Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Behind India's Bust of a Pakistan Spy

Wednesday, Apr. 28, 2010

Behind India's Bust of a Pakistan Spy

"At 53, she was bored, alone and attractive. Single, but definitely one step ahead to mingle." That's how the man who led the operation to bust Madhuri Gupta, the first Indian diplomat to be found spying for Pakistan, described her. For most of her two years in espionage, Gupta was a lone wolf, conducting a classic spy operation from her base in Islamabad. Old-school "dead drops," in which she passed off information without even meeting her Pakistani handlers, were her signature style. Yet it was a silly indiscretion — sending e-mails to her spy bosses from her office computer — that finally led to her arrest.
Gupta had not exactly been near the center of Indian decisionmaking, posted as a second secretary in the media section of India's high commission in Pakistan's capital, where her job was to provide English and Hindi summaries of Pakistan's Urdu-language newspapers. On April 22, the 53-year-old was summoned back to New Delhi ostensibly to help colleagues prepare for the ongoing South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) summit in Bhutan. After landing at Indira Gandhi International Airport, she was whisked away by officials of the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (IB), India's internal intelligence agency, to an interrogation chamber in an undisclosed location. Twenty-four hours later, she was handed over to Delhi police and charged with treason and accessing confidential documents under India's Official Secrets Act. (See pictures of Pakistan's class divisions and ethnic rivalries.)
"Her spy game was up the moment a joint secretary — an IB officer — inside the Islamabad mission suspected her around October 2009 and reported back," a high-level IB case officer in New Delhi told TIME. The IB launched a massive counterintelligence operation, in which even its counterparts in the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), the country's external intelligence agency, were kept out of the loop.
Over the next six months, Gupta's every step was monitored. She was found to be taking undue interest in informal discussions among the senior embassy officials regarding important policy matters, including India's strategic plans in Afghanistan and resuming a dialogue with Pakistan. She was even fed with incorrect information to be passed on to her Pakistani handlers, suspected to be from the Inter-Services Intelligence agency. (See pictures of Pakistan's vulnerable frontier with Afghanistan.)

Read the full article at -- Behind India's Bust of a Pakistan Spy

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