WikiLeaks: Indian Jihadi Groups 'Interested In Bio-Terrorism'
Wednesday, 24 May 2006, 10:28
1. (U) This is an Action Request for SCA and S/CT. Please see Para 17.
2. (C) Summary: The DCM and key Embassy interlocutors on counterterrorism issues (see Paras 21-22) on May 19 reviewed with MEA Additional Secretary (International Organizations) KC Singh action items that emerged from the April 19 US-India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group (CTJWG) meeting in Washington and subsequent CT-related conversations (Refs A and B). The dialogue paved the way for further discussions on bio-terrorism cooperation, operationalizing countering terrorism finance, aviation security, improving USG delivery of CT training (and a GOI offer to provide CT training to USG personnel), improving the sharing of GOI tactical terrorist threat information, and continuing the discussion on how most effectively to counter extremist ideology in mass media and on the Internet. Ambassador Singh and Joint Secretary (Cabinet Secretariat) Sharad Kumar also shared GOI concerns that India is becoming more central to al-Qai'da's agenda, and that al-Qa'ida and "al-Qa'ida franchises" share close links with the Pakistan establishment. The Indians again were receptive to the idea of a focused effort to defeat LTTE fund-raising and arms trafficking, but asked that this be couched in generic terms, rather than targeting Sri Lanka alone. End Summary.
India Now an al-Qa'ida Target
3. (C) Singh opened by noting that India is becoming more prominent on al-Qai'da's radar, pointing to Ayman al-Zawahiri's April 29 video message praising "popular jihadist movements against Indians in Kashmir" and calling India "the best candidate for carrying out the Zionist-Crusader scheme to humiliate, weaken, and dismember Pakistan." He added that al-Zawahiri's recent reference to the US-India civil nuclear agreement demonstrated that Delhi's growing cooperation with Washington was drawing al-Qai'da's attention.
Alleging Direct Links Between al-Qa'ida and Islamabad
4. (S) Singh asserted that Pakistan's ISI retains connections to al-Qa'ida and has been privy to Usama bin Ladin's communications. To the DCM's question of information on operational links, Joint Secretary (Cabinet Secretariat, i.e. RAW) Sharad Kumar stated that Indian intelligence has transcripts of pre-9/11 meetings between UBL and Mullah Omar during which terrorism in J&K was discussed. He continued that UBL had been "willing to divert $20 million" from Central Asian programming to support Kashmir-oriented
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terrorism, and that UBL was quoted saying the Kashmiri jihadis "would not run short of funds." Kumar added that when UBL sent his bodyguard contingent to help the Taliban fight the Northern Alliance, the temporary chief of his security force was an unnamed individual who went on to join Jaish-e-Mohammad. Singh ascribed al-Qa'ida's increasing interest in India to the July 18 civil nuclear agreement. "ISI seeks to heat things up" to interfere with growing US-India convergence, he claimed.
5. (S) RAW's Kumar observed that today, "al-Qa'ida franchises," if not al-Qa'ida proper, are and have been very active in India. He defined "al-Qa'ida franchises" as groups that espouse the same extremist ideology and share some logistical and funding infrastructure even while remaining discrete organizations, such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. Not all these groups or their attacks are linked, he continued; each must be investigated individually to locate their intersections.
Delhi Interest in Bio-Terror Rising
6. (C) Turning to the subject of counter-bio-terrorism cooperation, Singh reported that Indian intelligence is picking up chatter indicating jihadi groups are interested in bio-terrorism, for example seeking out like-minded PhD's in biology and bio-technology. He compared the prospects for nuclear terrorism ("still in the realm of the imaginary") to bio-terrorism ("an ideal weapon for terrorism ... anthrax could pose a serious problem ...it is no longer an academic exercise for us.") and indicated conceptual support for a joint bio-terrorism exercise. Singh stated that the text of the 1997 HHS/Ministry of Health Joint Statement included provisions for modeling bio-terrorism attacks, which could be used as a mechanism to support a joint exercise. (NOTE: Embassy HHS Attache reviewed the 1997 and 2005 HHS/MoH agreements and found no such mention of modeling bio-terrorism. End Note.) He concluded that although other relevant Ministries "work at their own pace," MEA would confer with them to secure their buy-in. Embassy will pursue the matter with MEA and other GOI interlocutors with an eye to conducting a joint and multi-agency bio-terrorism tabletop exercise by late 2006.
Operationalizing Anti-Terrorism Finance
7. (C) Noting that both sides have identical interests in combating terrorist groups but no practical experience in joint operations with each other, the DCM revisited the suggestion to create a contact group of experts -- with the MEA as the hub but including the Indian Finance Ministry and the nascent Financial Intelligence Unit as well as the Embassy Economics Section -- to focus on squeezing LTTE finances (Refs A and B). The DCM and Singh agreed that to keep the operation out of the spotlight it could adopt an innocuous name such as the "Subgroup on Terror Finance."
