NSA red-faced after memos warning staff not to breach of secrecy laws are leaked to media
New Delhi: In a letter to Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth on October 13, 2013, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval pointed out that Aaj Tak channel had broadcast a report on India’s nuclear submarine INS Arihant.Doval expressed concern that the information televised by the media on the Arihant submarine was classified, so revealing it is an offence under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
Aaj Tak has accessed a series of government notes highlighting concerns over the leakage of secrecy laws information to the media.
He went on to write that the secrecy laws was being violated with impunity by the media and sought firm action as it undermined national security.
The NSA’s note asserted that since the leak emanates from government establishments, there is a need to reiterate government instructions and guidelines on the handling of classified information.
“It has been observed that in the last few years, it has become a regular practice, particularly in the media, to violate secrecy laws with impunity. Firm action need to be taken in such cases that undermine the national security of the country,” the NSA’s note read.
The cabinet secretariat drew the attention of union home secretary Anil Goswami for compliance of the instruction by NSA.
Aaj Tak has also obtained a copy of this letter, marked as “secret/immediate”.
The third note in the series is an office memorandum issued on November 24, 2014, by joint secretary Bina Prasasd, highlighting Ajit Doval’s concerns about the violation of the Act.
“To prevent any leakage of information from government establishments, the provisions/instructions and guidelines of the Official Secrets Act and the manual of department of security instructions should be scrupulously followed by the ministry/department dealing with classified documents,” said the memorandum.
The three notes highlighting the information leakages have come into public domain. Despite the government’s attempt to keep secrecy about key issues, the reports about various strategic projects, including sea trials of submarine INS Arihant, surfaced earlier this month.
One of the major impressions that the media carried about the government was that the flow of information was regulated. The government prefers to break the news about its key policy initiatives on the state broadcasters.