Intelligence & National Security Discussion

eklavya
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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby eklavya » 02 Sep 2012 22:14

The RAW story of our dull, mediocre spies

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.co ... ocre-spies

There is a compelling case for making the tale of Rabinder Singh into a film, if only to inject a note of realism into the system. Singh was no personification of evil or brilliance. He was dull, mediocre with low retentive powers, a taste for the good life and an over-weaning desire to be posted in the US. His modus operandi was remarkably simple: he simply photocopied every document he could lay his hands on, took them home and sent them by email to his handlers. The RAW bigwigs wanted to catch him red-handed passing 'secret' documents, quite forgetting that IT has made face-to-face contact redundant . In the technical department too, RAW isn't quite fit for purpose.

:lol: This was no battle of wits between a Smiley and a Bill Hayden. This was an exhibition match involving Inspector Clouseau and his mirror image.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby kit » 03 Sep 2012 07:41

eklavya wrote:The RAW story of our dull, mediocre spies

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.co ... ocre-spies

There is a compelling case for making the tale of Rabinder Singh into a film, if only to inject a note of realism into the system. Singh was no personification of evil or brilliance. He was dull, mediocre with low retentive powers, a taste for the good life and an over-weaning desire to be posted in the US. His modus operandi was remarkably simple: he simply photocopied every document he could lay his hands on, took them home and sent them by email to his handlers. The RAW bigwigs wanted to catch him red-handed passing 'secret' documents, quite forgetting that IT has made face-to-face contact redundant . In the technical department too, RAW isn't quite fit for purpose.

:lol: This was no battle of wits between a Smiley and a Bill Hayden. This was an exhibition match involving Inspector Clouseau and his mirror image.


This should not be much of a surprise.The problem with RAW started from the time of Indira Gandhi who found it useful.It is a manner of the means taking up the ends.Bureaucracy was used to stifle professionalism.Maybe it is time to disband and reorganise the entire intelligence apparatus.But again and again, the state finds it useful to have a non functional sycophancy.Funnily enough the govt itself doesnt trust its premier intelligence agency and instead relies on another newly created one answerable to PMO for its strategic intelligence.RAW exists to just exist.Real intelligence work is happening but it is not by RAW.Somewhere down the road the dinosaur will cease to exist.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby pgbhat » 03 Sep 2012 08:57


sum
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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby sum » 13 Sep 2012 17:08

Life in RAW is not like the Ek Tha Tiger story

Bhushan, who served as special secretary in the cabinet secretariat before his retirement in 2005, is referred to as Jeevnathan in the book. He tells the story about how Jeevnathan is informed by a whistleblower about the suspicious behaviour of Ravi Mohan (Rabinder Singh). He also states about the manner in which a source in the agency in Kathmandu confirmed his escape with the help of the CIA station chief there.


Are you convinced about the decision? How has your book been received?

Yes, I am convinced that it ought to have been written. From the bureau a couple of them have read the book and commented profusely on it. The younger lot who were not involved in all this are quite excited. However, while there are comments no one asks me questions. I did not want it to be addressed only by the intelligence and the media. I wanted everyone to read it so that they have no false notions about the agencies that we have.

I want people to understand that the agency is not a state within a state. It is like any other institution. However, it is not like an (Salman Khan-starrer) Ek Tha Tiger story. My story does not have a happy ending. Mohan did manage to escape.

There are many questions that have been raised after this book.

My idea was to write a truthful account, point out the constraints and how difficult it is to take major decisions in the agency. Many have pondered as to why Mohan was not bumped off or why he was not caught and interrogated and thrashed. I do not want to respond to everything. The book says it all.


Wasn't there an option to arrested Rabinder Singh?

The option to arrest him was there from day one. It is not something that is coming out of the blue. I have explained every detail in the book. Let the reader decide now.

He was a CIA agent. Is this not a startling enough fact?

See, this is nothing new. We too do the same thing with other agencies. Why are our agents stationed all over the world? It is a part of the game and each one uses such things for their benefit. One should not get startled with these facts and remember if we are not doing the same then it is our failure.

You have embarked upon something very risky. These are details which are preferably kept under the wraps.

I found it important that I bring all this to the limelight. I had to go through a lot of pain in producing this account. I ensured that the names were not revealed and this was done for the safety of those officers who were part of it. There are many such secrets and it remains in the library. No one will ever know that things happened.

There are a lot many things and no one can have access to such information. What has happened previously or subsequently was not possible for me to put in 300 pages. Basically what I intended to do was to send a message to the officers and those aspiring youngsters wanting to join the agency to be aware of the dangers.


V K Singh, a former officer in the Intelligence Bureau, says that you are to be blamed for the slip-up in Rabinder's case.

I have not read what V K Singh had to say. All I can say that is that you may serve in this organisation all your life and you would know just 10 per cent of what is happening. This guy comes here on a 3-year deputation and he seems to have knowledge of everything. He is commenting on something that he has never been a part of. All through the book I have mentioned what my reaction was. Lastly this officer's interaction with me was barely three hours in three years and this topic was not even discussed. If he presumes something and writes about it then I have nothing to comment.

Your book suggests a CIA hand. What does this do to the relationship between the two countries?

We call it loosely as honesty of thieves. We know that and we too do it all the time. Sometimes people get away, sometimes they get caught. There is no harm that has been caused to the relations. We know the area of operation and there are areas in which we cooperate with other agencies. That is where I mention in the book that the fallacy should be broken.

