INDIAN POLICE ARREST INTELLIGENCE AGENT BY MISTAKE
December 8, 2008 1 Comment
On December 1, we reported that accusing Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency of complicity in the recent militant attack of selected targets in Mumbai overlooks the responsibility of Indian intelligence agencies to prevent such attacks. We [^1] specifically pointed to revelations in Indian newspapers that “clear warnings of a coming assault were ignored” by local police forces and “that Indian intelligence agencies had precise information at least 10 months ago that Pakistani militants were planning an attack” but failed to act. It now appears that the infamous operational disconnect between Indian intelligence and police agencies has resulted in the arrest of an actual Indian undercover agent in connection with the Mumbai attacks. Specifically, last weekend the Calcutta police arrested two Indians who had used false identities to purchase 22 subscriber identity module (SIM) cards later used by militants who participated in the Mumbai attacks.
One of the arrestees is Mukhtar Ahmed, an Indian from Jammu Kashmir. It later emerged that Ahmed was in fact an Indian counterintelligence agent working on a “long-term [infiltration] mission with police in Indian-administered Kashmir”. Among his tasks was procuring “SIM cards for Lashkar-e-Taiba [^1] fighters and pass the numbers to police so that all calls from those numbers could be monitored by intelligence”. Unnamed senior Indian counterintelligence sources say that Ahmed’s arrest has blown “a high-value asset” and that Ahmed’s family is now “at risk”. Indian counterintelligence officials are further frustrated by the release of Ahmed’s name by the Calcutta police, even though local police officials had been told “categorically to keep shut on the entire Mumbai investigations”. It appears that Calcutta officials believed they had a “huge catch and [simply] wanted publicity”. [IA]