French intelligence penetrated PMO in 1980s: Ex-RAW official
ZEE TV, India: July 25, 2007
New Delhi, July 25: A former top official of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) has claimed the Prime Minister's Office was penetrated by the French intelligence while the CIA had a mole in an office of India's spy agency during the early 1980s.
"The French intelligence penetrated the PMO and shared with its West European and American counterparts the intelligence and documents collected by it.
"The greatest damage was caused by the French intelligence agency's penetration of the PMO. It had access to a large number of top secret reports sent by the R&AW and the Intelligence Bureau to the Prime Minister on their sensitive operations," former Additional Secretary in Cabinet Secretariat B Raman writes in his forthcoming book --"The Kaoboys of R&AW - Down Memory Lane".
He says the CIA, knowing the "well-known distrust" of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of the US activities, often operated through the spy agencies of West European nations "till the detection of the penetration of the PMO by the French intelligence".
"Much later in 1987, the IB detected a CIA penetration of the R&AW's office in Chennai to collect intelligence and documents about the R&AW's activities in Sri Lanka," he says.
Observing that "continuing weaknesses" in India's counter-intelligence capability in this period was a major cause of concern, Raman gave several examples, including one in which an Australian woman, working on a un-sponsored project, was living with a police officer deputed to R&AW in Delhi "without the counter-intelligence and security division of the organisation being aware of it for some time"
In the book, he refers to several 'Kaoboys', as they were called after having either been handpicked by or having worked under one of the greatest names of Indian intelligence, Rameshwar Nath Kao who headed the external intelligence division of the IB and later the R&AW.
Raman, who joined the external intelligence division of Intelligence Bureau in 1967 and subsequently moved to R&AW after it came into being in September 1968, deals with a variety of subjects in the book to be released next week.
Writing on contemporary Indian history, he discusses the 1971 liberation of Bangladesh, insurgency in the northeast, Punjab and Kashmir, the emergency, war in Afghanistan and the intelligence imperatives under the governments of Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, Rajiv Gandhi, V P Singh, Chandra Shekhar and P V Narasimha Rao, besides the assassination of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
Favouring a direct access of the chiefs of both R&AW and IB to the Prime Minister, he says the role of these top spy officers was "diluted" over the years.
Raman says Brajesh Mishra, after becoming the National Security Advisor to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, "established the practice of all advice to the PM - either from the intelligence chiefs or other senior officials - going through him".
"He (Mishra) diluted the role of the intelligence chiefs as advisors to the PM on national security matters and kept their roles restricted to the collection, analysis and assessment of intelligence and its dissemination."
Also See, Raman's book on R&AW may stir controversy