If we are improving our relations with Pakistan that does not mean we stop all operations. Both should work in their own way. There is a difference between diplomacy and intelligence. If we are not allowed to do this taking into consideration relations, then there will be a time when there is nothing to work on. Diplomatic relations are the job of the MEA.



Do you think Rabinder Singh should be termed a traitor?

He should be. In our view, he was an espionage agent. I am not aware of where he is now.

Did he pass on any information that was critical to our security?

I have given a few details. Some information has gone no doubt about that. He handled a very low-profile charge, but he did keep talking to officers and tried to find out many things. He was never considered to be a bright officer.

This is quite a sad picture of the agency that has been portrayed. Would you want to work with RAW if given a chance again?

I can tell you from my experience that if ever I got to work again it would be with the RAW. It is the only organisation that gives you freedom to work. There is absolute democracy where you can argue, counter argue, protest irrespective of seniority provided you have the metal. If one wants to operate like an average bureaucrat then RAW is not the place to be.

It gives one absolute freedom to operate. I could not serve elsewhere. I have a lot of satisfaction in what I did at the agency. I am a happy person today and that is because I am an optimist.


Does the RAW need more accountability?

I have a notion about accountability. One needs to be accountable to one self. All the officers who worked for me were accountable and I never let them down and they never did that to me either. Accountability would also depend on who is the head of the organisation.



Btw, interesting comment on Rabinder Singh in a ToI article about his appeal being rejected by US court. Wonder if it is true:
Countries with good 'espionage systems' have also had a handful of "double agents". The UK had 'Philby' and a few others. USA has had a few over the last century. It is interesting that Rabinder Singh and his family are now 'stateless', struggling in Florida. A US court has rejected 'immigrant status' for this man, according to media reports. He has lost his Indian pension. He can never visit India. His Indian assets would be difficult for him to sell. As a 'spent force' CIA may not pay him a lot any longer. He can apply for 'food stamps' only if he is a legal resident in the USA, which he is NOT. If he can sleep well at night, knowing what he has done to his own fellow citizens....... As he grows older, would he find happiness with his record of betrayal?

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby Rahul M » 13 Sep 2012 17:18

ordered.

Sachin
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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby Sachin » 13 Sep 2012 18:04

Rahul M wrote:ordered.

Got the book. Now half way through. Will try to put in some comments after I complete the reading. I did notice spelling mistakes in the book, so dont know if a thorough proof reading was done.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby Aditya_V » 13 Sep 2012 18:12

Id the US is treating Rabinder Singh badly after taking all the trouble of ferrying him to US, it seems that some of the Info. he gave was apprently wrong or they have such a hold on our Establishment, they don't need covert spies anymore.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby Rahul M » 13 Sep 2012 18:17

^^^ might be simply quid pro quo for whatever unfreezing has taken place in Indo-US relationship. it's no loss to them to throw out a now useless foreign agent. none of the major espionage agencies have exactly a stellar record in how they manage the defectors, sans a handful of very highly placed and useful agents.

this is how they treated an Indian origin CIA officer.
http://www.caravanmagazine.in/Story.asp ... =FullStory

@Sachin, will look forward to it.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby nakul » 13 Sep 2012 18:33

Thanks for the link. But she seems to really exaggerate her problems. The only restrictions were not to travel outside the US. In return, she got immunity from the law. I don't what she was expecting when she joined. The world not would fulfil all your demands even if you are a high flying diplomat. On the contrary, the guy named Omar seems to be the who should be complaining, not her.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby shyamd » 14 Sep 2012 00:42

Good news.. Per HT, India will get a new code breaking centre in Kolkata in the ISI (statistical) campus. I've been talking about this since 2004! Finally NSA pushed it through and got final clearance from PMO.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby Kati » 14 Sep 2012 03:09

^^^^
ISI have had this kind of work (along with several other very serious projects going on) for more than 30 years now.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby Raja Bose » 14 Sep 2012 04:05

^^^That was one good thing JLN started back in the 50s though I guess not many know about it even today. Not all ISI folks were useless 5-year plan wallahs unlike what vina thinks! :mrgreen:

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby wig » 17 Sep 2012 08:53

the tribune publsihed from Chandigarh has an illuminating article on pakis posing as RAW officers for military info


A few days after the fracas at a field artillery regiment at Nyoma, near Ladakh, in March, a mid-level officer from the unit received a phone call, purportedly from an assistant director in the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), seeking details about the incident and other information pertaining to the unit.

The cautious officer declined to give out sensitive information over the telephone. Investigations later traced the call to what in the security establishment is referred to as a Pakistani intelligence operative (PIO).

In yet another recent incident, counter-intelligence operations revealed that a PIO, also posing as an assistant director in RAW, had telephonically sought details of arms and equipment displayed at an Army event.

While PIOs (posing as Indian military officers) telephoning defence establishments and trying to elicit information from troops is an old game, sources reveal their modus operandi is now increasingly shifting towards posing as civilian officials in various government departments and aim at “soft targets” based at military stations. PIOs posing as officials of RAW, India’s premier external intelligence agency, has not been heard of before.

Sources said there had been over two dozen known instances over the past few months where PIOs called up defence and paramilitary establishments in their attempt to garner information. Not all attempts have been unsuccessful. Counter-intelligence operations have pinpointed that details like the location of units, names of formation commanders, contact numbers got leaked. Even the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force’s basic training centre at Bhanu near here has been the target of such attempts.

