India’s NIA Resorting to Secrets, Lies and ‘Spin Doctoring’ in their Pursuit of David Headley
For those of you who have not heard of India’s NIA, despite popular opinion, the moniker ‘No Idea Agency’ is incorrect, it actually stands for the National Investigation Agency. According to Wikipedia, the “National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a new federal agency approved by the Indian government to combat terror in India. The agency will be empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.”
After the horrific and catastrophic terror attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, which was dubbed 26/11, the Indian government felt a need for a new task force dealing specifically with terrorism. As stated by Wikipedia, the “NIA was created after the Nov 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was realized.”
A Recipe For Disaster
Now that is a scary thought, a brand new agency with unlimited power and jurisdiction. My personal observation was that most of the agents were inexperienced, possessed poor communication and investigative skills and knew little or nothing about intelligence. Thus, you had these inexperienced and over zealous investigators, trying to gather intelligence and solve the country’s largest terrorist case. The one exception out of all the senior law enforcement and intelligence officers that I met, (and I met many) was that of Sajid Farid Shapoo. He was the only one I met that was intelligent, clever and that could think outside the box. However, I can not say the same about his promises or his word, apparently it mans nothing. Shapoo, like all the others, too seemed to lack actual field experience or perhaps this case was too complex for the NIA?
On 23 November 2009, Shapoo confiscated my Apple Mac Book Pro, which he told me would be returned in approximately five days after forensic analysis. Shapoo has made promise after promise to return it me, verbally, written via e-mail as well as mobile text messages. Five days has surely passed, in fact in three weeks in will be one full year.
The newly formed NIA has been fumbling and bumbling from the very start of the David Coleman Headley case and have been made out as a bunch of buffoons by the U.S. intelligence agencies. I should know, I was suspect number one in the entire country of India after Headley was arrested by the FBI. The only thing that Headley and I had in common besides both knowing his now current re-married wife Faiza Outalha (when I met Faiza she was divorced from Headley) is that we both had long-term visa’s and United States passports. Even Ray Charles (and he is blind and dead) could have seen that I had absolutely no connections whatsoever with terrorism.
My friends and travelers from all around the globe who have known me for several years, laughed at the ludicrous idea that I was a suspect. They thought the Indian police and intelligence agencies were blind, deaf and stupid.
In all fairness to Shapoo and the NIA, as we say in Brooklyn, ‘they got played’. The famous expression, that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” is quite apropos in the NIA’s Headley investigation.
The fact that Headley was working for the U.S. intel agencies as well as Pakistan’s ISI, was more than likely why he remained anonymous to Indian law enforcement agencies. It was for this reason they were unaware of his existence as he frequently roamed freely between Pakistan and India unnoticed (at least by Indian officials).
Therefore, the Indian intelligence agencies were completely reliant and dependent on what information the U.S. intelligence agencies choose to share and what not to share with them. Therefore, the NIA was at a huge disadvantage, thus the spy games between them and U.S. put the game on an uneven playing field. In retrospect, it is understandable and obvious why at the time, it appeared like I was being investigated by Moe, Larry and Curly aka the ‘Three Stooges’.
I will save the specific examples for my book but will share with you a glimpse of what occurred. For instance, after several days of heavy questioning, (in front of my 9 month pregnant girlfriend), I was questioned via telephone about my Indian bank account. I was accused of hiding information, and was asked why I did not mention it. I responded, in a very agitated voice (because by this time I was fed up with the incompetence), “it did not occur to me.” I went on to explain that I used the bank account approximately 4 or 5 times in total and had a balance of approximately 400 rupees (less than $10). I was dazed and confused, one peak at my transaction history would be enough to make anyone laugh. It was crystal clear and in black and white, (not even a shade of gray) that there were no sizable or questionable transactions from anyone let alone any terrorist organizations such as LeT.
It is very obvious why the NIA are so desperately trying to get in touch with Faiza, it is because the U.S. made a fair and thorough investigation of Headley virtually impossible and off-limits. Not to mention the fact that the U.S. told India that Headley being extradited to the U.S. is not going to happen. Therefore in their pursuit of David Headley, the NIA were trying to get at Faiza through me, whether, ethical or unethical or legal or illegal, simply ‘any means necessary’.
My recent article, Kiss and Tell: Intimacies with David Headley`s Ex-Wife, Faiza Outalha, mentions how the Indian government, specifically Sajid Shapoo and the NIA stole my Apple Mac Book Pro that has priceless and irreplaceable photos of my girlfriends first nine months of pregnancy with our now eleven month-old daughter. I still have the original Production Memo signed by Sajid Shapoo and myself dated 23 November 2009 (almost an entire year ago).