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PolCouns underscored the importance of moving from exchanging data on terrorist finances to shutting down money flows, particularly in light of the LTTE's wealth (i.e. it's ability to fund both a navy and an air force) and its recent egregiously violent attacks. J/S Kumar was tasked to develop ideas about modalities of the group's operations; he observed that although a cooperative effort is the most effective way forward, "most of our people are cagey regarding cooperation and joint operations," and "do not even trust others in their own government"; however, he added, their buy-in will be required. The DCM reassured Kumar that these operations would be kept in secure channels and well away from the media. Please see Action Request in Para 17.
8. (C) Taking note of the increase in aviation links between the US and India under the Open Skies agreement, including twice-daily non-stop flights, the DCM requested an official briefing on the GOI's anti-hijacking policy (Ref C) -- specifically, a full briefing to relevant Embassy elements (RSO, ECON, POL, etc.) plus advice on how Embassy can best brief US airlines on how they are affected by the GOI policy. Singh agreed to arrange the briefing. RSO added that Continental particularly had asked the Civil Aviation Ministry for this information but was only informed of the existence of a policy (and not the elements of that policy). (NOTE: A GOI Civil Aviation representative was slated to brief the CTJWG but was unable to travel to Washington to attend the meeting. End Note.) Before turning to a broader review of CT training opportunities, RSO noted that, pending a June 1 approval deadline, a DS/ATA Airport Security Consultation is slated for June 26-30.
Making CT Training Smarter
9. (C) After RSO provided an update on ATA courses for India currently in the pipeline (Para 18), Singh passed to the DCM a GOI "wish-list" of ATA courses (Para 19) and a list of courses the GOI could offer to USG law enforcement/military officers (Para 20). RSO pointed out that the Airport Security Consultation could be used to bootstrap other related training, such as on travel document authentication.
10. (C) Moving forward, RSO asked for points of contact among GOI subject-matter experts to identify course objectives ahead of time, to allow USG training providers to modify courses (where possible) to meet GOI objectives. RSO noted the broad spectrum of USG elements that would benefit by having this information.
India "Can't Afford to Lag Behind" on Bio-Metrics
11. (C) Singh raised the issue of bio-metrics cooperation, in which the GOI "can't afford to lag behind," he said. The
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MEA's Consular/Passports/Visas Division coordinates with the Home Ministry in this area. He underlined the role of document authentication in disrupting terrorist (and other illicit) travel and the transit of weapons and other contraband shipments. Singh and the DCM agreed on the importance of harmonizing document standards. The DCM reminded Singh that one problem the USG has in repatriating Indian nationals is the difficulty in verifying their identities; the Embassy's Consular Section works with the Home Ministry but bio-metrics may offer a solution.
Streamlining Flow of Tactical Threat Information
12. (C) The DCM underlined the importance of the Embassy (through the RSO) being able promptly to inform US businesses with equities in India of "the ground truth" on terrorist threat information and terrorist attacks, including hoaxes. Stories periodically appear in the Indian press that sensationalize alleged threats against American interests. While these stories are often based on faulty information, they do serve to increase security concerns in the American corporate community in particular. The DCM explained the USG "No Double Standard" and offered that GOI sources and methods could still be protected under that policy. When Singh asked how such incidents are handled in Washington, RSO informed him the DS Protective Liaison Division keeps close contact with the diplomatic community. One DS Agent typically services several diplomatic missions -- and is able to share tactical terrorist threat information on a real-time basis. Singh concurred that such a service in India is necessary beyond what state police agencies may provide, and suggested the MEA, with inputs from the state police and Home Ministry, would be the likely information provider. The DCM then explained the function of the Embassy's EAC to evaluate imminent threat information and decide on an appropriate response, indicating how reliable real-time GOI terrorist threat information would fit into the Embassy's decision-making process. Singh agreed in principle to create a real-time response mechanism to disseminate GOI terrorist threat information, with RSO as the Embassy's POC. He saw this as important both to the diplomatic community and India's growing pool of expatriate businesses.
"No Complaints" on Intel Sharing
13. (S) Singh reported that there were "no complaints" from Delhi on US-India intelligence sharing overall, and introduced J/S Kumar as a key contact for intel sharing. The DCM concurred n the positive state of intelligence cooperation. He conveyed his understanding that earlier US concerns in this area have largely been resolved.
Continuing the Ideological Discussion
14. (S) The DCM and Singh revisited the CTJWG discussion on
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combating extremist ideology particularly through the Internet without leaving a USG fingerprint. They agreed to schedule separate meetings to pursue this issue and explore how much can be accomplished and how best to do so.
Future Meetings Planned
15. (C) In addition to issue-specific Embassy-GOI meetings to be held over the summer, Singh said that he planned to meet S/CT Ambassador Crumpton in September on the fringes of the UNGA. The DCM noted that Undersecretary Nick Burns plans to visit India in late summer, which would offer an interim opportunity to review CT progress, among other issues.