Instances reported over the past few months include PIOs posing as officials of the Income Tax Department and the Railways. There have been a large number of cases where hostile agents posed as officials of the Pay and Accounts Department. There have also been instances of teachers posted at army schools and other civilians employed at military stations being targeted by such calls.

“Most of the information sought through calls is not of a very sensitive nature, but then these are pieces that fit into the lager picture and there is a possibility of an unsuspecting individual letting slip something that could have serious ramifications. Also, the movement of senior officers can indicate something important,” sources said. He added that PIOs using Indian SIM cards from close proximity of the border, where cellular signals have a limited reach on the other side, does not arouse suspicion that the caller is a foreign agent.



THE MODUS OPERANDI

Pak intelligence operatives (PIO) telephoning defence establishments and trying to elicit information from troops is an old game
But PIOs posing as RAW officials has not been heard of before
They also sometimes pose as civilian officials and aim at "soft targets" based at military stations
Teachers posted at Army schools and other civilians employed at military stations have been targeted by such calls

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120917/nation.htm#19

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby sum » 17 Sep 2012 09:00

^^ Am sure we will be doing the same. Recall reading a article in a magazine some time back about how it was a common practice in DGMI and RAW

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby Comer » 17 Sep 2012 09:46

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indi ... 428632.cms

LONDON: In his memoirs 'Diplomatic Channels', Kris Srinivasan, 17 years after he demitted office as foreign secretary, reveals that India's external intelligence agency, RAW, snooped on a telephone conversation between a reputedly pro-Pakistan US assistant secretary of state for South Asia, Robin Raphel, and then US ambassador in Islamabad, which confirmed that the US would not back a draft resolution against India on Kashmir moved by Pakistan at the United Nations, and therefore it would fail to proceed any further.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby sum » 17 Sep 2012 10:16

India soon came to know of the frustration of Raphel — "which we came to hear from a phone intercept," says Srinivasan

What is it with our officials and netas always revealing the methods of how we got hold of some info to the same party against whom we used the measures? :-?

Edit: Seems it is just what is written in the book. I thought for a moment that he had actually boasted to the Americans about it, like how GoI goofed up by making the Mushy tapes public during Kargil or Morarji mentioning to Ayub about having a mole in Kahuta.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby VinodTK » 17 Sep 2012 17:29

Can China repeat its 1962 military humiliation of India?
Can the history of India’s humiliation at the hands of China in 1962 repeat itself? As we approach the 50th anniversary of the humiliation next month, we have to analyse this question in depth in our governmental national security community as well as outside. It is important for the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) to organise a series of brainstorming on this subject with the participation of experts on China from the government and outside.
:
:

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby chetak » 17 Sep 2012 18:16

sum wrote:
India soon came to know of the frustration of Raphel — "which we came to hear from a phone intercept," says Srinivasan

What is it with our officials and netas always revealing the methods of how we got hold of some info to the same party against whom we used the measures? :-?

Edit: Seems it is just what is written in the book. I thought for a moment that he had actually boasted to the Americans about it, like how GoI goofed up by making the Mushy tapes public during Kargil or Morarji mentioning to Ayub about having a mole in Kahuta.


And more of such boastful foolishness continues, to our eternal loss.

Saudi rebuffs Fasih Md extradition

Monday, 17 September 2012 00:05





In a setback to New Delhi, Saudi Arabia has stonewalled attempts by Indian intelligence and security agencies to seek deportation of Fasih Mohammed, allegedly involved in the conspiracy behind the bomb blasts in Bangalore and Delhi. Riyadh has reportedly said it wanted to investigate his role before taking a call on New Delhi’s request for his custody.

This was conveyed to New Delhi through diplomatic as well as security and intelligence channels. It is learned that Saudi authorities also objected to the content of reports in the Indian media on the deportation of another terror accused Syed Zabiuddin alias Abu Jundal, official sources said.

While the Saudi authorities officially confirmed Fasih’s detention there, they conveyed that they were examining his role and stay “carefully” in that country.

That Saudi Arabia is not happy over the exposure of its role and cooperation by the Indian security agencies in the Jundal operation was also admitted by National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon during his address to the directors and inspector generals of police last week. Menon had said that the Saudi authorities were unhappy with the way details of the Jundal operation were made public by the Indian security agencies.

Menon had underscored the need for maintaining a high-level of secrecy in such operations and not expose the countries which were helping India in its fight against terrorism. The NSA wanted secrecy to be maintained at all levels in handling cases of international terrorism as the acts have a “dangerous propensity of international embarrassment”.

Jundal, the 26/11 handler who is in jail in Mumbai, was deported to India by Saudi authorities in June as part of enhanced intelligence and security-related cooperation between the two countries.

Saudi authorities said it would take some time for them on deciding the 28-year-old Fasih’s extradition to India, sources said.

An engineer and alleged member of the banned outfit, the Indian Mujahideen, Bihar-born Fasih is alleged to have been involved in the Chinnaswamy Stadium blast in Bangalore and the shooting near Jama Masjid in Delhi in 2010 and is wanted by both Delhi and Karnataka Police. An Interpol red corner notice against Fasih was issued earlier this year after reports of his sudden disappearance.

