A senior figure at athletics' world governing body was planning to delay naming Russian drug cheats in the run-up to the 2013 World Championships.
The plan is outlined in an email from IAAF deputy general secretary Nick Davies to Papa Massata Diack.
Diack, who worked as an IAAF marketing consultant at the time, is the son of former IAAF president Lamine Diack.
Davies wrote he needed to "sit down" with the anti-doping team to discuss "Russian skeletons in the cupboard".
The Englishman went on to suggest that "we now need to be smart" about releasing names.
The email, which has been obtained by the BBC and contains a "very secret" five-point plan, was sent on 19 July, 22 days before the start of the 2013 World Athletics Championships, which were held in the Russian capital Moscow.
Another suggestion from Davies was that CSM, the sports marketing firm chaired by current IAAF president Lord Coe, then a vice-president, could be hired as part of an "unofficial PR campaign" to deal with negative stories in the British media in the build-up to the championships.
But it is the section on stalling the publication of bad news about Russian doping that will cause the most alarm for an organisation already in crisis.
Davies stressed in the email that any Russians already caught cheating "should NOT" be in the Russian team in Moscow and that this should be made clear to Valentin Balakhnichev, then president of the Russian athletics federation (ARAF) and IAAF treasurer.
"If the guilty ones are not competing, then we might as well wait until the event is over to announce them," continued Davies.
"Or, we announce one or two BUT AT SAME TIME as athletes from other countries.
"Also, we can prepare a special dossier on IAAF testing which will show that one of reasons why these Russian athletes come up positive is that they get tested a lot!!!"