Serious Breach of National Security

Published On: February 15, 2023 08:10 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

The recent revelation by Republica that the daily reports sent by the National Investigation Department (NID) to the Prime Minister are being opened and read by unrelated persons exposes a serious breach of national security. The fact that highly confidential information meant only for the eyes of the Prime Minister is being leaked by the people in the prime minister's personal secretariat is unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest terms.

The daily reports of the NID contain important issues and information that are of national importance and should be seen only by the Prime Minister who is the country’s chief executive. The implementation of that report should be directed by the prime minister through the chief secretary to the relevant ministries and offices. The fact that people who have gone to political appointments other than the government employees in the Prime Minister's Office have started accessing the classified information is a grave concern.

The NID was brought under the Prime Minister's Office more than five years ago in 2074 BS (2017) when CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli was the prime minister. Since then, all the information of the NID reaches the Prime Minister's desk. Before that, the prime minister had to ask the Ministry of Home Affairs for the report, and the chief secretary would take it for implementation after the prime minister saw it. The fact that the people in Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s personal secretariat are reading the reports instead of PM Dahal is also a violation of protocol.

There is not a shred of doubt that it is a serious crime from the point of view of national security if someone else opens and reads the report that should be received by the prime minister. Some information is strictly confidential, and it should be implemented in secret. Therefore, it cannot be seen and read by anyone other than the prime minister, before it gets implemented. The leaking of highly confidential information could have serious consequences for the country. The NID’s reports contain information about national security, the activities of various ministries and offices, and the 'surveillance' of various individuals. In recent times, apart from national security, the NID has also been assisting the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) in investigating corruption cases. If such information is leaked, the government's activities could be affected in more respects than one.

The NID's daily reports are traditionally opened and read only by the Prime Minister or the Chief Executive around the world. Intelligence reports are formal and reliable and should be implemented immediately. Since the reporting format is also different, some reports will be 'confirmed' and some reports will be mentioned as 'serious doubts', so only the executive head of the government can see them. In this way, the security officials claim that if a report or a report addressed to the executive head is opened, viewed, read and leaked by an irrelevant person, it is a huge crime.

A former head of the NID who spoke to Republica rightly pointed out that intelligence reports should be opened only by the executive head of the country, viewed and implemented through the chief secretary, which is very secret. Departmental ministers and relevant offices mentioned in the information should go to the implementation level without knowing where the information came from. If an unrelated person gets the information and the information is leaked, it creates a situation where illegal activities can be facilitated. That's why such reports should be confidential.

The leaking of highly confidential information that is meant only for the eyes of the prime minister is a serious breach of national security. It is unacceptable that unrelated persons are opening and reading the reports that are of national importance. The government must take immediate action to ensure that such incidents do not happen again in the future. It is in the interest of the country that the reports are kept confidential and only seen by the prime minister or the chief executive. The leaking of such information could have serious consequences for the country. Therefore, this serious breach of national security must be prevented at all costs.

It’s unclear if the prime minister is aware of this serious breach of national security. Anyway, the situation necessitates his utmost attention to ensure the seals of the confidential envelopes he receives from the NID remain unbroken upon receipt.

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