Fasih’s wife Nikhat Parveen had approached the Supreme Court claiming that her husband was in the custody of central security agencies. Parveen had told the Court that her husband was picked up by a joint team of Indian and Saudi officials on May 13 for his alleged terror links, a charge denied by the Government.

The Interpol issued the notice against him for offences of terrorism and crimes involving the use of weapons and explosives, Interpol’s official website says.


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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby D Roy » 17 Sep 2012 18:37

and

http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/arti ... n-in-india 13 Sep 2012.

For India, the possibility that conflicts in the Islamic world will find resonance on its soil is fraught with severe geopolitical complications, given the rather delicate balancing act New Delhi is forced to play in its engagement with the various sides of the conflicts in the Middle East. Indeed, the February attack on an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi by suspected Iranian operatives was eerily reminiscent of the early 1980s, when Indian intelligence had to ward off and contain a similar spillover of tensions from within the Islamic world due to the Iran-Iraq War.

Similarly, India will now have to leverage its growing economic relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran to manage its home front, while making sure to maintain the necessary diplomatic discretion. Counterterrorism cooperation with Saudi Arabia has therefore emerged as a major focus area of the two country’s expanded defense ties and is already yielding results, as demonstrated by Saudi Arabia’s handover in June of Abu Jundal, Lashkar-e-Taiba’s chief Indian operative and head of the group’s finance wing.

India is also increasing intelligence cooperation with Iran, in part to make sure the Iranians keep their own issues away from Indian soil. For their part, the Iranians have apparently agreed to keep track of Indian Muslims headed to Qom for religious training, with a view to keeping them away from radicalizing influences.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby Sachin » 20 Sep 2012 13:35

Friends. Just completed reading up the book "Escape to No where" by Amar Bhushan
Amazon link to "Escape to No where"

As we all pretty much know, the theme of the book is about the case in which a R&AW Analyst Rabinder Singh defected to US. The book is a fictionalised depiction of this incident, but I feel most of the people mentioned in the book are based on people in real life.

The protagonist in the book is a senior officer of the "Agency", Jeevanathan @ Jeev. A whistle blower informs him about the suspicions the whistle blower has on Ravi Mohan another senior officer. Ravi Mohan has been scouting for information from very many people who are manning other "desks" which is not directly connected with Ravi Mohan's nature of work. Jeevanathan's deputy is an officer from the CEU (Counter Espionage Unit?) Kamath @ KM. Jeevanathan's boss is Wasan who is the chief of the agency.

The book is more in the style of a diary in which events are recorded on a daily basis. When compared to other spy novels, this book may not have the flowery language or the knack to have a tension built up. The book some times flows as the situation reports which gets recorded every day :). The fact that Ravi Mohan is behaving suspiciously gets established in the initial pages of the book itself. The book then continues to explains the various steps which were undertaken to garner more evidence to prove that he is a double agent, and also attempts to identify his handler.

Where as Jeev is interested in pinning down the culprit with over-whelming evidence, his deputy Kamath feels that it would be better to get Ravi Mohan arrested, and then summarily dismissed using a special provision in the constituition. Jeev also have to defend his actions to Wasan, who again is not happy because he has to answer the political bosses. And then there is also Mr. Saran the new Principal Secretary who is working on a new agreement between the US and India. Saran clearly sets the expectation that this is certainly not the time to expose a double agent, causing a diplomatic scandal. All through this Jeev tries to play the game by the rule books and not recommend detention of Ravi Mohan or his torture. His point is that the evidences should be admissable in the court of law, in case Ravi Mohan decides to goto the courts.

The interesting part of the book is how the CEU folks go around gathering information about the suspect. Kamath has an able assistant Kutty who is the technical expert. Kutty and his team manages to place spy cameras in the office of Ravi Mohan and even in some parts of his home. Kamath ropes in a Mr. Reddy from the transport section who helps Ravi's official car get bugged. Kamath also uses a large number of watchers (reminded me of the
Baker street irregulars
in Sherlock Holmes stories) who physically tail Ravi Mohan and his wife.

Jeev & Kamath try every possible route, to identify Ravi's handler. But they are not able to get that man. In the mean while Ravi works on a good plan for his escape. Jeev who has been going through all the spy cam videos and audio does get a feeling that Ravi may bolt, but is unable to identify what route he would take. And deftly dodging the watchers, using an NRI friend Ravi and family soon make their way towards Nepal. Kamath understands that Ravi had contacted his man servant Jena. And from the orginating point of the call, identifies that place to be on Indo-Nepal Border. Using the agency's resources in Nepal Jeev, Wasan and Kamath manages to establish the identity of the CIA officer who handled Ravi, arranged for his new US passports and even the flight tickets.

Wasan has to face the wrath of the politicians. The politicians bring in an a person Krishnan, who was an analyst in the "Bureau" to investigate what led to the escape of Ravi Mohan. Jeev finds out that Krishnan had an axe to grind, and uses this oppurtunity to show the agency in extreme bad light. Wasan is soon moved out, and is replaced by an officer who was an "out sider" (he was not part of the agency). Kamath was hauled through the coals, and soon his health problems became more severe. He was shunted out to a desk job, from where he retired.

I would leave it to the experts at BR to figure out who the real life characters were:-
Jeev @ Jeevanathan: Amar Bhushan himself (??)
Kamath: ??
Wasan: ?? (and who was the successor ?)
Ravi Mohan: Rabinder Singh (??)
Krishnan: ??
Saran: ??

