Journalist | Writer | Analyst
In the context of the differing statements on Pakistani cooperation made by NSA M.K. Narayanan and External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, I wrote about the real possibility that the exchange of information between New Delhi and Islamabad was being handled by their intelligence agencies, through the mediation of the Americans:
One clue to resolving this factual dissonance might lie in Mr.
Mukherjee’s use of the phrase ‘official communication’ when he said
Pakistan was yet to respond to India. According to a report on Tuesday
in the Pakistani newspaper, Dawn, India was channeling its
communication to Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency through the
U.S. FBI, whose investigators are also probing the Mumbai case. If
Pakistan was also routing its queries on the Indian dossier through
the FBI, the external affairs minister would be correct in saying
India had received no official word from Pakistan, but only in a
strictly literal sense. Or it could also mean the Indian intelligence
agencies – which report to the NSA – are handling the probe and any
technical queries springing from it on their own steam without
reference to the MEA.
Well, the Washington Post reports today that this is exactly what is going on:
In the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, the CIA orchestrated back-channel intelligence exchanges between India and Pakistan, allowing the two former enemies to quietly share highly sensitive evidence while the Americans served as neutral arbiters, according to U.S. and foreign government sources familiar with the arrangement.
The exchanges, which began days after the deadly assault in late November, gradually helped the two sides overcome mutual suspicions and paved the way for Islamabad’s announcement last week acknowledging that some of the planning for the attack had occurred on Pakistani soil, the sources said.