According to an editor at Mathaba.net, the above-mentioned article has attracted a lot of attention and has had many readers world-wide. Even Faiza Outalha has told me that she has read the story via a recent e-mail. Quite frankly, I imagine but can not confirm that even Headley read it. Therefore, it is most probable, especially since he is mentioned by name, that Sajid Shapoo has read it or at the very least seen it or been told about it.
Ironically, I was recently approached by a journalist named Abhishek Sharan that works for the Hindustan Times. It turned out that he was apparently moonlighting on his daytime job as journalist as a part-time spy for the NIA. Abhishek Sharan is either simply feeding information to the NIA or working for them directly. I have records of over fifteen written correspondences between Abhishek Sharan and myself, not including various skype and mobile conversations as well as many mobile text messages.
For now I will just share the initial contact as per a facebook message.
“Abhishek Sharan October 26 at 11:15pm
Hi. I read your piece on your friendship with Faiza Outalha and how you were part of the NIA probe. I would like to interview you about your experience in case you are in Delhi, or else, can email you my queries. This, of course, if you agree to talk.
special correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi.”
Mr. Abhishek Sharan did indeed write an article titled, Headley’s ex-wife ‘confessed’ to friend, that ran in the Hindustan Times on 1 November 2010. However, this I believe was just a guise in an attempt to gather information for the NIA.
Here are the facts! Abhishek Sharan approached me. He asked me directly about the NIA and about my computer. He “lied” to me and “misquoted” me in the brief article that he wrote. Mr. Abhishek Sharan lied to me about the content of the article, about the length of the article and about writing an additional article. He also mentions that he has an explanation about my computer from the authorities. Firstly this proves by his own admission that he was talking to and in contact with the Indian authorities, i.e., the NIA, while he was on the process of writing the story about me. Secondly, I find it extremely odd for a ‘journalist’ to call up the authorities specifically about a computer that is not even mentioned in the article.
This is from an e-mail sent to me by Mr. Abhishek Sharan on 1 November 2010.
The story has appeared today. Partly on Hindustan times’s page 1 and the rest inside. It was a news-heavy day so space was an issue. I am doing another story on this,including about your computer for which i have sought an explanation from the authorities here, whatever has been left will be carried there. i am attaching the two web-links to the story.
Oh great, Faiza renewed contact with you!! what did she tell you in particular abt her ‘ex’ and 26/11?
Also on 30 October 2010, Abhishek sent me an e-mail asking for clarification of the name of the FBI special agent who was investigating me in New Jersey. In the article he wrote, he simply mentioned the word FBI, not even the agent’s family name thus why was it so important for him? See below:
“Hi, are you sure it s robert leo reilly? somehow the FBI site does not throw nay matches.
Abhishek also asked for my bio but was not used or needed for a piece of such short length. Finally, I believe it was the last e-mail I sent to abhishek before I cut off communication, where I told him that I was back in communication with David Headley’s current wife, Faiza Outalha. Once I mentioned I was talking to Faiza again and that she told me that the NIA had lied to me about several issues and how she crossed the Wagah border, Abhishek has been desperately trying to get in touch with me. There was a plethora of information that Abishek had and had not yet written about nor used and he was still calling, e-mailing and sending me mobile text messages and asking further questions. The following e-mail message was sent to me on 2 November 2010.
“Hi, hoping your al zazeera thing is working out. What s up otherwise,
i hope ur visa thing is workin out. Why are’ nt you taking calls or
reponding to e-mails, messages!
Abhishek Sharan is now even following me on twitter. He started following me 2 November 2010, only after he wrote the story, after I cutoff communication and after I told him I was in touch with Faiza Outalha. See below:
abhishek sharan is now following you on Twitter!
More Spies and Lies
So after I stopped communicating with Abishek Sharan of the Hindustan Times and after I informed him that I am back in touch with Faiza Outalha, guess what happens next? The following e-mail was received by me on 2 November 2010:
Dear Mr Mapp,
I am not sure whether this is your email address. I am looking for one Mr George Alexender Mapp, who was in Manali and questioned by National Investigation Agency. If you are the same, then kindly acknowledge and please spare a momemt for a brief interview. I am working with India’s Press Trust of India as a journalist.
Chief of Bureau,
Special Investigating Team,
The Press Trust of India,
New Delhi – 110 001
This is my reply to a one Mr. Sumir Kaul on the same day that I received his e-mail.