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby Venkarl » 02 Oct 2012 15:02

Wasan--CD Sahay
Succeeded by-- PKH Tharakan
Kamath--N.K.Sharma??
Krishnan--MKN??
Princi Saran--Brijesh Mishra or the one after Mirshraji?

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby Kati » 08 Oct 2012 19:26


Avinash R
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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby Avinash R » 08 Oct 2012 22:21

Hit by Delhi airport expansion plan, R&AW air base set to be shifted

New Delhi, Mon Oct 08 2012, 03:14 hrs
The high-security air base of the Aviation Research Centre (ARC), the aviation wing of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), is likely to be relocated due to the proposed expansion of Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport and planned construction of new cargo and MRO (maintenance, repair and overhauling) facilities.

The ARC is meant for gathering imagery intelligence and handling sensitive airborne operations. With its Delhi airbase located on 28 acres of land close to the busy road that connects Terminal-3 with Terminal-1, the increased security threat to its fleet, hangar and installations is being seen as a serious problem.

A few months ago, senior officials of DIAL (Delhi International Airport Pvt Ltd) put forward the relocation proposal to ARC. A series of meetings have been held since then, which have also been attended by senior officials of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Sources said both ARC and DIAL officials have visited an alternate site, although a firm written proposal is yet to be sent to the government. The proposed site — of approximately the same size as the present ARC hub — is located close to the Air Force technical area which hosts VVIP flights.

Senior R&AW officials said DIAL had earlier indicated that the relocation cost should be shared. But the clear understanding at this stage is that DIAL must bear the entire cost of construction of a new hangar and block of buildings on specifications drawn by ARC.

"While we admit that the new location would be better for us from the security point of view, we have made it clear that since DIAL wants us to shift from our existing location, it will bear the entire cost,” said the R&AW official.

“We are hoping that the relocation project will come through since the ARC appears to be satisfied with the proposed site. Getting the land vacated will help us in our Phase III expansion plans... It will all be done in a manner beneficial to both parties, and keeping in mind the sensitivity of ARC operations,'' said a DIAL official.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby Shrinivasan » 08 Oct 2012 23:08

Avinash R wrote:... R&AW air base set to be shifted
It is high time they moved out of the current cramped location. I would have preferred them to move out completely... but then this new location proposed also looks good. The current location is very cramped... Why not move out completely to another site altogether? probably the ground Infra developed in IGI/Palam is critical for ARC.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby RoyG » 14 Oct 2012 06:43

Sleuths gun for top jobs: India's security chiefs are battling it out for prime positions in the CBI, IB and R&AW

By SAURABH SHUKLA
PUBLISHED: 15:55 EST, 11 October 2012 | UPDATED: 15:59 EST, 11 October 2012


They wield tremendous clout in government, mostly work behind the scenes and have unhindered access to the most powerful people in the country.

Small wonder then that a hectic race should have broken out for the top jobs in India's security establishment - the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).

By a rare coincidence the chiefs of the three organisations will retire within a month of each other, beginning on November 30 with the retirement of A.P. Singh as CBI director. R&AW chief Sanjiv Tripathi will retire on December 31, the same day that IB director Nehchal Sandhu quits office.
The czars have begun lobbying for the posts. The stakes, by all accounts, are very high. Take for instance the CBI, the country's premier investigating agency which has often been accused of being a political tool. CBI directors have long enjoyed proximity to the powers that be.

One of the three contenders for the post is S.C. Sinha, chief of the National Intelligence Agency, who is being backed by a powerful chief minister, sources say.

A dark horse

Another contender is Ranjit Sinha, director general of the Indo Tibetan Border Police who has earlier served in the CBI and is known for his proximity to a prominent UPA leader and some Congress leaders.

Also on the shortlist is the present special director V.K. Gupta. There is a dark horse as well - Delhi's Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, who has previously served in the CBI and is keen on the two-year term that CBI directors have. As police chief, he is scheduled to retire next summer.
There is hectic jockeying to fit into the shoes of India's top spy czars, IB director Sandhu and R&AW boss Sanjiv Tripathi. There were suggestions that Sandhu be given a year's extension, but that would have required the government to take a similar step for the R&AW chief who also enjoys a two-year term. In the end, the move was abandoned.

The shortlist

The top contenders to fill Sandhu's post from within the IB are V. Rajgopal, a 1976 batch UT cadre officer, and Special Director Yashowardhan Azad, who is an old IB hand and is the son of the former Bihar chief minister Bhagwat Jha Azad.
Asif Ibrahim, a 1977-batch officer, is among the contenders for IB chief. An important political functionary in the ruling party is supporting him but he will supersede five officers if he is picked for the top IB job.

Also on the shortlist is Ram Niwas Gupta, a 1976-batch officer and a special director in the IB. Azad has an advantage over the other contenders in that he retires in 2014, after the others in the race like Rajgopal and Gupta.

It is not difficult to imagine why the IB chief's post is coveted. The bureau is enormously influential, and its director has access to the Prime Minister and the home minister. Over the years the position has become even more important because the IB director has become a trouble shooter and a crisis manager for the Prime Minister. This makes the job pivotal for any government, for getting political intelligence or security- related inputs.

Top bureaucratic appointments are made after getting the IB's green light. The agency's notes carry weight, so it is logical that many aspire for the job, which is considered the top job for any officer of the Indian Police Service.

