Intelligence inputs were provided at different times to different agencies by different agencies, which, in hindsight, added up to a remarkably clear picture of the Mumbai attack. Even the Taj Group was alerted to the possibility.
The problem, however, is that given the quantity of alerts being generated daily by multiple agencies, state police officials are never quite sure how long an alert is to be kept alive.
Inputs travelled back and forth between the Intelligence Bureau, the R&AW, Military Intelligence, Signals Intelligence, the Coast Guard, the Maharashtra State Police and other agencies. As and when found necessary, civilian units like private firms, or hotels were given information.
For example, some time in August, the IB told the Taj Group to be careful about an attack on the hotel. It did not specify that it may come from the sea, but said it could be around September 11, and foreigners could be prime targets, sources said.
The Taj Group took measures to fortify the hotel but the attack did not take place around September 11 and subsequently everyone forgot about it.
A confirmation of this came when Tata group chief Ratan Tata told US journalist Fareed Zakaria that he knew of the threat.
Taj Mahal Hotel had been warned about possible strikes by terrorists, Tata said, but the ritzy hotel may have left several loopholes despite scaling up security.
“It’s ironic. We did have such a warning and we did have some measures,” Tata told Zakaria for a soon-to-be-aired CNN interview.
He said there was a “sniffer dog with a handler” and a “metal detector” at the porch entrance, where cars would pull up.
Tata’s comments suggest that other entrances were left unguarded, particularly the rear exit from where the terrorists came.
Tata said nothing could have prevented the siege. “They came from somewhere in the back. They planned everything. They killed a sniffer dog and his handler. They went through the kitchen, they knew what they were doing.”