Indian gov't: Pakistan spies tied to Mumbai siege

NEW DELHI – An American convicted in the 2008 Mumbai attacks said Pakistan's main spy agency was deeply involved in planning that strike, monitoring the preparations and providing funding and advice to the attackers, according to an Indian government summary of his interrogation.

The report gives the strongest indication of the involvement of Pakistani authorities in the attack, which killed 166 people, paralyzed India's business capital and froze peace efforts between Pakistan and India.

Under questioning by Indian officials, David Headley painted a detailed picture of how intertwined Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency was with the Lashkar-e-Taiba group accused of carrying out the attack, according to the report.

Headley, 50, from Chicago, was born Daood Gilani to a Pakistani father and an American mother. In March, he pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to laying the groundwork for the Mumbai attack as well as preparing for an attack in Denmark.

According to the report, Headley said the Pakistani spy agency provided individual handlers — many of them senior officers — for all the top members of Lashkar and gave them direction and money to carry out their reconnaissance of prospective targets.

The group's chief military commander, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, was close to the director general of the spy agency, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the report said.

"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.

A senior intelligence official in Pakistan said the allegations in the Indian report were baseless. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media on the record.

"These are allegations we've heard before," U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters in Washington. "We believe the government of Pakistan has pledged its cooperation in bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice. And we fully expect that these pledges of cooperation are going to be carried out."

"Pakistan itself has been, obviously, greatly touched by extremist violence, and it is also in an existential struggle with these groups. So we believe Pakistan understands the threat and is committed to working cooperatively," Toner said.

ISI has long been suspected of links to terror groups. The spy agency is believed to have nurtured Lashkar to attack Indian security forces in disputed Kashmir. U.S. officials have accused ISI of working with the Taliban to coordinate attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.

In July, Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai caused a ruckus ahead of high-level India-Pakistan talks when he accused the spy agency of orchestrating the Mumbai attacks. Pillai cited Headley as the source of the information.

According to the report on the interrogation, which was marked secret and obtained by The Associated Press late Monday, Headley said the spy agency was having problems with militant groups in Pakistan, because fighters based in Kashmir were beginning to join Taliban groups fighting along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Launching a huge attack on India would prevent further defections from these groups by raising their morale and would move the "theater of violence" from Pakistan to India, the report said.

In Chicago where he is being held, Headley spoke to Indian investigators for 34 hours in June about the planning behind the 60-hour siege attack by 10 Pakistani militants of two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a busy train station.

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 camp, Headley was trained 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 and colonels. Lakhvi's handler was known as Brig. Riyaz, he told interrogators, according to the report.

Headley met repeatedly with his own handler, whom he identified as Maj. Iqbal, during the preparations for the Mumbai attacks.

Iqbal first called Headley in March 2006, and the two of them met, along with Iqbal's superior, Lt. Col. Hamza, for more than two hours, according to the interrogation report. Hamza assigned Iqbal to be Headley's handler and assured him of financial backing.

Iqbal assigned Headley a trainer to drill him in intelligence basics, including how to cultivate sources and take cover, the report said.

Before Headley's first scouting trip to India in September 2006, Iqbal gave him $25,000. He later gave him a camera phone and showed him how to take surveillance videos, the report said.

Headley met with Iqbal in Pakistan after each of his nine trips to India, debriefed him and gave him copies of the photos and videos he took of potential Indian targets, the report said.

Iqbal gave Headley suggestions on how the Mumbai attackers could best reach the city by sea, and asked Headley to conduct some surveillance for him of an atomic research center in Mumbai and of locations in the city of Pune, the report said. They also discussed a plan to attack a Danish newspaper over cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

On at least one occasion, Iqbal gave Headley counterfeit Indian currency to try to use on his trips, the report said. That accusation would irk India, which has grown increasingly worried about Pakistani smugglers bringing fake currency into India via neighboring Nepal.

In return for the cooperation, Iqbal helped Headley after he was taken into custody by police in the Pakistani city of Lahore on a complaint from one of his wives, the report said.

The two continued to meet even after the attack, but with pressure mounting on Pakistan to take action against the accused, Iqbal told Headley they had to cut off contact in 2009, the report said.

Earlier this month, Interpol alerted its members that India had filed an arrest warrant for Maj. Iqbal.

Over the weekend, U.S. officials said that two of Headley's wives had raised concerns with U.S. authorities about their husband's possible links to terrorism before the Mumbai attacks.

Headley was born in the United States but spent most of his childhood in Pakistan, moving back to America as a teenager to be with his mother after his parents divorced. At one point he ran his mother's bar in Philadelphia and also a video store in New York. He joined Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2001 after hearing a lecture by the group's leader, Hafeez Saeed, on the need for holy war.

In 2006, he changed his name to David Headley — anglicizing his first name and adopting his mother's maiden name — because he felt that would help him cross international boundaries easier.

Under a deal with prosecutors in the United States, Headley will not face execution if he continues to cooperate with their terrorism investigation. He could face up to life in prison and a $3 million fine when he's sentenced. As part of the plea bargain, the U.S. government agreed not to extradite him to India, Pakistan or Denmark for the charges for which he has admitted guilt.

