Former Malaysia intelligence chief lodges police report over leaked letter to CIA

Former Malaysia intelligence chief lodges police report over leaked letter to CIA

Hasanah Abdul Hamid's lawyer
Shaharudin Ali, lawyer of Hasanah Abdul Hamid, former head of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation, told reporters on Tuesday (Jul 31) a police report was lodged over a letter she wrote to the  US Central Intelligence Agency. (Photo: Melissa Goh) 

KUALA LUMPUR: The former director-general of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) Hasanah Abdul Hamid on Tuesday (Jul 31) lodged a police report over a letter she wrote to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which she said should not have been leaked.

Hasanah said the contents of the letter were "nothing unusual" and it was not a letter that could be described as a form of treason because the mandate of the MEIO is to protect national security.

She added that the contents of the letter were intelligence secrets which fall under the Official Secrets Act.

Her lawyer urged police to investigate who leaked the letter, which was "highly classified" and examined by 10 senior officers before it was sent.

“The action of the irresponsible group had destroyed the confidence of foreign intelligence agencies on the MEIO and Malaysia’s ties with the foreign countries.

“If such leaks happened at random then important resources would be depleted and the confidence on the strength of confidentiality held by the MEIO will evaporate,” she said in a statement issued through her lawyer shortly after a police report was lodged on Tuesday.

The letter addressed to CIA Director Gina Haspel was dated May 4, a week before Malaysia's 14th General Election. 

In the letter, Hasanah had asked the United States government to support former Malaysia prime minister Najib Razak’s administration if the Barisan Nasional were to win the election held on May 9, even with a simple majority or with a majority of only one seat.

The letter also described Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as "anti-West, anti-Semite” and "autocratic".

Najib has said he did not know of the letter. Shaharudin said on Tuesday that the then-prime minister did not need to know about the letter as it was a "routine operational matter". 

The MEIO is a covert intelligence agency set up in the 1960s and is known officially as the Research Division under the Prime Minister's Office, The Star said, citing Shaharudin.

Source: Bernama/CNA/hm