I have just completed reading a book titled “Really inside BOSS – A tale of South Africa’s late Intelligence Service (And something about the CIA)”. Self-published by Pieter Swanepoel, the book provides a brief history of the Bureau for State Security, (BFSS) or BOSS as it came to be known, and its successor, the National Intelligence (NI).
Although English is not Swanepoel’s first language, he has done a good job in describing, amongst others, the origins of the service, the Smit murders, the assassination of Dr Verwoerd and the role played by the CIA in destabilising the National Party government. He also covers some of the difficulties and frustrations an intelligence officer experiences in the course of his duties. He even relates particulars of a “dirty trick” perpetrated by himself in Namibia in the 1960’s.
The main purpose of the book was to discuss some of the allegations made by BOSS informer, Gordon Winter, after he fled South Africa and published a book called “Inside BOSS” in 1981. The acclaimed British historian, Dr. James Sanders, referred to a number of these allegations in his book about South Africa’s intelligence services, Apartheid’s Friends, and this apparently annoyed Swanepoel and led him to provide another view of these events. Although I have not read Winter’s book, I would be prone to accepting Swanepoel’s version as he cross-references to many documents to prove his writing. Additionally, he spent 32-years in that organisation so he knows what he is writing about. In a recent copy of the magazine, Molotov Cocktail, Dr. Sanders described Really Inside Boss as “a fascinating book” and promised to return to it in a later edition of that magazine.
Readers ought however to take note: the book does not cover intelligence tradecraft and can be heavy reading at times. It nevertheless remains an important account on the history of BOSS.
This book is not available at bookstores. Anyone interested in obtaining a copy can order directly from the author at firstname.lastname@example.org