___

Associated Press Writer Nahal Toosi in Islamabad and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

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336 Comments

  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    rex r 10 hours ago Report Abuse
    Muslims, please start by rejecting all that calls for violence, hate and bigotry from your Quran and call it new Islam or Sufism. Else you will be the cause for third world war with this time Allies making the concentration camps for you.
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    Abu Waleed 14 hours ago Report Abuse
    Read through my posts so you can see the facts behind the lies!
  • 1 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    Abu Waleed 21 hours ago Report Abuse
    Ahsan! Please don't insult the intelligence of the international community by trying to bring Israel in order to divert our intention from muslim terrorists esp. Pukeistanies
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 3 users disliked this comment
    Arslan Qureshi 22 hours ago Report Abuse
    indians n Pakis are not terrorists actuall terrorists are Israeli's, because they are in a range of Pakistani nukes and pakistani nukes are way too stronger than in rest of Asia except china.. pakistani Nukes r way better than indians!!
    One pakistani missile has a range of abt 3500 kms, and can easily travel to Israel, thats the main reason americans are doing it in Pakistan!
  • 2 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    Abu Waleed 22 hours ago Report Abuse
    Ahhhh! There is so much to say about Pakistan but where to start with the Pakis? They are the true epitome of a 2 face enemy disguised as a friend? I’ve lived there on contract with state department (Embassy). The same hospitable shopkeepers that offer you drinks in their shops (they know Americans have got the money) will be carrying “DEATH TO AMERICA” play cards in a rally next day (newspaper photo) and then the next time you go to the shop they ask you to sponsor them for their visa to USA or help them get a job AT the US Embassy. They are true beggars who curse you behind your back! This individual behavior of Pakis translates well onto their national level – They help North Korea with their nuclear program and then blame it on one guy (top nuclear guy Abdul Qadeer Khan) and then the president Musharaf pardons him and says sorry to USA. .

    It’s the Pakis preventing us from winning the war in Afghanistan – they want to get rich of this war. O! They secretly support Taliban while playing friends to USA. They only kill the Taliban who turn against them- HECK! They even break deals with them like “Hey if you stop killings on our soil then we will help you kill American soldiers on your soil”. Pakistan has enough money for the huge Army and from its gold, coal and salt mines yet it keeps that money for Army and politicians to get fat on otherwise if they shared that with their public then who would believe their begging. Some US officials have fallen for the Paki 2 faced tactics hence are very fond of the Pakis! All I can say is if you want to find out the true face of Pakis or the country then as a white man learn the local language and then hang out with them without letting them know that you know the language. You’d be surprised what they say in their language right in front of you, about you and America - but in English it’s all “yes sir! I love America “sahib” (i.e. sir)”! Specially the Embassy local staff and servants of the diplomats – I can’t tell you how much I found out about them by not letting them know I knew their language! USA should only allow minorities from all Muslim countries like Porkistan to enter USA they deserve to get out the segregation + persecution. How great is a country in treating non-Muslims if the country’s Ministry for Religious Affairs has this written on its plaques “Islam is the only religion acceptable to Allah”. They are the true 2faced sum of the earth! The Pakis truly deserve their leaders and the pathetic state of their country well maybe except for their minorities - they are so segregated and violently persecuted that they see death in a sectarian terrorist attack as a blessing to get them out of their misery! I even came across Muslims so fed up that they want the whole country to just cease to exist! Pukeistan truly is the armpit of the earth and it has nothing to do with poverty or literacy - it’s all just pure HATE (for each other and for others).

    ALL OF THE ABOVE CAN EASILY BE APPLIED TO ALL MUSLIM COUNTRIES - They are all the same Pakis just are the current Champions!
  • 4 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    sanjay chow Wed Oct 20, 2010 02:15 am PDT Report Abuse
    Hey Paki's ......just curious ??

    Q : Do the Bombers just work for their 72 Virgins ???
    A : Yes ...this is the OFFICIAL currency in Porkistan !!!

    Wow !!!! :-)
  • 1 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    J. V. DZUGASHVILI Wed Oct 20, 2010 01:21 am PDT Report Abuse
    headley identified his ISI contact as maj. ick ball , interpol has issued an arrest warrant.. hey interpol what do you think are the chances that maj ick ball is an alias ??
  • 1 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 4 users disliked this comment
    American Bastered Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:55 am PDT Report Abuse
    Sory for Abusing..
    the reason of mine rough discourse is only your ghastly messages that have been posted by all of you..

    World is going toward World War 3 and will face it soon whether you accept it or not.. and this is only because of the policy makers and think tanks of three countries i would say and truth you will find.. these contries are USA, Israil and India..
    they should deeply think about it and try to resolve the matters by table talk or other peace means rather destruction what they are imposing in Iraq, Palstin and Kashmir.. and war is not a solution but devastaion of human beings no religion is allowed terror but defence is another thing..if you try to invade any country you like and chalenge their soveigny so who whould stay calm and see their demolition actully no one.. the most week or coward nations even react at their apt scales so when they react YOU CALL IT TERRORISM NOT ITS NOT but defence
    believe me muslims are not as bad as their images are shown on biasd media of above mentioned countries,
  • 6 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    James F Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:45 am PDT Report Abuse
    Any Idiot knows the Pakistani's were behind that Murder. India should have Sent them all to allah and the 72 Virgins
  • 2 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 5 users disliked this comment
    American Bastered Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:13 am PDT Report Abuse
    I proud to be paki by the grace of God

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