Saturday, February 25, 2012



The “Dawn” of Karachi reported on February 25,2012, that the Government of Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani has reportedly decided against extending the tenure of Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who has been the Director General (DG) of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate since October,2008. According to it, he may reportedly be transferred to the Strategic Plans Division (SPD) as its head.

2.Pasha reached the age of superannuation in March last year. On the recommendation of Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), Prime Minister Gilani, who is the appointing authority of all intelligence chiefs, granted him one year’s extension in service as well as in his tenure as the DG of the ISI.

3.When he was appointed as the ISI chief in succession to the controversial Lt.Gen.Nadeem Taj, who was distrusted by the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which suspected him of being the brain behind the explosion outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul and the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, Pasha had the unique advantage of enjoying the confidence of his Army Chief, the elected civilian Government and the US.

4.After his extension, his image has taken a beating due to the unilateral US raid in Abbottabad on May 2,2011, which led to the killing of Osama bin Laden, the subsequent Memogate scandal relating to a Memo allegedly passed on by Mansoor Ijaz, a US citizen of Pakistani origin, to Admiral Mike Mullen, then Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the alleged instance of Hussain Haqqani, then Pakistani Ambassador to the US, seeking US intervention to prevent a feared coup by Kayani, and a serious disruption of military-military and intelligence-intelligence relations between the US and Pakistan following an alleged US/NATO raid on a Pakistani border post in the last week of November in which many Pakistani military and para-military personnel were killed.

5.There has been an undeclared cold war between the military and intelligence services of the two countries since the last week of November resulting in a disruption of exchanges of visits, meetings at senior levels, and NATO logistic supplies to Afghanistan through Pakistani territory.

6.There have been reliable indications that the elected civilian leadership ----particularly President Asif Ali Zardari--- has been unhappy over the turn for the worse in the bilateral relations, but has been unable to override the objections of the Army and the ISI to a premature mending of the relations with the US.

7.So long as Pasha is the head of the ISI, in view of his total identification with the post-May 2011 policies of Kayani, a reversal of the downslide in the relations with the US is unlikely. But the exit of Pasha from the post of DG of the ISI might provide the civilian leadership with an opportunity to appoint a successor who can try to reverse the downslide.

8.The appointing authority for the post of the DG, ISI, is the Prime Minister. Though the Prime Minister generally appoints an Army officer recommended by the COAS, there have been three instances in the past when an elected Prime Minister had appointed someone to whom the COAS was opposed. These were retired Major-Gen. Shamshur Rehman Kallue, who was recalled from retirement by Mrs.Benazir Bhutto in 1989 and appointed as the DG of the ISI, Lt.Gen.Javed Nasir and Lt.Gen.Ziauddin, who were appointed by Nawaz Sharif during his first and second tenures as Prime Minister respectively. Piqued by these appointments, the Army boycotted Kallue, Nasir and Ziauddin thereby reducing their effectiveness and increasing the importance of the Directors-General of Military Intelligence, who were relied upon by the COAS for carrying out his orders.

9.The “Dawn” has also reported as follows : “In what may come as a surprising development, the Government may appoint a non-military official or a retired military officer as the new chief of the ISI. At least four senior military officers, including the Corps Commander Lahore Lieutenant General Rashid, Corps Commander Karachi Lieutenant General Zaheer-ul-Islam, Deputy Director General ISI Major General Asfandyar Pataudi and the incumbent DG Military Intelligence Major General Noshad Kayani are also being considered for the slot to be vacated by Pasha.”

10. Last year, after the Abbottabad raid, there was speculation in Pakistan that Maj-Gen Pataudi may replace Pasha as the ISI chief, but this did not happen. Pataudi will still be an attractive candidate for the US and the Pakistani civilian leadership because of his reputation as a liberal and clean officer, but he is still only a Major-Gen and may have to be promoted as Lt.Gen. superseding his seniors before he can take over as the DG,ISI. Moreover, Kayani may not like his being preferred to others who are known to be close to him. Sections of the Pakistani media had speculated last year that he was related to the Nawab of Pataudi family in India. If this is correct, it is doubtful whether the Army would want someone with links to India as the ISI chief.

