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Intelligence Bureau (IB)

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) is the Indian government's domestic intelligence agency, and reputedly the world's oldest intelligence agency. It is rather difficult to ascertain what the IB does, since its operations are outside the purview of audit or inquiry. In addition to domestic intelligence responsibilities, the IB is particularly tasked with intelligence collection in border areas, following the 1951 recommendations of the Himmatsinhji Committee (also known as the North and North-East Border Committee), a task entrusted to military intelligence organizations prior to independence in 1947. The IB was also tasked with other external intelligence responsibilities as of 1951.

The Indian Telegraph Act authorizes the surveillance of communications, including monitoring telephone conversations and intercepting personal mail, in case of public emergency or "in the interest of the public safety or tranquility." These powers have been used by every state government. It has been reported that as many as 5,000 letters from abroad are intercepted every day by the Intelligence Bureau under the provisions of the Indian Post Office Act. Indian courts do not issue warrants or accept wiretaps as evidence, giving the police little incentive to intercept. Many wiretaps are conducted "informally" by agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau, and the targets are frequently opposition politicians. From time to time a few such cases have come to light, been furiously debated in Parliament, and declared illegal.

The IB has also employed officers, who submit letters and opinion pieces under assumed names, to ensure that newspapers carry the government's point of view. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) procures information which is more often than not related to the security of the current Government rather than of the nation.

The DMK government led by M. Karunanidhi in Tamil Nadu was dismissed in 1990 on grounds of having encouraged the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) movement in the state. karunanidhi had portrayed the fellow Tamils' cause in Sri Lanka as just and noble. Imposition of central rule in Tamil Nadu, a political step taken under pressure from the Congress (I) Party, was taken following a series of reports filed by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) that reveale the growing informal relationship between the followers of the DMK and the LTTE. Although the IB had established Karunanidhi's sympathy towards the LTTE, it was unaware of the group's plan to assasinate Rajiv Gandhi.

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Page last modified: 28-07-2011 00:52:57 ZULU