In the case of R&AW, the country's external intelligence agency, it is the access to huge funds that the chief has and the ability to act and gather intelligence abroad that makes the job exciting.
The agency - which got its glamour quotient up after the success of recent movies like Ek Tha Tiger where Salman Khan played a R&AW officer - still works in relative obscurity. Its officials carry a cabinet secretariat tag.

The race for R&AW chief is limited to two senior officers. They are Alok Joshi, a 1976-batch Haryana cadre IPS officer who is currently a special secretary in the agency and Amitabh Mathur. Mathur, who was earlier from the IPS joined R&AW administrative service. Sources say that another possibility raised in R&AW circles is that Joshi may go to IB, given his wide experience in IB and Mathur could be considered for the R&AW chief's role.

However, the likelihood is that Mathur will be posted to the Aviation Research Centre that handles surveillance for R&AW and Joshi will bag the agency chief's job.

Tail piece

If S.C. Sinha gets the CBI director's job, Salim Ali could be appointed as the National Intelligence Agency chief. Ali is a special director in CBI and is on the top of the list of contenders for the post.
Another change will be that Pranay Sahay, currently director general of the Shashtra Seva Bal that guards the Indo-Nepal border. He will take over as director general of Central Reserve Police Force.
Former Uttar Pradesh additional director general of police Brij Lal is being brought in as special director general. He is expected to take over after Sahay retires.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/ar ... ds-newsxml

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby vishal » 15 Oct 2012 10:39

Mission: to break into the embassy of a South Asian country

Excerpt:They had flown in two days earlier for this mission: to break into the embassy of a South Asian country, steal that country’s secret codes and get out without leaving a trace.
::
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they carefully opened and photographed the code books and one-time pads, or booklets of random numbers used to create almost unbreakable codes, and then resealed each document and replaced it in the safe exactly as it had been before. Two hours after entering the embassy, they were gone.

Could be any one of many countries but it is still an uncomfortable feeling.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby sum » 19 Oct 2012 14:24

Detailed story on the Madhuri Gupta affair. Some high up in the agencies seem to have fed the reporter going by the level of details:
Team of Rivals


IN EARLY SPRING 2010, a few of the most powerful men in the Indian security establishment sat down for a special meeting at the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi. The list of participants had been deliberately kept to a minimum to ensure there would be no leaks: the head of India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), KC Verma; the Home Secretary, GK Pillai; and the director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Rajiv Mathur, along with one of his officers.

This gathering was not the routine morning meeting that P Chidambaram had instituted when he took over the home ministry in November 2008—an hour-long daily briefing on intelligence and internal security with the director of Intelligence Bureau (DIB), the national security adviser (NSA), the home secretary and the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. (The R&AW chief, who bears the cabinet title Secretary (Research) rarely attends meetings at the home ministry.) Chidambaram was not invited to this meeting, and there was only one item on the agenda: the Bureau had discovered a mole inside the Indian High Commission in Pakistan.

A few weeks earlier, the DIB had informed the home secretary that the Intelligence Bureau had placed an Indian diplomat in Islamabad under surveillance after suspicions had arisen that she was passing classified material to Pakistani intelligence. Nothing was recorded in writing, and the details of the operation had not been shared with anyone outside the IB.


While Gupta remained under surveillance, the person familiar with the operation told me, false information was planted in channels to which she had access—like a tag whose movements could be tracked. If Indian sources inside Pakistan confirmed that the counterfeit information had arrived, the leak could be traced back to Gupta.

In the world of intelligence, where suspicion cloaks every transaction, careful steps must be taken to corroborate accusations of betrayal before taking action against the guilty party. But as several retired intelligence chiefs explained, there is no standard protocol for undertaking such investigations—no single solution that fits all possible problems. Counterintelligence is like quantum mechanics: if you’ve located the particle, its speed will change; if you think you’ve found the perfect solution, the problem has changed.


The case remained secret for the next few days, while Gupta was interrogated in police custody—until 27 April, when police and security officials began to leak the news of Gupta’s arrest to reporters, and news agencies carried the “sensational revelation” that an Indian diplomat in Islamabad had passed “extremely sensitive information to her contacts in ISI till her movements came under surveillance of Intelligence Bureau sleuths”. But the first reports, based on “official sources”, contained an even more sensational accusation: that the R&AW station chief in Islamabad, RK Sharma, who was posted as a counselor at the High Commission, had also come under suspicion, for “allegedly abusing his position and passing information to Gupta”. The name and designation of India’s top intelligence officer in Pakistan were broadcast far and wide: Sharma’s official cover in Islamabad had been blown by his own country, a move that seemed certain to damage R&AW operations in Pakistan and bring his assignment to a swift and ignominious end.

But the leaks did not end there: in the weeks that followed, details of Gupta’s interrogation poured into the press, painting a lurid and occasionally contradictory picture of her character and motivations. She had passed information to Pakistan “willingly and without any financial benefit” to “teach a lesson” to her “arrogant” seniors in the MEA, according to some reports, which suggested she had “an endless litany of complaints” against the ministry and felt “deprived of recognition”. Unidentified sources claimed she had brazenly taunted the security officials who arrested her, asking, “What took you so long to get me?”


The fact that RK Sharma’s identity had been leaked as well, however, suggested there might be a bigger story that had gone untold: one that had little to do with Madhuri Gupta, but instead revealed a bitter turf war that had played out inside the Indian High Commission in Pakistan, which pitted officers of India’s two civilian intelligence agencies against one another.

