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Web of Terror

Soon after Pakistani terrorists attacked Mumbai the night of Nov. 26, 2008, the British intelligence agency GCHQ realized that for months it had been spying on the online activities – tracking internet searches and messages – of one of the coordinators of the plot.

The British weren’t alone. An Indian intelligence agency had also been watching.

India’s 9-11 killed 166 people, including six Americans.
Could the attack have been prevented?

This interactive is based on a joint investigation by The New York Times, ProPublica and Frontline. It is based on extensive interviews with current and former intelligence officials in several countries, court files, and documents disclosed by former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden.

4-16-1979 Abdul Wajid 5'8" Fair complexion, strong build, beard and mustache. Round shaped face, straight nose. Slight limp.

Zarrar Shah had both an intense hatred for India and a serious fascination with jihad. In his late 20s, Shah became Lashkar-e-Taiba’s communication chief, handling the technical operations for the group. He worked closely with Sajid Mir, another young and prominent Lashkar chief. Below is an excerpt from the trial of Ajmal Kasab, where he meets Shah for the first time.

49. Then Kafa introduced them to a person called Zarar Shah (wanted accused No. 7). Kasab and Ismail asked him about Zarar Shah, at which he told them that Zarar Shah and Ibrahim were the Ameer of the media wing of their organization. Zarar Shah was a computer expert. He could use computer technology to make a call from Pakistan appear, deceptively, as if it was being made from some other country. Zarar Shah and Ibrahim had set up a high technology media room. In this room they had collected maps, CDs and other information concerning the major cities of every country in the world on the basis of which they selected the targets and advised Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.

  • India

    He posed as an Indian national while purchasing phone-over-internet software.

  • Austria

    Shah purchased five Austrian phone numbers from a voice-over-internet service provider.

  • Italy

    Shah used a Western Union center in Italy to pay for his internet phone service.

  • Kuwait

    IP proxy used by Shah to access kharak_telco@yahoo.com (Shah’s fake Indian email).

  • Russia

    IP proxy used by Shah to access kharak_telco@yahoo.com.

  • US

    IP proxy used by Shah to access kharak_telco@yahoo.com.

  • New Jersey

    Calls received on attackers' phones appeared as if they came from New Jersey.

Sir, According to an intelligence input the LeT has been showing interest in launching actions in Mumbai. Possible targets identified in the intelligence input are:

  1. Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
  2. Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Stadium
  3. Taj Lan's End Hotel
  4. Sea Rock Hotel
  5. Mumbai Juhu Airfield
  6. J.W. Marriott

Suitable instructions may kindly be issued to concerned to develop the input and take appropriate preventive action.

"On November 24, 2008, Shahid took Zarrar Shah and me on a motorcycle to another house located at a distance of 1.5 kilometer from Qaidabad, Karachi. I had seen the photograph of “Al Hussaini” trawler in the room. Later I camE to know that this place was known as Malir (24°52’15.72”N, 67°10’18.39”E) area in Karachi and the house was used as office for fishing business of Mohd. Yaqoob"

- Excerpt from Jundal testimony

This interactive is based on reporting by Sebastian Rotella of ProPublica, and James Glanz and David E. Sanger of The New York Times. Additional reporting by Jeff Larson of ProPublica and Tom Jennings and Anna Belle Peevey for FRONTLINE.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

DIRECTOR Tom Jennings
PRODUCER Anna Belle Peevey
Grace Blevins
ANIMATOR Fola Akinola
INTERN Hillary Hubley
VIDEO EDITOR Eric Gulliver
SOUND DESIGN Kenzie Audette

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