Monday, January 19, 2009

There was a big-time mole in 1961 as well !

A decade before a CIA operative compromised India's war objectives during the Bangladesh war, someone higher-up was evidently keeping the agency informed about the inside politics of the Nehru government.

Declassified CIA records provide ample indications the agency was able to infiltrate the top echelons of the Indian establishment in the 1960s as well. A case in point is a declassified November 1961 telegram. The name of the source is obviously not declassified. The telegram relays the gist of meetings between President Rajendra Prasad and Defense Minister Krishna Menon and between the President and Vice President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. A detailed report must have been filed later.

As per the telegram, President Prasad thought poorly of Menon's pro-USSR leanings. Radhakrishnan actually told the President that "this man (Menon) will have the whole world against us sooner or later." "If you believe so, tell the PriMin [Nehru]," Prasad replied testily.

It is not too surprising that the CIA should be keeping an eye on Menon who was a communist sympathiser and aspired to be Jawaharlal Nehru's successor. This surely had a lot of implication for the US's foreign policy during the Cold War. A 1951 agency report said: "The potential for [communist] infiltration of the [Indian] armed forces is probably enhanced by the fact that Defense Minister V. K. Krishna Menon is a member of the extreme left wing of the Congress Party and has associated with known Communists and fellow travelers. He is highly ambitious and would probably cooperate with and accept support from any group which might enhance his prospects for becoming Prime Minister."

What is startling is that the private discussions India's President had with the Vice-President and Defence Minister were leaked out. Whoever did it must have been very, very highly placed. You don't expect the President to speak his mind about a Cabinet minister in the company of ordinary folks.

The 1971 case cannot be an isolated one. There must have been within the official circles through the years several high-level moles, ensuring that the intelligence agencies of the world were well-supplied with the information not available from the open sources.


ideopreneur said...

Nice post Anuj.

Coming to the post; Not just the CIA but even the British intelligence was keeping a close watch on V K Krishna Menon. Read more:


waiting for the next big revelation.

Vasu said...

The method of infiltration and subversion was what JFK was talking about in 1961:

Link to his speech:

Would be interested in your comments on his reference to 'opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings' as it relates to our country and these proceedings.

Anonymous said...

Wished to add that you can listen to JFK's speech (there's a link at top). I highly recommend listening to it.