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Intel agencies knew of 26/11 targets but were caught off-guard: Narayanan

The NIA was set up in the aftermath of 26/11.

New Delhi | Published: January 21, 2014 2:09:37 am

Former National Security Advisor (NSA) and West Bengal governor M K Narayanan said Monday intelligence agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau and the Research & Analysis Wing, to an extent, were aware of 26/11 targets but were caught off-guard by the audacity and method chosen by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). Narayanan, who was heading the NSA at the time of the 2008 Mumbai carnage, was speaking at the first NIA Raising Day.

He said the need of the hour was to predict the timing and method of attacks where investigating agencies needed to hone their skills. The NIA was set up in the aftermath of 26/11.

Referring to the three-day siege of Mumbai by 10 armed LeT men on November 26, 2008, he said, “I know intelligence agencies were anticipating the attack… including some of the targets like Taj. But the problem was what form it would be…The real failure on our part is that we did not know what form it would be and it will be such a brazen attack where special (trained) forces will be used.”

“The Indian Mujahideen — a creation of the LeT following the Gujarat riots in 2002 — has been increasingly involved in terrorist incidents since 2005,” Narayanan  said, adding that the “homegrown terror outfit consists mainly of disaffected Muslim youth, induced to come to Karachi and then sent to train to the Pak-Afghan border or PoK”.

“Contrary to what many security and strategic analysts in the West profess, terrorism remains a grave threat to the civilized world. The so-called demise of the Al Qaeda is a myth. The reality is that global terrorism is expanding rapidly, specially in Asia including Russia and parts of North Africa. Today, terrorism poses the gravest challenge ever,” he said.

“Both the LeT and the IM remain active, despite claims to the contrary. It would be a mistake to believe otherwise. On the other hand, given the new terrorist dynamic, one should envisage the possibility of both the intensity and the number of attacks being stepped up in the period ahead. The likelihood of possible ‘suicide missions’ also needs to be factored into future calculations,” he said, adding that the government should “avoid the temptation to utilise the NIA”.

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