11. It is very doubtful whether the civilian leadership would appoint a civilian to this post. It could provoke the Army and add to the confrontation between the civilian leadership and the Army. Since there is a precedent of a retired Army officer enjoying the confidence of the elected leadership being recalled and asked to take over as the DG,ISI, one should not rule this out.

12. Among names of retired officers that come to mind are Lt.Gen. Asad Durrani, who was the DG of the ISI during Nawaz Sharif’s first tenure as the Prime Minister, and Maj-Gen.Mahmud Ali Durrani, former Ambassador to the US before Haqqani. Asad Durrani was close to Nawaz, but had subsequently ingratiated himself with Benazir Bhutto. He is presently very active in the Track-2 circles trying for a dialogue between India and Pakistan.

13. When Gilani took over as the Prime Minister in 2008, he appointed Mahmud Ali Durrani as his National Security Adviser, but he was removed following a controversy over his confirming in public that Ajmal Kasab, the sole survivor of the Lashkar-e-Toiba group that carried out terrorist strikes in Mumbai on 26/11, was a Pakistani national.

14. Despite his unceremonious exit, he maintains good relations with Zardari, the US and serving Army officers who are supporters of Pervez Musharraf. He had played an active role in bringing about an understanding between Musharraf and Benazir which led to her return from political exile in October, 2007.

15. Among other retired officers with an intelligence background known to Zardari are Lt-Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi and Lt-Gen Naseem Rana, both of whom had headed the ISI during Benazir’s second tenure as the Prime Minister. Lt-Gen. Qazi is now a member of the Pakistan Muslim League (Qaide Azam) and represents it in the Senate. That might rule him out from consideration. Rana is from the Signal Corps and was not known as a heavy weight. His chances should, therefore, be low. ( 26-2-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )



In a letter to the Chief Ministers, who have expressed their reservations over certain features of the proposed National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Shri P.Chidambaram, the Union Home Minister, has stated, inter alia as follows: “Before we take the next steps, I have asked the Home Secretary to call a meeting of the Directors General of Police and the Heads of the Anti-Terrorist Organisations/Forces of the State Governments and discuss in detail the scope and functions of the NCTC.”

2. This tends to confirm the claims of Ms.Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, who had met the Prime Minister at New Delhi on this subject that the Government has decided to withhold further follow-up action on the NCTC till there were prior consultations with the States. The Government of India needs to be complimented for not standing on false prestige and agreeing to hold consultations with the States “before we take the next steps”

3. With his letter, Shri Chidambaram has enclosed a note giving the background to the proposed creation of the NCTC and its salient features. The note states inter alia: “A body mandated to deal with counter terrorism must have, in certain circumstances, an operational capability. This is true of all counter terrorism bodies in the world. When engaged in counter terrorism operations, the officers must have the power to arrest and the power to search which are the bare minimum powers that would be necessary. Besides, the powers conferred under section 43A must be read with the duty under section 43B to produce the person or article without unnecessary delay before the nearest police station (which will be under the State Government), and the SHO of the Police Station will take further action in accordance with the provisions of the CrPC.”

4. The claim made in the summary regarding the position in other countries does not seem to be factually correct. In the US, the NCTC,created under law in 2004, as an independent institution to function under the supervision of Director, National Intelligence, has not been given any executive powers. Its charter says: “NCTC assigns roles and responsibilities to departments and agencies as part of its strategic planning duties, but NCTC does not direct the execution of any resulting operations.”

