So we talked to people who served there, we talked to
diplomats, we talked to people in Western intelligence, to
Lashkar-e-Tayiba, to people in the ISI, to former and serving officers in the Pakistan military, and we talked on the
Indian side to people in the intelligence
community in India — serving and
retired. People who worked on the case
And, lots of varying analysis comes to
play afterwards because at the time of
the event there is chaos, to be frank.
And one of the strongest things you
take from here is that a deal was
formed and in that deal, the bargain in
essence was that America concealed its
knowledge, its true knowledge of the
growing risk on Mumbai.
It never revealed where the information was coming from. It never expressly explained that it knew how the plot
But at the same time it passed information to its partners in the
Intelligence Bureau and R&AW
(Research and Analysis Wing, India’s
external intelligence agency) in the
form of bulletins and schedules, and
these bulletins consisted of very precise
information from 2006 onwards.
As the plot became more fixed, for
example, Bombay was decided on as
the target almost straightaway to be
attacked. That information is fed in
But also really very quickly it was
decided that a marine assault would be
done. So that information was passed
In which year?
In 2006 and 2007, that there will be an attack by the
sea and it will come in the form of a fidayeen (suicide)
unit, exactly the same method as used in Kashmir. A kind
of ‘swarm attack,’ as they call it in intelligence, where men
will land, there will be multiple targets, it will create the
illusion of the city burning, but the team will be small
and they will choose the sea as the route is unprotected.
So that was identified.
Now people will tell you, and the police say all the time,
that we never knew about the sea, we could never have
guessed — they knew. They knew it was the sea; they
knew it was Bombay.
This is the first couple of pieces they were given to act
upon. At the same time no one knew about Headley. On
the Indian side they were never told.
They didn’t know. America concealed
the information about him.
And it will become the opinion,
later in 2009, of the intelligence services here that America sacrificed
Mumbai, in a sense, to keep Headley
playing and you may ask why would
an ally of India do that?
But phone intercepts and e-mail
intercepts maintained by the
Americans show that David Headley,
when he finally became acceptable to
an element of Lashkar, the faction
that he befriended was the faction
moving to Al Qaeda.
It was the faction that was sick and
tired of the old ways of Le T. And
instead they were following — do you
remember Ilyas Kashmiri of the 313
So Ilyas Kashmiri was Le T and then
he moved up into FATA (Federally
Administered Tribal Areas of
Waziristan as an affiliate of Al Qaeda with
his own 313 Brigade and they attacked
Musharraf continually, they set up bombs
in Rawalpindi, they became the most
vicious insurgents against the Pakistan
establishment, and the story is that
Kashmiri was once part of the army special
forces in Pakistan although this is not clear
by any means.
But Headley was enamored with Ilyas
Kashmiri and as soon as it became clear
through the very open e-mail conversation
that they were getting near to each other.
What America could figure out is that
this finally was an American with an
American passport operating in Pakistan
who had access to Al Qaeda.
Now the prime objective of that time was
the capture of bin Laden. This is three
years before Abbottabad, the only thing
that the intelligence agencies were thinking
about was how do they decapitate him,
how do they cut the head off of Al Qaeda
and here was this tantalizing, untrustworthy, difficult, hard to control, psychopathic
individual, who was American.
I think undoubtedly, what you can see is
America’s desire — not all of America, but
the desire within certain elements of the
Leave him in play, leave him in the field. So they fed
tidbits to their friends in the intelligence community in
India. They said here is a bulletin. You should know that
the tidbits they believed gave a fairly clear picture. But
the reality is completely different.
On the other side, in India, they never really appreciat-
ed how significant the intelligence was. I know that there
was a showdown in 2009, very senior people and the
They made that allegation, using those words. And the
response from America was that
you were incompetent. We gave
you tidbits, we built the picture.
It is shameful on both sides
because the narrow self-interest of
America meant that they never
explained the context for the intelligence, they never really pushed it
and foregrounded it. The same
argument applies to Western
agencies, who also picked up
details, and on the Indian side. By
2008, they had been given a colossal amount of information.
They knew how many men
would be in the team, they knew it
would about 10. They knew the
method of landing, by dinghy, they
didn’t know where. They knew
Mumbai was the target, they knew
roughly the methodology — RDX
‘WHAT THE LASHKAR DOES IS TO REMOVE THE
‘AMERICA CONCEALED ITS KNOWLEDGE, ITS TRUE
NEED FOR EVERYTHING OUTSIDE THE
LASHKAR. SO IF YOU WERE FROM
A FRACTURED FAMILY AND YOU GET
SWEPT INTO THE ORGANIZATION,
THEY SLOWLY CHIP AWAY AT THE BONDS
SO THAT YOUR FAMILY IS THE LET.’
KNOWLEDGE OF THE GROWING RISK ON MUMBAI’
Commandos drop down from a military
helicopter onto the roof of Chabad House,
Mumbai, November 28, 2008.
National Security Guard commandos outside
Chabad House, November 27, 2008.
SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/GET TY IMAGES