Plot thickens: More mole sightings
Ex-spymaster recalls being spooked
MORE EVIDENCE has emerged of the existence of a mole in the upper echelons of the government of India during the Narasimha Rao regime. A former chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee has confirmed to the Hindustan Times that he believed that a top-secret Intelligence briefing was leaked to the United States by a senior official.
According to Keki Daruwalla, a career R&AW officer and one of India's best-regarded former Intelligence officials, a secret paper in 1994 he wrote on the missile threat to India from Pakistan and its allies so concerned Prime Minister Narasimha Rao that he asked the Joint Intelligence Committee, of which Daruwalla was then chairman, to arrange a high-level briefing.
Daruwalla prepared a full presentation with slides which was attended by the prime minister, the principal secretary to the prime minister, the cabinet secretary, the home secretary, the defence secretary, the three service chiefs, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who was then scientific adviser, the secretary, R&AW, and the director of the Intelligence Bureau. The presentation focused on India's ability to repel possible missile strikes and our vulnerability to such attacks.
A week after the briefing, Daruwalla received a phone call from Kenneth Brill, then the highest-ranking US diplomat in India (there was no US ambassador during this period) asking for an appointment. Daruwalla forwarded the request to the cabinet secretary who asked him to meet Brill.
To Daruwalla's surprise, Brill appeared to be entirely familiar with the details of the complex presentation. Brill said he had asked for an appointment, to assure Daruwalla that his perception of India's vulnerability was needlessly pessimistic. He then went on to offer what was almost a point-by-point rebuttal of the presentation.
Daruwalla was horrified by this apparent leak and immediately wrote a note to the cabinet secretary recording the meeting and expressing his concern. He says that until he retired in January 1995, he received no response to his note and nothing to indicate that any action had been taken. His conclusion, he says now, especially in light of Jaswant Singh's revelations, is that “Yes, the Americans certainly had access to top-secret information at the very highest levels of government.”