Read it all


For the two intelligence men, Islamabad presented considerable pressure and not much excitement. Contrary to the public’s imagination of death-defying operations behind enemy lines, the life of an Indian spy in Pakistan’s capital is more Veer Zaara than Agent Vinod. “People don’t want to go to Pakistan,” a retired senior R&AW official told me. “Nobody is willing to go, but you don’t need the brightest person—we just need a body there, being present and observing the country and the politics.”

Indian officials and their families in Pakistan are tailed around the clock by Pakistani intelligence, making it impossible to run operations from inside the country. But in the capital, even the ordinary work of intelligence gathering is a challenge. “The problem with Islamabad is that it is a very very sterile diplomatic town,” another retired R&AW official said. “You don’t meet the general public. There is no interaction. The more people you know, the more chances of raising sources—and if you cannot meet anybody it’s difficult.”


Both Mathur and Sharma hosted occasional parties at home, like many diplomats; invites went out to journalists, politicians, academics, army officers, businessmen and other local elites. But most of the usual party crowd—even those who attended other diplomatic events—tended to steer clear of Indian intelligence officers, whose diplomatic covers are almost always a poorly-kept secret. Any prominent person who wished to avoid the unwelcome attention of Pakistani intelligence wouldn’t think of mingling with Mathur or Sharma—which meant that anyone who did mingle was either of little interest, or already well-acquainted with the ISI. One acquaintance of Mathur’s said he sometimes lamented aloud that anyone willing to attend these gatherings had almost certainly obtained clearance from Pakistani intelligence before arriving.


Wonder what the ISI folks posted in Delhi say? Do they also feel the pressure of Indian counter-intel at all times?

ramana
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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby ramana » 19 Oct 2012 19:31

Sum, Thanks for the article. it gives indications of the great challenges that Indian faces in TSP. Its more than the US faced in USSR. Hats off to all who go there.
Its like Hanuman in Patala!

sum
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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby sum » 19 Oct 2012 21:31

^^ Wonder how we develop any asset in TSP if our "official cover" spies are not even given breathing space and we dont seem to follow the NOC type spy policy?

Also, the one of the more scary part of the story was:
Since the early 1990s, two former IB directors told me, more of their officers have been sent overseas, on the logic that the agency’s responsibility for domestic security will sometimes require the collection of intelligence abroad. “You cannot just say to the other agency, ‘My job stops here, and now you should take over,’” a former R&AW chief told me. Information, he continued, doesn’t obey national borders. As might be expected, the IB’s expanding footprint outside India has not gone over well with R&AW. But it has also displeased the MEA, whose diplomats would prefer fewer, rather than more, intelligence officers in their embassies.

A real Chakravyuh here with all parties( IB, RAW, MEA) fighting with each other in all our embassies!

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby shyamd » 19 Oct 2012 22:10

I think part of the article is disinformation and leaves more questions to be asked. Nevertheless I can see why they have leaked it and its a message to the ISI

The embassy construct is not really in use any more precisely for that reason. It's the same all over the world.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby sum » 19 Oct 2012 22:18

The embassy construct is not really in use any more precisely for that reason. It's the same all over the world.

Could you please elaborate on this, ShyamD-saar? Couldn't get what you are implying.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby shyamd » 19 Oct 2012 23:48

Sum ji, all I can say is world over - they don't put spies in embassies any more - at the most only for liaison, simply because counter intel will sniff it and just tail all the embassy staff and find the operative eventually. Its a very 90's thing. They have stopped using that all over pretty much since the 2000's - maybe only CIA but they aren't the best in the business and I think even they have stopped (they may have someone in an embassy for liaison but this person won't handle operations).

Mossad case officers fly in under cover and are NEVER declared even to friendly countries. Liaison will do the joint operations/info exchange stuff.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby sum » 20 Oct 2012 09:42

shyamd wrote:Sum ji, all I can say is world over - they don't put spies in embassies any more - at the most only for liaison, simply because counter intel will sniff it and just tail all the embassy staff and find the operative eventually. Its a very 90's thing. They have stopped using that all over pretty much since the 2000's - maybe only CIA but they aren't the best in the business and I think even they have stopped (they may have someone in an embassy for liaison but this person won't handle operations).

Mossad case officers fly in under cover and are NEVER declared even to friendly countries. Liaison will do the joint operations/info exchange stuff.

Yes, knew that most countries had stopped it but was under the impression that Desh still follows only this method? Also, the article seems to bear it out since it mentions atleast 4-5 intelligence officers with their official cover from both IB and R&AW

IIRC, i thought we dont follow the undeclared agents/NOC formula. Somehow recall that even you had mentioned something similar in a earlier post quite sometime back.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby partha » 20 Oct 2012 10:34

Now reading "Escape To Nowhere" by Amar Bhushan. Reads like a personal dairy. Very gripping, fast paced and to the point. It feels very real. As he himself has said in an interview, most of it has been described as it happened. Two interesting things so far -
RAW funding Kashmiri separatists and Amar Bhushan mentioning "emergence of a powerful parallel Islamic culture in India riding piggy back on India's secularism" in one of his his discussions with Sahay. He gives amazing details of snooping mechanisms including location of the secret cameras and bugs placed in Rabinder Singh's room.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby shyamd » 20 Oct 2012 13:34

Sum ji, Desh still does in other countries, purely because it is easier and they are operating with host country permission/liaison usually. But not in pak - Don't believe everything in that article.