Comment: Encouraging Signs Continue
16. (C) We are encouraged by the MEA's continued receptivity to engage with us more deeply than in recent history on CT issues. Barriers appear to be dissolving even regarding very sensitive issues, such as intelligence sharing and bio-terrorism preparedness. As far as the US-India CT dialogue is concerned, Ambassador Singh embodies the adage that "the right man in the right place at the right time can turn the tide." He has yet to ensure the other actionable parts of the Indian bureaucracy march in the same direction and to the same tune, but it is clear he is serious about making practical CT cooperation work and serious about working with us to do so.
Action Request for SCA and S/CT
17. (C) Given the GOI's expressed interest in "doing more" on the LTTE (Refs A and B and Para 7), Embassy requests further guidance from SCA and S/CT on moving in coordination with Delhi against LTTE finances and arms flows. We expect also to be queried about what steps the USG is prepared to take against LTTE fund-raising in the US.
ATA Courses In Train for India 2006
18. (SBU) Begin list of ATA courses for India 2006:
-- ATA-5345 Executive Course on Cyber-Terrorism Duration: June 12-14 Location: Hyderabad Status: Offer accepted
-- ATA-2994 Post-Blast Investigation Duration: July 17-August 4 Location: Baton Rouge Status: Offer accepted
-- ATA-5062 India Senior Crisis Management Course Duration: August 21-26
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Location: Washington Status: Pending GOI approval
-- ATA-5956 Airport Security Consultation Duration: June 26-30 Location: New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Jaipur Status: Requested by the GOI. Pending formal approval
-- ATA-5737 India VIP Protection Course Duration: August 7-25 Location: Baton Rouge Status: Pending GOI approval
GOI "Wish List" for CT Courses
19. (SBU) Begin lightly edited text of GOI document "ATA Training Courses - Requirements of Indian Police:
Methodology and equipment for countering suicide bombing and fidayeen attacks.
Countermeasures against improvised explosive devices and land mines used against transport vehicles
Terrorist communications systems
Channels of terrorist financing - Modus Operandi and countermeasures
Building personal profile of terrorists/criminals: How to build the profile (including modus operandi) of terrorists and criminals associated with organized crime
Database development: -- What databases are available to investigators in the US? -- How have these databases been built/developed? -- What are the laws associated with the creation and access to these databases?
Experience Sharing: The most valuable input to agencies charged with the task of maintaining security is the experience of other such agencies. At the moment US security forces are dealing with "rural" militancy in Afghanistan and "urban" militancy in Iraq. It is not necessary to send a large number of officers from India. US officers with appropriate experience could come to India for 2-3 day sessions with Indian officers. This idea is an extension of the cooperation between the defense forces of the two countries. We would thus suggest the following:
Experience Sharing/Afghanistan: -- What were the problems faced in Afghanistan at the strategic level; at the tactical level? -- What strategies evolved to resolve the problems? -- How successful were the strategies and what were/are the problems faced in implementing the strategies? -- What were/are the equipment used in these areas by the
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security forces? -- In retrospect, what else could have been done?
Experience Sharing/Iraq: -- What were the problems faced in Iraq at the strategic level; at the tactical level? -- What strategies evolved to resolve the problems? -- How successful were the strategies and what were/are the problems faced in implementing the strategies? -- What were/are the equipment used in these areas by the security forces? -- In retrospect, what else could have been done?
General policing as related to terrorism: -- Forged documentation and travel documents -- Money counterfeiting -- Money laundering
Security Management: -- Airport security -- VIP protection
Intelligence gathering techniques including practical demonstration of the techniques
Illegal immigration management including border patrolling techniques
Forensics medicine: new methodology and tools available to assist investigations
Forensic science: -- DNA fingerprinting -- Other special techniques such as use of polygraph -- Use of voice prints and other biometric measures
GOI Offer of CT Courses for USG Personnel
20. (SBU) Begin lightly edited text of GOI document "Counterterrorism Courses for US Forces Personnel in India":
-- Money Laundering at CBI Academy, Ghaziabad
-- Counter-Insurgency and Commando Course at Border Security Forces Training Center & School, Hazaribagh.
-- Weapons & Tactics Course at Central School of Weapons and Tactics, BSF Training Center & School, Indore.
-- Bomb Disposal Course at NSG Training Center, Manesar. (NOTE: NSG is the National Security Group, whose mandate includes VIP protection and response to major acts of terrorism occurring at diplomatic and GOI facilities. End Note.)
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-- Young Officer-Leg. II (Integrated) Course at BSF Academy, Tekanpur
-- Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare Course at Assam Rifles Training Center & School, Dimphu (Nagaland)
-- Training at Greyhounds Regional Training Center, Hyderabad (NOTE: The Greyhounds is a GOI security force targeting India's Naxalites/Maoists. End Note.)
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23. (U) Visit New Delhi's Classified Website: (http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/sa/newdelhi/) BLAKE