossing into Botswana were they were recruited to join MDC military training camps in the country. The Zimbabwean government believed that the ex- Zimbabwean soldiers would then be smuggled back into the country to help a planned MDC uprising in Matebeleland. Sanderson said the Zimbabwean government planned to disrupt Botswana’s communication networks in case of the alleged planned attacks.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper