In 1972 in the US, the famous Watergate scandal took place. The main charges revolved around President Nixon’s involvement in authorising people belonging to the Opposition party to be put under surveillance. This was such a big scandal since it undermined the democratic process of the country in misusing power to target political opponents.
What would have happened if Nixon had instead told a foreign country, say Germany, that the Democratic Party was a bigger threat than Russia, and implied the need for it to be tracked. Such outrageous conduct would move the charges from misuse of authority to outright treason, spying and waging war against the State.
This has happened in India. A top functionary of the ruling dispensation told a foreign power that its Opposition party was a bigger threat to India’s (and presumably the worlds) security than the most dreaded terrorist outfit from a neighboring country. This foreign power then put the Opposition party under surveillance at the instigation of the ruling party.
The Washington Post recently revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had been monitoring the BJP. How did this happen? We have at least one smoking gun. According to the Wikileaks cables, on July 20, 2009, ruling Congress party’s general secretary Rahul Gandhi told the American ambassador to India that the BJP was a bigger threat than the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Here are the exact contents of the Wikileaks cable.
5. (C) Responding to the Ambassador’s query about Lashkar-e-Taiba’s activities in the region and immediate threat to India, Gandhi said there was evidence of some support for the group among certain elements in India’s indigenous Muslim community. However, Gandhi warned, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalized Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community. (Comment: Gandhi was referring to the tensions created by some of the more polarizing figures in the BJP such as Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi). The risk of a “home-grown” extremist front, reacting to terror attacks coming from Pakistan or from Islamist groups in India, was a growing concern and one that demanded constant attention.
So the US ambassador asks a ruling party member about the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, one of the most dreaded terrorist outfits targeting India. This outfit is implicated for numerous terrorist attacks on India and this conversation is taking place less than a year after the Mumbai terror attacks on India in 2008 that involved the LeT. Let us recall again the sequence of events.
2008: 26 Nov-29 Nov – Mumbai terrorist attacks that kill 164 people, injure at least 308.
2009: Nov 2008-Jan 2009 – Indian investigative agencies work hard to uncover the LeT links to the Mumbai attacks.
2009: Feb 12 – Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik admits parts of the attack had been planned in Pakistan.
2009: US continues to investigate attacks that also killed US citizens.
2009: July – Pakistani authorities confirm that LeT plotted and financed Mumbai attacks.
2009: July – US Ambassador to India speaks with Rahul Gandhi on this matter. Rahul Gandhi attempts to deflect US attention away from LeT and names his political opponents, the BJP, the bigger threat.
2009: October – US authorities arrest David Headley.
2010: National Spy Agency (NSA) obtains authorisation from US court to spy on the BJP.
Instead of pushing India’s national security agenda, when even the US is sensitised to it given the egregious nature of the Mumbai attacks, Rahul deflects the US ambassador away from the LeT threat with the claim that “Hindu groups”, in particular Opposition party leader, Narendra Modi was the bigger threat. This is shocking beyond belief. He amplifies this by telling the US that “reactions” to the terrorist attacks in India were bigger threats than the attacks themselves. If terror mastermind Hafeez Sayeed had written the script for Rahul Gandhi, he couldn’t have done it any better. Of course, none of this would have come to light but for two major US dissidents, Private Manning and Edward Snowden that leaked confidential US secrets that blew the lid of Rahul Gandhi’s subterfuge.
In 2010, within a year of this conversation, America’s top spy agency has obtained authorisation to spy on the BJP from a US court. The sequence of events is startling. It is as if the ruling party of India was acting on behalf of an enemy terrorist group and egging the US, another foreign power, on its behalf. It is like the US Government telling Al-Qaeda that Christian Groups in the US are the real problem and needed constant attention. Could such a scenario even be imaginable, and if happened, can you reflect on the staggering implications?
The validity of the WikiLeaks cables is well established with Private Manning being convicted of leaking the documents. There is little reason for the US ambassador to India to misrepresent his conversation with Rahul Gandhi in a confidential cable.
This NSAGate is like Watergate times ten. It needs a CBI investigation and interrogation with charges of treason and of waging war against the State. It is crucial for India’s security that such a scenario is never allowed to transpire again that political parties involve foreign powers in domestic political vendettas and significantly compromise the security of the Indian people and the State.
This article was original published at NitiCentral.com