The lead conspirators were alleged to be Shah, another LeT chief Sajid Mir and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, reported Pro Publica, which conducted the investigation along with the Times. Shah, the technology chief of the Pakistani terrorist group, and fellow conspirators used Google Earth to show terrorists the routes to their targets in the city, it said.
Videos, maps and reconnaissance reports had been supplied to Mir by David Coleman Headley, the Pakistani-American who scouted targets.
“(Ajmal) Kasab was trained to locate everything in Mumbai before he went,” said Deven Bharti, a Mumbai police official who investigated the attacks, said.
“He (Shah) set up an internet phone system to disguise his location by routing his calls through New Jersey,” the Times report said. “Shortly before (the) assault (on Mumbai) that would kill 166 people, including six Americans, Shah searched online for a Jewish hostel and two luxury hotels, all sites of the eventual carnage,” the Times report said.
Agencies But he did not know that by September the British were spying on many of his online activities, tracking his internet searches and messages, according to former American and Indian officials and classified documents from former American security contractor Edward J. Snowden. Shah also drew similar scrutiny from an Indian intelligence agency, according to a former official briefed on the operation, the Times said.
“The US was unaware of the two agencies’ efforts, American officials say, but had picked up signs of a plot through other electronic and human sources, and warned Indian security officials several times in the months before the attack,” it said. The Times said: “What happened next may rank among the most devastating near-misses in the history of spycraft.
“The intelligence agencies of the three nations did not pull together all the strands gathered by their high-tech surveillance and other tools, which might have allowed them to disrupt a terror strike so scarring that it is often called India’s 9/11.”
The reason: No one fully grasped the developing Mumbai conspiracy. “They either weren’t looking or didn’t understand what it all meant,” said one former American official who had access to the intelligence and would speak only on the condition of anonymity. “There was a lot more noise than signal. There usually is.”
The daily quoted India’s former national security advisor Shivshankar Menon as saying: “No one put together the whole picture. Not the Americans, not the Brits, not the Indians.”
Menon added that only after the shooting started in Mumbai in November 2008 that everyone shared what they had, largely in meetings between British and Indian officials, and then “the picture instantly came into focus”. (IANS)