A Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) secret document has revealed how local editors and media leaders have been recruited into the spy agency’s black operation to fragment the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) into warring factions and neutralise its president Ndaba Gaolathe.
A Special Access Programme (SAP) document, authored by the DIS Director of Special Task Team (STT), Tsosoloso Mosinki for the DIS Director General Isaac Kgosi detailing the project code named “Operation Tholwana-Borethe” maps out how the spy agency has embarked on a clandestine HUMINT (human Intelligence) asset recruiting drive in local newsrooms.
HUMINT asset recruiting refers to the recruitment of human agents, commonly known as spies, who work for the DIS, from newsrooms. The methods of detecting and “doubling” journalist who betray their oaths to spy for the DIS are called counter-intelligence.
At the time the report was written on 29 June 2016, Operation Tholwana-Borethe was already in motion and the STT Director was updating the DIS Director General on the spy agency’s offensive and defensive counter-intelligence campaign against local media houses and the need to ratchet up their recruitment drive in preparation for Phase 2B and three of the operation.
Defensive counter-intelligence tries to strengthen weak links in Operation Tholwana-Borethe that could easily be exploited by opponents while offensive counter-intelligence while refers to the infiltration of newsrooms by the DIS.
Mosinki proposed to the DIS boss that it was “important to have sufficient and suitable assets to undertake Phase 2B activities. From a threat perspective, we will be operating in a higher threat environment within range of the journalists, politicians and researchers. We must therefore have the right type and number of assets to protect the operation and also provide counter-intelligence. Of particular importance is the provision of intelligence collection assets to provide me with the intelligence I need to properly plan Phase 3 operations.”
At the time the update report was sent to the DIS Director General the spy agency already had “a close relationship with editors of friendly media houses. We have met with the leaders of each of these organisations during planning states. These relationships are proving to be essential, as they help us augment the information we have. The mutual exchange of information on ‘need to know’ basis is paramount to increase, from one side the overall operational awareness and, from the other side, to effectively control and manage information we want released by the media. This cooperation covers a wide range of issues, such as the update on operational information, communication mechanism and the procedures for disembarkation in a place of safety. We are continuing to build on this relationship to work even more effectively together”.
The DIS also worked to connect spy journalists with their moles who are active in the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
“I have also been in contact with assets in media houses and they have been very supportive in their wider requests for information. I have also deployed a Liaison Officer to the planning and Liaison Cell. However, this element should be soon reinforced to allow a better and more effective engagement with the party assets.”
Mosinki states that, Ndaba Gaolathe is “the backbone of the UDC. Our assessment therefore is that, if the UDC is to be neutralised, the focus must be on Gaolathe. Our assessment is further that, frustrating and ultimately deposing Gaolathe from politics is plausible strategy to counter the political threat posed by the UDC.
“Although Gaolathe is strong as an individual, our assessment is that the BMD as a party is very weak and therefore presents a window of opportunity. As such I propose to exploit these vulnerabilities to undermine his leadership and eventually push him off the helm, in order to intensify factions and internal strife within the BMD.