NIA says DA concerns premature

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The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) says it is not a shortage of staff that is hampering its vetting of Members of Parliament; it is a lack of names.

Democratic Alliance MP and state security shadow minister Theo Coetzee yesterday said in a statement that the Joint Standing Committee would shortly have to debate the intelligence budget and could be prevented from doing so because members had not yet received security clearances.

  

NIA says in response that it has not as yet received the proposed names of committee members from Parliament.

Spokeswoman Lorna Daniels says nomination of members by their political parties only closes today.

“The NIA will immediately begin vetting once the names of members have been received and the Agency has indicated to the Minister of State Security Dr Siyabonga Cwele that the screening will be attended to as a priority,” Daniels told defenceWeb.   

“The NIA`s capacity was significantly boosted when Cabinet and the JSCI approved a new vetting strategy in November 2006 resulting in the establishment of Vetting Field Units in major government departments, the expanding of capacity in the NIA vetting directorate and improved technological support.

“Minister Cwele shares the JSCI Chairperson`s enthusiasm to begin the Parliamentary Committee work and be ready for the State Security Budget Vote which is scheduled for July 1. However, we have to await the finalisation of the Parliamentary process first.”