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From Edward Snowden trove: US had data on Indian nuclear missiles in 2005

The January 2005 document published by The Intercept, an American news website, suggests that America’s National Security Agency (NSA) also obtained “significant intelligence” about other bombs India possessed at the time

Written by Krishn Kaushik | New Delhi | Updated: September 20, 2017 7:25 am
 Edward Snowden, India nuclear power, India nuclear capability, NSA, India nuclear missiles, The Intercept, India news, Indian Express American whistleblower Edward Snowden. (File Photo)

The US may have gained information regarding India’s nuclear-capable Sagarika and Dhanush missiles and the facility where they were being developed as early as in 2005, according to a document from American whistleblower Edward Snowden’s trove. The January 2005 document published by The Intercept, an American news website, suggests that America’s National Security Agency (NSA) also obtained “significant intelligence” about other bombs India possessed at the time.

The document is part of 294 articles published by The Intercept on September 14. These articles are purportedly from the internal news website, SIDtoday, of the NSA’s core Signal Intelligence Directorate, The Intercept reported.

They are part of the trove of documents provided by Snowden, who was a contractor with the NSA till 2013, when he flew from the US to Hong Kong and handed over the data to a group of journalists, leading to one of the largest leaks of sensitive American intelligence data.

Titled “New collection access yields ‘spectacular’ intel”, the document states that in October 2004, an NSA site in Australia, named RAINFALL, “had successfully geolocated signals of a suspected Indian nuclear weapons storage facility.” After this, a “Foreign Satellite collection facility” named LEMONWOOD — based in Thailand according to The Intercept — and the Unidentified Signal and Protocol Analysis Branch at NSA “collaborated in isolating these signals” to confirm whether it was related to Indian nuclear weapons.

This led to addition of equipment being deployed at LEMONWOOD to “expand the modest collection”, the report claims. RAINFALL also collaborated with another NSA site in Thailand named INDRA, according to The Intercept.

“Immediately after fielding this equipment, collection of this new network began to provide what is being called ‘spectacular’ activity.” The “exploitation” of this collection, the article claims, revealed information about Sagarika, Dhanush and a pilotless target aircraft projects. Some of the information about this intelligence is redacted in the document published by The Intercept to mask identities. Sagarika, a Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM), and Dhanush, a sea-launched Short-Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM), are part of India’s nuclear triad, making it capable of striking nuclear weapons from the sea.

Sagarika, which has a range of more than 700 km, had been under development since the 1990s and successfully test-fired in 2008, three years after the US NSA had sensitive information about it. It can be launched underwater and fired from the ground, and can carry a payload of 500 kg.

Dhanush was successfully test-fired last year, more than 11 years after the Americans had intelligence about it, and has a range of 350 km and can carry a payload of 500 kg. The purported SIDtoday article also claims that the collection from the new access “has also provided significant intelligence on India’s possession of two different types of airdropped bombs”. One of these bombs, according to the report, was believed to be a “very large Fuel Air Explosive” bomb of an unidentified type. American intelligence agencies believed the other bomb may have been a “new generation of aidropped nuclear weapons”.

After the NSA gained this information, the report says, more resources were deployed to expand the collection “against this high-priority network”.

Another document from March 2005 suggests that Pakistan was a partner of NSA at that point and was a “key in our success in the global war on terrorism”. There is no document that suggests that the intelligence gained on Indian nuclear programme was shared with Pakistan by NSA.

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  1. Noshae Capcorn
    Sep 29, 2017 at 11:45 am
    Quite interesting that Snowden’s whistle is still blowing but this time its about US ‘Natural Partner’ India. Everywhere states are highly concerned about nuclear proliferation and security. Despite efforts, nukes are proliferating in vertical and horizontal manners. It is because of the double standards of major powers. This is what has been revealed by Snowden that US exactly know what India is doing on nuclear front but never stop or even utter a single word against Indian nuclear program. India is putting south Asian on dangerous ebb and US becomes deaf and dumb in order to coin up friendship.
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    1. J
      JM
      Sep 20, 2017 at 12:01 pm
      Stealing is in the DNA of Na Pa kis and your Thief-in-Chief 'dactar' Abdul Qadeer, not Indians.
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      1. D
        Dinkara
        Sep 20, 2017 at 10:32 am
        Oh.....oh. Some incompetent SoB(Son of Brahmin) is due for promotion and he has to justify it to convince his brahmin boss who I turn has to convince his brahmin boss inturn to convince his own brahmin boss. The reason for the article.
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        1. R
          RANA
          Sep 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm
          years of genetic inbreeding has done its job... that's why Brahmins came up with gotra system and look where they are every political party is directly or indirectly headed by Brahmins and they have ruled together since independence. wheras inbreeders need -2 cutoff out of 100 to compete with Brahmins.
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        2. S
          Shal
          Sep 20, 2017 at 9:14 am
          This is absolutely true. But after an initial scan of the data US regreted that it even put any effort to know about those missiles. They came to know that they were the same missiles that Abdul Kalam stole in the 60s. And it was to carry the 1998 DUD thermonuclear device. But this news item can be used to self eulogize the fake capability of India. And that is why Modi gave13000 crores as gift for the diminutive dikked Israeli missile systems called Barak Missile System. More than the defense need the Indic dogs wanted to a p p e a s e Israel DIK.
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            Sunil
            Sep 20, 2017 at 9:26 am
            Shal, stealing is not Indian by nature, it is in your porkistani's DNA to do all this and more. If we had to steal, then it would not take so long to develop things ..... stupid
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            1. J
              J
              Sep 20, 2017 at 9:37 am
              You disgusting porki.....your jehadi nation is dying...rest in peace.
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              1. A
                aravind
                Sep 20, 2017 at 11:13 am
                Stealing and terrorism is professionally managed by your kind....the world'e best in that! nobody can beat! Even the Amercans were too late to know of Osama under Mus chair!
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                1. R
                  RANA
                  Sep 20, 2017 at 12:11 pm
                  your whole islam religion is ripoff from jews and Christians scriptures...adam,eve, Abraham.... . but i bet your jahil maulvis of madarssa won't tell you that. Do yourself and your sister a favour....kill yourself
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                Adda