Monumental intel failure behind India’s 9/11!
Gross and collective intelligence failures on the part of India, UK and the US led to the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, according to an exhaustive report by The New York Times, ProPublica and the PBS series Frontline titled ‘In 2008 Mumbai Killings, Piles of Spy Data, but an Uncompleted Puzzle.’ This debilitating report itself is a byproduct of sifting through piles of classified US government documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.
It is being dubbed as one of the “most devastating near-misses in the history of spycraft” wherein the combined might of American, British and Indian espionage agencies fell flat and could not decipher the hidden meanings in the assembled data despite high-tech intelligence gathering and surveillance devices at their beck and call.
According to the report, although Indian and British intel agencies were scanning digital activities of key 26/11 co-conspirator Zarrar Shah, who looked after the technological aspects of Lashkar-e-Taiba’s terror plans, they failed to put the disparate strands together. As a result, 166 people, including six US citizens, lost their lives in the worst terror attacks on Indian soil in recent years.
The damning report further states that Shah, who “roamed from outposts in the northern mountains to safe houses near the Arabian Sea, plotting mayhem in Mumbai,” had been the target of online governmental espionage from India and UK. Strangely enough, it seems, the report says, that even though the US agencies were unaware of the joint efforts by New Delhi and London, they had alerted the Indian side of a possible terror attack on Mumbai a number of times before it actually took place.
Former National Security Advisor Shavshankar Menon has candidly admitted that “no one put together the whole picture”, even though there were inputs from Washington on David Coleman Headley, the alleged mastermind of the terror strike, who was arrested in Chicago in 2009. CIA warnings notwithstanding, New Delhi and London could not secure the coastal borders on India’s west that let in the dreaded LeT gunmen who left one of the deepest scars on the Indian mind.