NEW DELHI – Pakistan's intelligence agency was deeply involved in planning the 2008 terror attack on Mumbai, going so far as to fund reconnaissance missions to the Indian city, according to a report on the interrogation of a U.S. citizen convicted in the attack.
The attack, blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group, killed 166 people, paralyzed India's business capital and froze peace efforts between Pakistan and India.
David Headley, who pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to laying the groundwork for the attack, told Indian interrogators in June that officers from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency were deeply intertwined with Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The spy agency provided handlers for all the top members of the group, gave them direction and provided their funding, Headley said, according to the government report on his June interrogation. The report, marked secret, was obtained by The Associated Press late Monday.
"According to Headley, every big action of LeT is done in close coordination with ISI," the report said, using a common abbreviation for Lashkar-e-Taiba.
India has long accused the Pakistan spy service of being involved with, and in some cases directing, terror groups. U.S. officials have also accused the agency of working with the Taliban to coordinate attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.
A senior intelligence official in Pakistan, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media on the record, said the allegations were baseless.
According to the Indian report, Headley met repeatedly with his intelligence agency handler, whom he identified as Maj. Iqbal, throughout the preparations for the Mumbai attacks.
Maj. Iqbal gave him $25,000 to fund his scouting trips to India and a camera-phone, according to the report. Headley also received training in the basics of spy work from an instructor assigned to him by Maj. Iqbal, the report said.
In return, Headley gave Maj. Iqbal copies of the photos and videos he took of potential targets during his trips to India, the report said. Iqbal also made suggestions about how best to carry out the attack on Mumbai, the report said.
Earlier this month, Interpol — acting on India's request — notified its members to be on the alert for Maj. Iqbal.
The report came as Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving gunman from the attacks, was appealing his death sentence in the Mumbai High Court.
Kasab was one of 10 Pakistanis who attacked two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a busy train station during the 60-hour siege.