5. In the UK, the powers of arrest are still exclusively vested in the police. The Secret Service, known as MI-5, which is responsible for secret intelligence collection and covert action against terrorism, does not have these powers. A paper on Counter-Terrorism Strategy submitted by the British Government to their Parliament in July 2006 says as follows: “Covert operational counter-terrorist activity in the United Kingdom is conducted by the
Security Service in close collaboration with police forces across the country and the Anti-Terrorist Branch of the Metropolitan Police. The police are responsible for taking executive action, such as arrests, and conducting the investigation against those suspected of involvement in terrorism. The SIS and GCHQ, in collaboration with intelligence and security partners overseas, operate covertly in support of the Security Service to disrupt terrorist threat.”

6. SIS is the Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI-6, which is the UK’s external intelligence agency. GCHQ is the General Communications Headquarters which is the UK’s TECHINT agency. It is the UK’s equivalent of the USA’s National Security Agency and our National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO).

7.The Multi-Agency Centre (MAC), created in pursuance of the recommendation of the Task Force set up by the Atal Behari Vajpayee Government in 2000 under the chairmanship of Shri G.C.Saxena, former head of the R&AW, has tasks of joint analysis, joint assessment, joint identification of follow-up action required and assigning responsibilities for follow-up action. It will get its follow-up operations executed by other empowered agencies and the State Police. It has no executive powers of its own.

8. The NCTC is proposed to be given executive powers of follow-up action on its own on the basis of its assessment and informing the State Police thereafter. At present, the MAC alerts the State Police and suggests arrest of a suspect by them. In future, the NCTC can arrest a suspect on its own, hand him over to the police and direct it to start an investigation.

9. This is apparently meant to deal with contingencies where the State Police drag their feet in making an arrest--- for example a BJP Government in respect of a suspected Hindu terrorist or some other Government in respect of a Muslim terrorist. The MAC is at present without powers to deal with such instances. The NCTC can, in future, arrest the suspect without alerting the police, take his house search, hand him over to the police and then direct it to start an investigation.

10. This is a power with serious implications for misuse, with the NCTC, taking its orders from the Intelligence Bureau, arresting a person in a State without keeping the Police in the picture and then confronting the Police with a fait accompli.

11. In other countries, the NCTCs or their equivalent came into being as part of a detailed National Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which was formulated after extensive political consultations and debate in the Parliament. In India, 41 years after terrorism made its appearance and over three years after the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, we still do not have a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy drawn up in consultation with the political parties and States.

12. Without such a strategy, attempts are being made to smuggle through a mechanism with executive powers to enable the IB to make arrests in certain cases on its own through the NCTC without the prior knowledge of the States.

13. A note on the NCTC of the US taken from its web site is annexed.( 25-2-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )



The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) was established by Presidential Executive Order 13354 in August 2004, and codified by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA). NCTC implements a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission: “Breaking the older mold of national government organizations, this NCTC should be a center for joint operational planning and joint intelligence, s
staffed by personnel from the various agencies.”

The Director of NCTC is a Deputy Secretary-equivalent with a unique, dual line of reporting: (1) to the President regarding Executive branch-wide counterterrorism planning, and (2) to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) regarding intelligence matters. NCTC follows the policy direction of the President, and National and Homeland Security Councils.

NCTC is staffed by more than 500 personnel from more than 16 departments and agencies (approximately 60 percent of whom are detailed to NCTC). NCTC is organizationally part of the ODNI.

NCTC’s core missions are derived primarily from IRTPA, as supplemented by other statutes, Executive Orders, and Intelligence Community Directives. NCTC’s mission statement succinctly summarizes its key responsibilities and value-added contributions: “Lead our nation’s effort to combat terrorism at home and abroad by analyzing the threat, sharing that information with our partners, and integrating all instruments of national power to ensure unity of effort.”

“Analyzing the Threat”

By law, NCTC serves as the primary organization in the United States Government (USG) for integrating and analyzing all intelligence pertaining to counterterrorism (except for information pertaining exclusively to domestic terrorism).

