Indian paper gets access to WikiLeaks cables

AP News
Posted: Mar 15, 2011 5:38 AM
Indian paper gets access to WikiLeaks cables

An Indian newspaper has linked up with WikiLeaks to sift through thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables covering Washington's relationship with New Delhi.

The Hindu began publishing reports on the cables Tuesday, outlining the negotiations between the United States and India about how much intelligence to share with Pakistani officials about investigations into the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Those attacks, which killed 166 people, were blamed on 10 Pakistani-based militants, one of whom was captured, convicted and sentenced to death. Pakistan said it would help with the investigation, but India remained wary of its intentions.

The cables published Tuesday reveal the United States' behind-the-scenes efforts to broker an exchange of information about the attacks between India and Pakistan.

In a Jan. 3, 2009 cable, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's office said it was sending intelligence provided by Pakistan to be shared with India and it requested "immediate permission" from India to share information with Islamabad in return.

Two days later, the embassy sent a cable back saying the government "appears to have withheld consent to share the results of FBI investigations with Pakistan in order to control precisely what information reaches Islamabad."

Yet in a cable the next day, the embassy gave a very different interpretation, saying that an Indian agreement to share some restricted information with Pakistan, "should be read broadly" by U.S. investigators.

Following the attacks, and Pakistan's refusal to satisfy India's demand for a crackdown on the militant groups, India called off peace talks with its neighbor that had been aimed at resolving their six-decade-old conflict.

In August 2009, the embassy reported that then-National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh remained a "great believer" in talks with Pakistan, but was isolated in his own government in this view.

India and Pakistan agreed last month to renew wide-ranging peace talks.

Last year, WikiLeaks gave access to some of the 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables it had in its possession to five newspapers: the Guardian, the New York Times, Spain's El Pais, France's Le Monde and Germany's Der Spiegel.

But with much of the trove still unexamined, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in January he was hoping to enlist as many as 60 news organizations from around the world to sift through the documents.

N. Ram, editor of The Hindu, said Tuesday in a front-page story that the newspaper began serious discussions with WikiLeaks last month over access to the more than 5,000 cables relating to India and the organization quickly agreed.