Indian gov't: Pakistan spies tied to Mumbai siege
Pakistan's intelligence agency was deeply involved in planning the 2008 terror attack on Mumbai, going so far as to fund reconnaissance missions to the Indian city, according to a government report on the interrogation of a U.S. citizen convicted in the attack.delhi Updated: Oct 19, 2010 19:20 IST
Pakistan's intelligence agency was deeply involved in planning the 2008 terror attack on Mumbai, going so far as to fund reconnaissance missions to the Indian city, according to a government report on the interrogation of a US citizen convicted in the attack.
The attack, blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group, killed 166 people, paralyzed India's business capital and froze peace efforts between Pakistan and India.
David Headley, who pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to laying the groundwork for the attack, told Indian interrogators in June that officers from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency were deeply intertwined with Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The spy agency provided handlers for all the top members of the group, gave them direction and provided their funding, Headley said, according to the government report on his June interrogation. The report, marked secret, was obtained by The Associated Press late Monday.
"According to Headley, every big action of LeT is done in close coordination with ISI," the report said, using a common abbreviation for Lashkar-e-Taiba.
India has long accused the Pakistan spy service of being involved with, and in some cases directing, terror groups. In July, just weeks after the interrogation, Indian Home Secretary GK Pillai caused a ruckus ahead of high-level India-Pakistan talks when he accused the Pakistani spy agency of orchestrating the Mumbai attacks. Pillai cited Headley as the source of the information. A senior intelligence official in Pakistan, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media on the record, said the allegations were baseless.
U.S. officials have also accused the spy agency of working with the Taliban to coordinate attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan. In 34 hours of interrogation from June 3 to June 9, Headley described for Indian officials a Lashkar-e-Taiba organization that was filled with former Pakistani army officers and veterans from the conflicts with India over Kashmir, the report said. At one Lashkar-e-Taiba training camp, Headley was drilled by a Pakistani army instructor, he said, according to the report. Every major official with the group had a handler from the spy agency, most of them majors, colonels and even a brigadier, he told interrogators, according to the report.
The Indian report describes in detail Headley's involvement with his handler, whom he identified as Maj. Iqbal, throughout the preparations for the Mumbai attacks.