In his forthcoming book, Kaoboys of RAW – Down Memory Lane, author B Raman, a former bureaucrat in the Cabinet Secretariat, writes that during Indira Gandhi’s reign, the CIA, conscious of her distrust of US activities, could lay hands on sensitive documents through the French intelligence agency that successfully penetrated the Prime Minister’s Office.
Raman also discloses that RAW’s Chennai office had a CIA mole in 1987 to collect intelligence and documents about its activities in Sri Lanka.
He further cites an example of an Australian woman, working on a UN-sponsored project, living with a police officer deputed to RAW in Delhi “without the Counter-Intelligence and Security Division of the organization being aware of it for some time“.
Looking at lapses in our country in keeping secrets ‘secrets’, there is no reason to believe that all secrets are destined to meet the same fate. Take for example the actual formula of Coca-Cola, considered as one of the most heavily guarded secrets in the US.
Nobody has so far been able to crack the code despite several claims, and in one case when a Coca-Cola employee allegedly fled with it to handover to arch rival Pepsi, the latter’s lawyers, aware what that might lead to, promptly handed over the person to the police.
It’s the same story at another US multinational, the KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken). Its secret recipe, said to be nothing more than a simple batter of flour, sugar, salt, pepper and monosodium glutamate, is nonetheless locked in a vault in Louisville, Kentucky under heavy security. Few who know the recipe are bound by horribly strict confidentiality agreements.
The credit for the most secret operation of recent times however belongs to Bloomsbury, the publisher of the recently released latest Harry Potter book, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows. According to reports, workers who assembled the book editions in factories had to work in near darkness so that they would not be able to read the book’s pages.
Further, when the book copies were transported, the trucks had to have satellite tracking devices installed in them so that none could go astray during the journey.
Obviously the effort worked because prior to the book’s release, all its versions leaked on the net ultimately proved to be false.
Is there a lesson for the Indian intelligence fraternity? You bet.
This story is collated from today’s t2, the TT pullout.