KUALA LUMPUR - The former chief of Malaysia's espionage agency, Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid (pic), has come out in defence of her letter to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), saying it is not an act of treason.
Her lawyer Datuk Shaharudin Ali, when asked by journalists about who might be responsible for leaking the letter, merely replied: "My client has given some instructions to me on this matter and I believe she will confer with the investigating officer in the next few days."
In a media statement released yesterday by Shaharudin, Hasanah urged the police to investigate the culprits responsible for the leak.
She said it was routine for Malaysian intelligence agency directors to exchange views and strengthen ties and trust, including with the CIA.
She added that following the leak, various arguments had surfaced claiming that the letter contained elements of potential treason, among other allegations.
"These views are wrong and ill-intentioned in order to satisfy the political desires of certain quarters," Hasanah said.
She was not present at the media conference held at Shaharudin's office here.
Shaharudin said Hasanah, who is the former head of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (Meio), had lodged a report earlier yesterday on the leak, which he said fell under the Official Secrets Act.
Hasanah said the letter had been analysed and studied by at least 10 senior Meio officers and that the findings were also based on information received by various Meio sources.
She said the leak had destroyed the trust foreign intelligence agencies had in Meio and jeopardised ties between the spy agency and its foreign counterparts.
"The morale of Meio officers and agents has also been affected by the leak.
"If this could happen so easily, sources will cease (to work with Meio) and the trust in the sanctity of confidential information held by Meio will erode.
"This will weaken national security," Hasanah said in her statement.
Shaharudin was also asked if he knew whether Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was notified about the letter before it was sent.
He said he was informed that while policy matters involving Meio must be made known to the prime minister and Cabinet, letters between intelligence agency heads exchanging views were part of routine operational matters, some of which did not require the prime minister or Cabinet to be informed in advance.