CIA Foreknowledge of the Mumbai Attacks
(911blogger users: please use this post as a continuation of the first Mumbai News Thread. -rep.)
"In mid-September this year, the CIA station chief in Delhi sought an urgent meeting with his counterpart in R&AW to pass on some critical inputs. This was part of an understanding that Indian and American intelligence had institutionalised in the aftermath of 9/11. From its assets in Pakistan and Afghanistan, American intelligence had come to learn that the Lashkar-e-Toiba was planning to launch a major terrorist attack in Mumbai, which would be carried out from the sea."
Later in the article;
"By the middle of November, as Indian intelligence continued to check out further inputs, the pieces of an intricate jigsaw puzzle began to fall into place. Sources say they learnt that the attack would come from the sea and that the Taj Hotel would be a major target. However, it was not known whether this attack would be carried out by planting bombs in the hotel or by terrorists carrying small arms. Indian intelligence assessments were tilting towards bombs being planted and security at the hotel was beefed up accordingly to prevent terrorists from planting bombs inside the premises."
But the Hotel eased these security enhancements the week before the attack, according to the Chairman of the company that owned the Hotel where took the brunt of the attacks;
"The Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India, temporarily increased security after being warned of a possible terrorist attack, the chairman of the company that owns the hotel said Saturday.
But Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata said those measures, which were eased shortly before this week's terror attacks, could not have prevented gunmen from entering the hotel."
So let's get this straight... the CIA and Indian intelligence have figured out that Mumbai will be attacked, and Indian intelligence even nailed down the Hotel, and warned the Hotel... so the Hotel slacked off on security. Of course.
The Outlookindia report does not tell us that the Hotel stood down, and this is not the only troubling aspect of the report. The article parrots information from Indian intelligence about a fishing trawler that the Indian Coast Guard "discovered", that just happens to be rich with damning evidence;
"On November 18, R&AW passed on a specific advisory to the Coast Guard, which serves as the Lead intelligence Agency for the coastal area. The advisory asked the coast guard to intensify patrolling and look out for a suspicious vessel, probably of Pakistani origin, which had sailed off from Karachi. While the coast guard began to patrol the area with renewed intensity, the terrorists had an entirely different plan.
According to details available with Indian intelligence and the information given by the terrorist who was picked up by the Mumbai police in an encounter near Chowpatty, the terrorists hijacked an Indian fishing boat, the Kuber, somewhere near Pakistani waters. They beheaded the majority of the boat's crew of six and only allowed one crew-member, Amarsinh Solanki, to live so that he could help them with navigating the boat to Mumbai. The coast guard found a Global Positioning System abandoned on the fishing trawler that was drifting nearly four nautical miles off the coast of Mumbai early on Thursday, November 27 morning, several hours after the terrorist attack began...
...What has surprised investigators piecing together the details of the attack is that the GPS recovered from the abandoned trawler, Kuber, had two maps fed into it to aid navigation. One was a route from Karachi that was plotted quite close to the Indian coast, while a return route had also been mapped into the GPS from the Mumbai coast back to Karachi. "We think this was done to give the terrorists some semblance of hope that they would go back home after a successful raid," a top security official told Outlook. The fact that these two maps were fed into the GPS has confirmed that there was some help from people with a naval or army background, and had extensive knowledge of navigation at sea.
...Meanwhile, investigators are poring through the call data details downloaded from the satellite phone also recovered from the abandoned trawler. Many of the call details have revealed numbers that have been traced back to the LeT's (Lashkar-e-Toiba) chief of operations, Muzamil, as well as to Lakhvi. Interestingly, the international SIM cards recovered from the bodies of the killed terrorists correspond to the intelligence picked up earlier, when Muzamil had asked his Bangladesh operative Yayah, to procure them.
How convenient. The gunmen left behind brutally damning evidence just to erase any lingering doubts that anyone might have had about the origins of this attack.
This reminds me of the luggage allegedly+left+behind+in+Boston,+on+9/11+by+Mohamed+Atta;
"Former federal terrorism investigators say a piece of luggage hastily checked in at the Portland, Maine, airport by a World Trade Center hijacker on the morning of Sept. 11 provided the Rosetta stone enabling FBI agents to swiftly unravel the mystery of who carried out the suicide attacks and what motivated them.
A mix-up in Boston prevented the luggage from connecting with the plane that hijackers crashed into the north tower of the trade center. Seized by FBI agents at Boston's Logan Airport, investigators said, it contained Arab-language papers revealing the identities of all 19 hijackers involved in the four hijackings, as well as information on their plans, backgrounds and motives."
It also reminds me of the evidence bundle conveniently dropped in Memphis that was used to set up (and convict) James Earl Ray of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.;
"On April 4, 1968, within minutes after the shooting of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a local police officer discovered a Remington 30-06 rifle, several unused bullets, and other effects that belonged to James Earl Ray, wrapped inside a blanket, outside Canipe's Amusement store. The owner of the store recalled someone dropping the package at his door before the time of the assassination."
The over-eager evidence-droppers in this case jumped the gun. Like Atta's luggage, and Ray's self-damning evidence bundle, there is something about that fishing trawler that is just too good to be true. The fact that the article uses intelligence sources so uncritically is in itself questionable.
"Were the ISI to have been involved in a major covert operation directed against India, the CIA would have prior knowledge regarding the precise nature and timing of the operation.The ISI does not act without the consent of its US intelligence counterpart."
We know now that the CIA did indeed have "prior knowledge", derived from its own "assets", at least according to the spin from Outlookindia.com.