Intelligence Failure and Government Denial mode

Sudip Mazumdar, Newsweek – Flunking the Intelligence Test

The hostage takers in Mumbai didn’t need to wonder how large an armed rescue team the Indian government was sending, or when to anticipate its arrival. They had only to click on the nearest TV set, and there was the federal home minister, Shivraj Patil, obliviously telling viewers that 200 commandos had taken off on the two-hour flight from New Delhi at 2:30 a.m.
The chief minister was asked about that letter last week, during the terrorist siege. “It was just a general statement,” he said. “There was no specific information.”
Ratan Tata. “It has become clear that we don’t have a crisis infrastructure in place,”
“We’ve really not learnt the lessons,” says M. N. Singh, a former Mumbai police commissioner.
an inept and callous political leadership and a cocooned and corrupt bureaucracy take care of their own interests while ignoring the public’s welfare. In the past few years that decay has spread to the country’s intelligence services, including RAW. “Ten years ago it was one of the best in the world,” says a source close to the French security establishment whose job precludes his being quoted by name.

The lethargic security system – NSG commandos arrived over 9 hours after the first gunshot. There were 200 of them (because Vilasro Deshmukh asked for 200). A critical analysis of the slow security responseĀ  by Edward Luttvak

The Indian reality is that ordinary local police cannot be expected to react usefully to a terrorist attack, or indeed any form of armed attack, as ordinary police might do in many other countries – for example, by at least sealing off the area and calling for more help. The NSG are very well trained but are actually a military-style commando assault force, with no real experience in the rescue of hostages
The forces available to fight in Mumbai were inadequate in quantity and quality
they had to act with almost no information – not even an accurate floor plan of the Taj hotel – and, of course, in grossly inadequate numbers, given the need to go room by room in a huge structure with an infinity of rooms, broom closets and servant passages.
By contrast, those who live in Tel Aviv, New York or London need not fear a Mumbai episode. If 10 infantry-trained terrorists were to attack, local police with their own hostage-rescue teams would quickly deal with them.

Bush administration informs that it had warned India about possible terror attacks of this form. Guardian

According to an unnamed official, the US told Indian officials that terrorists appeared to be plotting a water-borne attack on India’s financial capital.
An officer in the elite commando unit that ended the siege has told the Guardian his troops were delayed getting to the scene of the attacks because a plane could not initially be found to take them.
The criticism by a serving officer of his government is a sign of the anger politicians are facing after the attacks. Singh told the Guardian the delay may have let the terrorists gain more control of the two hotels and Jewish centre than they otherwise would have had.

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