NCTC integrates foreign and domestic analysis from across the Intelligence Community (IC) and produces a wide-range of detailed assessments designed to support senior policymakers and other members of the policy, intelligence, law enforcement, defense, homeland security, and foreign affairs communities. Prime examples of NCTC analytic products include items for the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) and the daily National Terrorism Bulletin (NTB). NCTC is also the central player in the ODNI’s Homeland Threat Task Force, which orchestrates interagency collaboration and keeps senior policymakers informed about threats to the Homeland via a weekly update.

NCTC leads the IC in providing expertise and analysis of key terrorism-related issues, with immediate and far-reaching impact. For example, NCTC’s Radicalization and Extremist Messaging Group leads the IC’s efforts on radicalization issues. NCTC’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Counterterrorism Group pools scarce analytical, subject matter, and scientific expertise from NCTC and CIA on these critical issues.

NCTC also evaluates the quality of CT analytic production, the training of analysts working CT, and the strengths and weaknesses of the CT analytic workforce. NCTC created the Analytic Framework for Counterterrorism, aimed at reducing redundancy of effort by delineating the roles of the IC’s various CT analytic components. NCTC also created a working group for alternative analysis to help improve the overall rigor and quality of CT analysis.

“Sharing that Information”

By law, NCTC serves as the USG’s central and shared knowledge bank on known and suspected terrorists and international terror groups. NCTC also provides USG agencies with the terrorism intelligence analysis and other information they need to fulfill their missions. NCTC collocates more than 30 intelligence, military, law enforcement and homeland security networks under one roof to facilitate robust information sharing. NCTC is a model of interagency information sharing.

Through the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), NCTC maintains a consolidated repository of information on international terrorist identities and provides the authoritative database supporting the Terrorist Screening Center and the USG’s watchlisting system. The Center also produces NCTC Online (NOL) and NCTC Online CURRENT, classified websites that make CT products and articles available to users across approximately 75 USG agencies, departments, military services and major commands. NCTC’s Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group (ITACG) facilitates information sharing between the IC and State, Local, Tribal, and Private partners – in coordination with DHS, FBI, and other members of the ITACG Advisory Council.

NCTC also provides the CT community with 24/7 situational awareness, terrorism threat reporting, and incident information tracking. NCTC hosts three daily secure video teleconferences (SVTC) and maintains constant voice and electronic contact with major Intelligence and CT Community players and foreign partners.

“Integrating All Instruments of National Power”

By law, NCTC conducts strategic operational planning for CT activities across the USG, integrating all instruments of national power, including diplomatic, financial, military, intelligence, homeland security, and law enforcement to ensure unity of effort. NCTC ensures effective integration of CT plans and synchronization of operations across more than 20 government departments and agencies engaged in the War on Terror, through a single and truly joint planning process.

NCTC’s planning efforts include broad, strategic plans such as the landmark National Implementation Plan for the War on Terror (NIP). First approved by the President in June 2006 and then again in September 2008, the NIP is the USG’s comprehensive and evolving strategic plan to implement national CT priorities into concerted interagency action.

NCTC also prepares far more granular, targeted action plans to ensure integration, coordination, and synchronization on key issues, such as countering violent extremism, terrorist use of the internet, terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction, and counter-options (after an attack). NCTC also leads Interagency Task Forces designed to analyze, monitor, and disrupt potential terrorist attacks.

NCTC assigns roles and responsibilities to departments and agencies as part of its strategic planning duties, but NCTC does not direct the execution of any resulting operations.

NCTC monitors the alignment of all CT resources against the NIP and provides advice and recommendations to policy officials to enhance mission success.

The Director of NCTC is also the CT Mission Manager for the IC, per DNI directive3. Thus implementing a key recommendation of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction. In that role, NCTC leads the CT community in identifying critical intelligence problems, key knowledge gaps, and major resource constraints. NCTC also created the CT Intelligence Plan (CTIP) to translate the NIP and the National Intelligence Strategy into a common set of priority activities for the IC, and to establish procedures for assessing how the IC is performing against those objectives.

NCTC, in partnership with NSC and HSC, is leading reform of CT policy architecture to streamline policymaking and clarify missions.