WASHINGTON (TIP): The emails range from the mundane to the mysterious to the methodical.
A large tranche of Hillary Clinton’s emails released by the State Department on Tuesday in response to a Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit shows the inner workings of the U.S government — from extended debates over policy to personal touches. There are several references to India and the subcontinent in the 3000 pages released so far – which is only a small part of the 55,000 pages that has to be released by the end of the year – and they don’t always show the state department in a flattering light.
For instance, soon after the UPA’s government returning to power in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, Clinton aide Huma Abedin, also known as her constant shadow and ”body woman,” alerts the then Secretary of State about the appointment of
S.M.Krishna as India’s External Affairs Minister. ”What do we know about him?” Clinton asks in a reply email. ”Long time politico, was close to rajiv ghandi. III send his bio to oscar to print for you,” Abedin responds.
Abedin, who was born in Michigan to mixed Indian-Pakistani parents (father from India; mother from Pakistan), is unable to nail the Gandhi spelling notwithstanding her sub-continental heritage and a degree from George Washington University. She later flags for Hillary Clinton’s attention possible calls to India following the election results.
”On election calls, SCA is recommending calls to Congress Party head Sonia Ghandi, outgoing FM Mukherjee, and incoming FM Krishna. We also have a call sheet for Prime Minister Singh in case you want to call. Please let me know if u want to do these calls tomorrow,” she writes. SCA stands for South Central Asia, the State Department bureau that deals with India.
Pakistan too figures in some of the emails, coming across as a major worry for U.S planners on account of its chronic instability due to its support for terror groups.
In fact, in one exchange, a long term strategy group that conducts simulations for U.S agencies on geo-political scenarios writes to Clinton outlining a possibility Pakistan breaking up. It proposed exploring ”The impact of a potential end of effective central government in Pakistan that leaves a Punjab state co-existing with a Baluch/Sindh state and an Afghanistan that expands to control the border regions now part of Pakistan.”
In a more elaborate note, former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger also writes to Clinton suggesting that the U.S target Pakistani military leaders who give support to Al Qaeda and its allies. No one even questions the premise that Pakistan is supporting terror groups.
”Assuming we have adequate intelligence, we can go after bank accounts, travel and other reachable assets of individual Pakistani officers, raising the stakes for those supporting the militants without creating an inordinate backlash,” Berger writes in an October 4, 2009 e-mail to Hillary Clinton.
”Thanks, Sandy. This is very helpful,” Clinton responds, without saying whether she intends to accept the suggestion.
On a lighter note, the emails also show Hillary Clinton is clueless about operating a fax machine and has to be walked though how to receive a fax by her aide Huma Abedin.