There are some countries where operatives are posted under cover (not based in embassies) but declared to host nation.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby partha » 23 Oct 2012 12:32

Finished the book. I am surprised CEU officers who were watching Rabinder keep wondering how he might be transferring documents to his handler. They keep on expecting through out the 91 days that he will meet his handler some where. They bug his office room, car, even his bedroom and deploy watchers to watch him 24*7. And guess how he was transferring documents? Internet! How could they miss bugging his laptop in 2004?! I know it is easy for us to say such things but still..

Sad part - officer who burned the midnight oil even at the expense of his health to track the traitor was snubbed and transferred to a desk where there was virtually no work at all. Many of the 50 or so people who passed on (consciously or otherwise) secrets to the suspect were offered postings abroad.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby sum » 23 Oct 2012 14:35

Very interesting interview by former IB spl director:

The NIA was FORCED to soft-pedal 26/11 case

Former Intelligence Bureau special director Ravindra Narayan Ravi discusses various security issues daunting India in an interview Vicky Nanjappa. The National Investigation Agency, he states, could not pursue its very first case with professional vigour due to political interference as it was forced to soft-pedal the case against dreaded terrorists.


What needs to be done on the state of co-ordination between the Intelligence Bureau and the state police?

Institutions like the Multi-Agency Centre at the federal level and its subsidiaries at the states have improved co-ordination between the IB and the state police.

Besides, IB maintains good operational co-ordination with special operational units of the state police departments. However, the extant institutional co-ordination falls short of the comfort level ensuring effective preventive security.

Trust deficit between the Centre and the states is at the root of the issue. So long as there is absence of a national consensus on core security concerns, this will persist. Besides, the state police need not and should not be a mere consumer of IB's reports. State intelligence infrastructure must be restructured and revamped to make it robust. That will help somewhat overcome the states' present distrust of the Centre.

How serious is the threat of illegal immigrants and which are the problem areas?

India has been a host to immigrants from almost all its neighbours except from Bhutan. A fairly sizeable number of them are undocumented. They are mostly from Bangladesh, Tibet, China and Myanmar.

While those from Tibet and Myanmar are purported to be here to escape persecution in their countries, those from Bangladesh are essentially economic migrants.

Those from Tibet and Myanmar usually retain their national identities, however those from Bangladesh acquire fake Indian identities.
This is a serious issue with serious security and political implications for the country. Their demography is such that they distort the ownership of several places.

The badly affected areas are Assam, West Bengal and Bihar. Other potential areas are Nagaland, Delhi, Odisha and some areas of Maharashtra. The threats from such undocumented immigrants-turned-'Indians' are serious
.

The ministry of home affairs is perceived to resolve the Assam crisis sitting across the table. Has the solution been found?

The crisis in Assam persists. Influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants has not been stemmed. The MHA has been less than honest in addressing the issue.

Instead of appreciating the problem which is of existential concern for the natives, the MHA reflexively assumes an adversarial position vis-a-vis the agitating public and seeks to defeat them through guile.


Your views on the gravity of Indian Mujahideen as a threat and whether their shifting base from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia would make it easier for India to tackle them.

The Indian Mujahideen continues to pose serious security threats to the country. India cannot afford to lower its guard against them. Their operations from Saudi Arabia do not necessarily make them more vulnerable.

Saudi Arabia's intelligence co-operation with India is essentially US-driven. It would be naive to read too much into such a co-operation.

Your views on Kerala as a hub of terrorist groups? A large part of hawala remittances in Kerala are allegedly used for subversive activities?

Beyond some anecdotal evidence there is nothing to suggest that Kerala shelters terrorist groups. To call it a hub of terrorists is a mischievous hyperbole. It is true that the state once known for exemplar communal amity is going through bouts of religious intolerance. It is a very serious matter. Much of the recent trends in thoughts and behaviour owe themselves to the exposure of Kerala Muslims to the Wahabi strand of Islam prevalent in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.


our take on left wing extremists' likely tie-up with Pakistan-based groups?

Left-wing extremists are a serious threat no doubt. So far measures to defeat them have failed. However, there is no credible evidence to support the thesis that they are tying up with Pakistan-based groups. Indeed they have a tie-up with some insurgents of the North-East.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby ramana » 23 Oct 2012 21:02

A lot of delusion in the above post. He makes vague claims but does not elaboarate. Seems like rants.

So what exactly was soft peddled in 26/11 case?

What about the Varanasi blast case/

NIA couldn't even tell what exploded.

Given time they will even claim nothing happened.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby satya » 23 Oct 2012 21:18

So what exactly was soft peddled in 26/11 case?


Local help didn't find its way in FIR nor anywhere for not hurting minorities feeling & to maintain communal harmony nor were prosecuted via other means. Kali topis zeroed on them but were told to back off.

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Re: Intelligence & National Security Discussion

Postby VinodTK » 27 Oct 2012 07:56

The Japan Times: Defense chief to visit India to boost ties amid China rise
Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto plans to visit India in early December for talks with his Indian counterpart, A. K. Antony, in an attempt to bolster military ties to counter China, sources said.

The two ministers are expected to discuss the possibility of turning a joint drill the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian navy held in June into a regular event, the sources said.

Also on the agenda during the visit will be exchanges between their armies and air forces and the promotion of bilateral cooperation on sea lane security, according to the sources.
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