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FBI seeks to question more individuals in Indian custody

Lalit K Jha in Washington | January 09, 2009 10:12 IST

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is helping Indian intelligence agencies and police in probing the Mumbai terror attack, has sought permission from New Delhi [Images] to interrogate more persons in Indian custody.

"The FBI continues its investigation in Mumbai [Images] attack and has asked to interview other individuals in Indian custody who may be able to provide critical information on attack planning and group leadership," Donald Van Duyn, chief intelligence officer, Directorate of Intelligence, National Security Branch of FBI said in his testimony before Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
    
The FBI's counter-terrorism agent and analysts were analyzing information on the Mumbai attacks to determine who was responsible, assess lessons learned, to determine if the US may be vulnerable to a similar attack,and determine the threat posed by the group or individuals tied to the group to the country, Duyn said.
    
Reiterating the US position that Pakistan-based terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Toiba had provided the training and direction to the terrorists for the Mumbai attack, Duyn said the FBI assesses that LeT remains a threat to US interests in South Asia and, to a lesser extent, the US homeland.
    
"We have no current intelligence indicating that there is an organized LeT presence in the United States or that LeT senior leadership is seeking to attack the US homeland. LeT does maintain facilitation, procurement, fund-raising, and recruitment activities worldwide, including in the United States," he said.
 
Briefing the Committee on FBI's role in Mumbai attack investigations, Duyn said soon after the attack FBI obtained approval from the India and the US Embassy in New Delhi to deploy the Los Angeles Rapid Deployment Team  and several critical personnel from its headquarters to Mumbai. The team arrived in Mumbai on November 29.
    
"The FBI objective was to assist the Indian government with its investigation, determine who was responsible for the deaths of Americans in the attacks, uncover any possible US nexus to the attacks. Also any other related threats to the US citizens or interests abroad, and share intelligence and other lessons learned with rest of the US intelligence and law
enforcement communities," he said.
    
On December 17 several additional FBI personnel were deployed to Mumbai to assist in the local investigation. A 24/7 command posts to support the FBI team in Mumbai was also established. These command posts also helped to process information obtained from the investigation and related interviews, as well as process tactical and strategic analysis to define the overall intelligence picture, he said.
    
Praising the assistance rendered by the Indian government, he said it was provided with unprecedented access to evidence and intelligence related to the attacks from Mumbai Police and Intelligence Bureau.
    
"The FBI was provided access to most of the attack locations and technical evidence recovered from the scenes.

The team was able to use advanced forensic and technical exploitation techniques to develop critical leads for both the Indian and US investigations," he said.
    
"The FBI also conducted more than 60 interviews of individuals in Mumbai, including witnesses with first hand accounts of the attacks and security personnel who were involved in responding to the attacks," he said.




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