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India Surprised by Bombay Attacks?


Arun Shourie, writing in the Indian Express, has the goods:

Our coastal areas are coming under increased threat from terrorist groups, which have decided to use the sea route to infiltrate into India. They also plan to induct arms and ammunition through the sea routes” — that is Shivraj Patil addressing the directors general and inspectors general of police in November 2006. “We understand they (the terrorists) have been collecting information regarding location of various refineries on or near the Indian coastline… Some Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives are also being trained specifically for sabotage of Oil installations. There are plans to occupy some uninhabited islands off the country’s coastline to use them as bases for launching operations on the Indian coast…”

That was the ever-alert home minister in November 2006.

… on November 22, 2008, that is literally on the eve of the attacks in Mumbai, he told the police chiefs, “To control terrorism in the hinterland, we have to see that infiltration of terrorists from other countries does not take place through the sea routes and through the borders between India and friendly countries. The coastlines also have to be guarded through Navy, Coast Guard and coastal police. The states’ special branches and the CID should identify the persons forming part of the sleeper cells and lodging in cities and towns and studying in educational institutions and working in industries and professions…”

And four days later, the terrorists, using the exact same sea route, do the exact same thing that these worthies have been warning others about. Are they consultants to Government or ones running the government? Is their job to issue warnings to others or to see that the warnings are acted upon? Warning given, the job is done. But that is the fate of warnings in this system. After all, that very sea route was used to smuggle explosives for the blasts across Bombay in 1993. Were those blasts not warning enough?

Sound familiar? Perhaps this from Richard Miniter rings a bell:

One of the big myths about the Clinton years is that no one knew about bin Laden until Sept. 11, 2001. In fact, the bin Laden threat was recognized at the highest levels of the Clinton administration as early as 1993. What’s more, bin Laden’s attacks kept escalating throughout the Clinton administration; all told bin Laden was responsible for the deaths of 59 Americans on Clinton’s watch.

President Clinton learned about bin Laden within months of being sworn into office. National Security Advisor Anthony Lake told me that he first heard the name Osama bin Laden in 1993 in relation to the World Trade Center attack. Lake briefed the president about bin Laden that same year.

In addition, starting in 1993, Rep. Bill McCollum (R., Fla.) repeatedly wrote to President Clinton and warned him and other administration officials about bin Laden and other Islamic terrorists. McCollum was the founder and chairman of the House Taskforce on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare and had developed a wealth of contacts among the mujihedeen in Afghanistan. Those sources, who regularly visited McCollum, informed him about bin Laden’s training camps and evil ambitions.

Indeed, it is possible that Clinton and his national-security team learned of bin Laden even before the 1993 World Trade Center attack. My interviews and investigation revealed that bin Laden made his first attack on Americans was December 1992, a little more than a month after Clinton won the 1992 election. His target was 100 U.S. Marines housed in two towering Yemen hotels. Within hours, the CIA’s counterterrorism center learned that the Yemen suspected a man named Osama bin Laden. (One of the arrested bombing suspects later escaped and was detained in a police sweep after al Qaeda attacked the USS Cole in 2000.)

Elsewhere in the Indian press:

Times of India roundup here.

The Hindu on Lashkar-e-Taiba links here.

The Economic Times on the future of Bombay here.


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