India's concurrence in the U.S. sharing law enforcement information developed during the investigation of the Mumbai attacks with Pakistani authorities should be read broadly.
185899 1/6/2009 14:30 09NEWDELHI23 Embassy New Delhi SECRET 08 NEWDELHI3251|08 NEWDELHI3267|08 NEWDELHI3268|09 ISLAMABAD26|09 NEWDELHI10|09 NEWDELHI16|09 NEWDELHI17|09 STATE134619|09STATE314 "VZCZCXYZ0000OO RUEHWEBDE RUEHNE #0023/01 0061430ZNY SSSSS ZZHO 061430Z JAN 09FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHITO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4936INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA IMMEDIATE 1821RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD IMMEDIATE 5661RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATERUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATERHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC IMMEDIATERHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATERUEIDN/DNI WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATERUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATERUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE" "S E C R E T NEW DELHI 000023
FROM AMBASSADOR MULFORD FOR DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/06/2019 TAGS: PREL, PTER, PINR, PK, IN SUBJECT: INDIAN CONCURRENCE ON INFORMATION SHARING: TAKING YES FOR AN ANSWER
REF: A. ISLAMABAD 26 B. STATE 134619 C. 08 NEW DELHI 3251 D. FBI //1317//01495/365/0006 E. 08 NEW DELHI 3267 F. 08 NEW DELHI 3268 G. STATE 314 H. NEW DELHI 10 I. NEW DELHI 16 J. NEW DELHI 17
Classified By: Ambassador David C. Mulford. Reasons: 1.4(B, D).
1. (S) Summary: India's concurrence in the U.S. sharing law enforcement information developed during the investigation of the Mumbai attacks with Pakistani authorities should be read broadly. In the interest of providing complete clarity on the scope of concurrence, this cable summarizes the understandings we have established with the Indian government in regard to sharing law enforcement information with Pakistan. Our primary interlocutor, Home Minister Chidambaram, has asked that the information we share conform to the subjects included in a diplomatic note India passed to Pakistan on January 5, but that note covers a broad range of items, including the interrogation of Kasab, information on communications between Pakistan and the terrorists and a wide variety of physical evidence. There is no necessity on India's part to require item-by-item approval. In other words, India's approval should be viewed as a blanket permission because it was understood and accepted that the FBI would use law enforcement information as required to pursue its investigation. End Summary.
What is the Context?
2. (S) In order to understand the context in which Indian concurrence was given to share U.S. law enforcement information developed as part of the Mumbai investigation, it is worth reviewing our exchanges with the GOI on this issue. There are already concerns about what information is covered by the concurrence. (Ref. A). This summary demonstrates that an initial, narrowly limited request has been broadened by the discussions with the Indian government to include the range of information developed by the FBI during the investigation.
The Initial Request
3. (S) The FBI on December 23 requested the Indians concur in the FBI passing information on the results of the Bureau's interview of detained attacker Mohammaed Ajmal Kasab and information concerning the Yamaha outboard motor found on the Mumbai attackers' boat. (See Ref. B). On December 27, the Ambassador was requested to reiterate the FBI's outstanding request for permission to share investigative details on these two items with appropriate Pakistani officials. (Ref. B). The Ambassador made this request to Home Minister Chidambaram on December 29, noting that the FBI wanted to provide it to the Pakistanis on an as needed basis and as part of the ongoing investigation. (Ref. C). Chidambaram indicated then that India was not ready to give its concurrence because there had been no signs the Pakistanis would cooperate in the investigation and were not providing the U.S. with access to persons of interest in the investigation, including Kasab's father.
The FBI's Request Broadens
4. (S) A December 30 FBI cable slugged for the Ambassador's attention broadened the request to include GPS data recovered from devices used by the attackers and to concur in the release of information from the interview report of Bangladeshi detainee Mubashir Shahid AKA Yahya. (Ref. D). On December 31, the Ambassador was told by Foreign Secretary Menon that India had not yet decided on the FBI's request. He also said the Cabinet would need to decide whether India would share information from the Mumbai terrorist attack investigations directly with Pakistan, and, if so, to
determine what evidence in particular would be given. (Ref. E). In a later meeting that same day, Home Minister Chidambaram did not indicate whether the India had decided on the FBI's request or the broader issue of sharing information. (Ref. F).
India's Decision: ""To the Extent Necessary""
5. (S) On January 3, the Ambassador was requested to urge that India concur in the U.S. law enforcement information being shared with Pakistan, in the context of a decision by Pakistan to provide sensitive information to India about the attacks via the U.S. (Ref. G). On January 3, the Ambassador was told by Chidambaram that the Indian government would decide ""as early as possible"" whether to concur in the U.S. sharing information with Pakistan. (Ref. H). At that point, Chidambaram framed the issue for decision broadly, which was whether information obtained during the investigation in Mumbai could be shared with the Pakistanis. He agreed that if information was shared, the FBI would be free to do so ""to the extent necessary"" and ""according to your best judgment."" He did not limit the information to the two items described in the initial request, not did he request that we seek item-by-item clearance. Chidambaram also provided us with notice that India was preparing to release a dossier on the attacks to those members of the international community who lost citizens in the attack as well as more broadly.
6. (S) On January 5, under cover of a diplomatic note, the Indian government provided the Pakistani government in Islamabad and New Delhi with a package of information about the attacks. Within that package are photographs and details about the attackers, highlights of the ""interrogation"" of Kasab, details of the Voice Over Internet Protocol platforms used, information about the boat motor, details about the pistols and grenades used, information about an intercepted email, data recovered from the GPS and satellite phone, and a list of items recovered from the terrorists. In a briefing for representatives of 15 countries whose citizens lost their lives in the attack, the Indian government provided a 55 page dossier and accompanying 110 slide presentation that includes extensive information about every aspect of the investigation. (Ref. J). There were no restrictions on the disclosure of any of this information and the media has been full of reports about the details provided to the diplomats, including copies of pages from the dossier.
New Delhi's concurrence
7. (S) Later in the day on January 5, after FS Menon had provided the Ambassador with a copy of the dossier and presentation, Home Minister Chidambaram told the Ambassador that India concurred in the U.S. sharing information with Pakistani authorities that had been gathered by U.S. law enforcement authorities. (Ref. I). He asked that the information shared conform to the subjects specified in the Indian note to the Pakistani government.
8. (S) We believe strongly that we should take India's yes as an answer and proceed to use the information developed in the Mumbai investigation to push forward with the Pakistani authorities. Chidambaram, who has been our primary interlocutor, has ""requested"" that the U.S. conform its sharing of information to the subjects identified in the diplomatic note. These are broad categories and should be read in that fashion. We detect no intent on Chidambaram's part to seek any sort of case-by-case approval of each specific piece of information developed during the investigation. Such a crabbed reading would be unworkable in any event. After the Indian dossier has been widely and publicly distributed, as it has, seeking specific approvals would be elevating form over substance. Chidambaram understood that we were not seeking his concurrence to do our
own investigative work and he has indicated he would be satisfied if, in using our judgment and to the extent necessary, such information will be used to further a criminal investigation both countries are vitally interested in pursuing.