Busted newspapers are a common sight in the Middle East, but how did the US and Israel get busted by them?
India’s leading daily newspaper, The Times of India, was raided by the Indian intelligence agency in late June, according to reports in India and the US.
The newspaper, which has been in print since 1931, had its print run cut in half by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.
The Times of Indian has been a regular target of Indian intelligence agencies, but its publication has always remained largely unknown to the public, and it has never had to face a raid.
According to reports, a senior official from the US National Security Agency (NSA) spoke to India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in May, warning her that US authorities had intercepted the newspaper’s phone and email traffic and had intercepted its phone call data.
Swaraj and NSA officials, according a report by The Washington Post, also discussed the possibility of the newspaper being “masked”, which would allow the NSA to intercept communications between the newspaper and other sources.
India’s foreign secretary, S. Jaishankar, said in a statement that the newspaper had been targeted because of its “firm commitment to freedom of expression and freedom of the press” and was “actively engaged in countering the activities of foreign intelligence agencies.”
The Times’ publisher, V. S. Kulkarni, told Reuters the newspaper was cooperating with the investigation, but did not have any further comment.
The Intercept’s Sam Webb, who reported from Delhi for the Intercept in June, said he believed the newspaper could face prosecution in the US for violating laws against spying.
The US is also alleged to have used an Indian government computer network to hack into a rival newspaper’s website in April, an action that led to the resignation of the editor of the country’s largest newspaper, the Hindustan Times.
Indian media reports suggest that the Indian government has been attempting to target journalists in recent months, particularly those who have expressed support for the countrys opposition to India joining the US-led nuclear deal with Iran.
The Indian government recently banned several foreign publications from using the hashtag #FreeNarendraModi, which is used to highlight the government’s opposition to Modi.
The ban was later lifted, but India’s media regulator has reportedly ordered a review of its policies against freedom of information.
According the Intercept, Indian officials have also reportedly used their control over internet surveillance to monitor news content in the country, and have been seeking to prosecute news outlets for allegedly leaking classified information.
Reuters contributed to this report.