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Cablegate: State Fails to Notify Consulate of Specific Terrorist Threat

VZCZCXRO0680
RR RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHCG #0398 3430722
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 080722Z DEC 08
FM AMCONSUL CHENNAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2003
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 3424
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEIDN/DNI WASHINGTON DC
RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L CHENNAI 000398

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/08/2018
TAGS: ASEC KISL PGOV PTER IN
SUBJECT: STATE FAILS TO NOTIFY CONSULATE OF SPECIFIC TERRORIST THREAT

Classified by Acting Principal Officer Frederick J. Kaplan for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: Two contacts casually mentioned to us that the government of Tamil Nadu had recently increased security due to a ""specific threat"" against the Consulate. The Consulate received no advance notification of the threat; we only came to know due to the two informal after-the-fact references to the information. This lack of communication is disturbing, especially in light of the fact that the Regional Security Office (RSO) was in close contact with police officials to make security arrangements for a high-profile event being held at a five star hotel in Chennai. We are following up with the authorities to learn more about the threat and to ensure that future threats to the Consulate are communicated to us promptly. End Summary

2. (C) In the late afternoon of December 6, Sylendra Babu, Tamil Nadu Inspector General of Police (Special Task Force), casually mentioned that the state police had increased security at the Consulate due to specific threats the government had received. The discussion came at a chance encounter at a U.S.-sponsored workshop on human trafficking where Babu was making a presentation. Babu said that on December 4 or 5 the state police received a ""specific threat"" of an attack against the Consulate to coincide with the anniversary of the destruction of the Babri mosque. Babu said the police had taken additional precautionary measures, citing the posting of armed officers on the overpass adjacent to the Consulate (known as Gemini flyover) as an example of the security enhancements. He was unwilling to provide further details about the threat. (Note: The anniversary of the Babri mosque incident is considered a likely date for terrorist attacks, which meant local security forces were already at a heightened stage of alert. End note.)

3. (C) On December 8 consulate officers met with Jothi Jagarajan, Secretary - Public and Rehabilitation, Government of Tamil Nadu, to discuss security issues in the wake of the November 26 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Jagarajan's portfolio includes maintenance of law and order and protection of diplomatic facilities. When we explained the purpose of our visit Jagarajan off-handedly mentioned that on December 4 the state government had received a ""specific threat"" against the Consulate. He said it came in the form of ""intercepts"" the government believed originated from the state of Assam.

4. (C) Comment: Our police intelligence interlocutors had previously assured us that they would advise us of any specific threats against the Consulate. Instead, we find ourselves learning about a specific threat that they deemed credible enough to prompt additional precautionary measures after the fact. Worse yet, despite ample opportunities for the police to tell us in our frequent liaison with them in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, we only came to know about the threat in the course of small talk and casual banter. We plan to follow-up with the authorities to learn more about the threat and to ensure that future threats to the Consulate are communicated to us promptly. End comment.

KAPLAN

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