Washington: Secretary of state Hillary Clinton described India as a “self-appointed front-runner” for a permanent UN Security Council (UNSC) seat and directed US envoys to seek minute details about Indian diplomats stationed at the United Nations headquarters, according to classified documents released by WikiLeaks on Monday.
In a potentially damaging disclosure, the whistle-blower website released a “secret” cable issued by Clinton on 31 July, 2009, as part of its massive leak of a quarter million classified documents of the American government.
The cable posted by The New York Times gave directions to US diplomats to collect information on key issues like reform of the UNSC and Indo-US civilian nuclear deal and pass it on to the intelligence agencies, including on foreign associates’ credit card and frequent-flier numbers that could be used to track a person’s movements.
It asked US diplomats to ascertain deliberations regarding the UNSC expansion among key groups of countries like “self-appointed front-runners” for permanent UNSC seats - India, Brazil, Germany and Japan (Group of Four or G-4); Uniting for Consensus group - especially Mexico, Italy and Pakistan - that opposes additional permanent UNSC seats; African Group; and European Union, as well as key UN officials within the Secretariat and the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Presidency.
It also sought biographical and biometric information on key NAM/G-77/OIC (Organisation of Islamic Countries) permanent representatives, particularly China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, Senegal and Syria; and information on their relationships with their capitals.
The cable also wanted to know about members’ plans for plenary meetings of the Nuclear Suppliers Group; views on the US-India civil nuclear cooperation initiative; besides members’ views on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT); prospects for country ratifications and entry into force.
The New York Times said the leaked cable gave a laundry list of instructions for how state department employees can fulfil the demands of a “National Humint Collection Directive” in specific countries. Humint being the spy-world jargon for human intelligence collection.
One cable asks officers overseas to gather information about “office and organisational titles; names, position titles and other information on business cards; numbers of telephones, cellphones, pagers and faxes,” as well as “internet and intranet handles, internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent-flier account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information,” it said.