Dear Mr. Sumir Kaul,
Yes, it is I indeed. I have a lot of ‘new’ and exciting information, such that has never been published anywhere before. I have recently been back in touch with Faiza Outalha and she has told me many things regarding, Headley, the NIA investigation etc. I would be more than happy to answer your questions. However, you must send the questions to Mathaba News Network (Mathaba.net). I have cc’d them so that you have their e-mail address. Kindly forward any and all questions that you have and then Mathaba News Network will forward them to me. Once I have completed the interview questions, they will forwarded them directly to you. Having a third party involved will avoid any confusion. I have attachedtwo recent stories I have written about David Headley. I hope you have the time to read them. Thank you for getting in touch with me. Have a wonderful day!
George A. Mapp
Also on the same day, Mathaba News Agency replied to both myself and Mr. Sumir Kaul (please see below) but guess what, I never ever heard back from Mr. Sumir Kaul, The Press Trust of India nor any of their representaives. You do the math!
We confirm our full agreement with Mr Mapp’s conditions.
Mathaba News Agency
The World’s Leading Independent News Agency
“We Open Minds and News”
Enough is enough with the spies and lies, pretend and impostor journalist’s. If the NIA or Sajid Shapoo wanted to ask me a question he most certainly knows how to get in touch with me. It is very sad and disappointing that Shapoo sat in his office and lied to my face about speaking with Faiza. Several days ago Faiza informed me that was just one of many lies.
I cooperated fully with Sajid Shapoo and the NIA and shared an enormous amount of information in a hope the investigation would end quickly as my girlfriend was expecting any day. There was a lot of suffering and inconvenience suffered at the expense of the Indian law enforcement and intelligence agencies by my pregnant girlfriend, our unborn daughter and my two-sons in America and of course myself. I shared a great deal of personal and financial information to help conclude the investigation as quickly as possible but the after effects and negative ramifications continued long after I was cleared.
The very least the NIA and the Indian government could do is return my Apple Mac Book Pro and stop the embarrassing, unprofessional and compulsive lying. I’m calling a Spade a Spade, a Thief a Thief and a Liar a Liar.
It’s The Intel Stupid
One fact remains obvious, that an intelligence agency like the NIA is long overdue and definitely needed and perhaps with some training from the U.S. intelligence agencies (and money) and experience they might possibly get something accomplished in the future.
Just about everyone is crying in the Indian press that the U.S. knew about Headley and did not share the information with India. It is now known that Headley was roaming around and hopping in and out of India and Pakistan at will, completely undetected by Indian intelligence agencies. Now this is a well known and established fact but perhaps the U.S. intelligence had their reasons? Nevertheless, let me pose a different question to the Indian government and intelligence agencies, why was Headley completed undetected and unmonitored?
If the Indian government and law enforcement agencies had far more superior intelligence capabilities than they had in 2008, perhaps they would have prevented the devastating Mumbai attacks. Instead of crying, blaming and pointing fingers, they should ‘man up’ and accept responsibility. The attacks that occurred on 26/11 was an obvious intelligence failure and this view is shared with me by many.
From the UK daily, the Telegraph, 28 Oct 2010:
“India criticizes US over failure to pass on Mumbai attacks warning. India has strongly criticized the United States over its failure to warn it about the terrorist connections of a key figure behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks.”
India Today went so far as to say that U.S. President Obama’s trip to India was in jeopardy as reported on 17 October 2010.
“26/11: FBI’s failure to warn India to affect Obama’s visit”
India needs to take up intel failure with India, not President Obama or any other U.S. intelligence agency. The fact remains that if it were not for the U.S., India would still be unaware and completely in the dark as to the mere existence of David Coleman Headley. As well as Faiza Outalha for that matter and myself of course.
The Hindustan Times reported on 22 October 2010:
“India should take up with US President Barack Obama the non-communication of intelligence information on the Mumbai attacks, CPI leader D Raja said on Wednesday, charging Washington of following “double standards” in fighting terrorism.”
India’s Rediff on 28 October 2010 ran a headline that stated:
`India disappointed with info on Headley`
The sub-headline of the same article was as follows:
Home Secretary G K Pillai talks to Rediff.com‘s Vicky Nanjappa about the lack of information from the United States on Lashkar operative David Headley
On the same date, Rediff.com‘s had another article with the following headline:
Why sparks are flying ahead of Obama’s India trip
Another apparent Indian intelligence failure is that of the the Pune blast in mid February of this year. But again, government officials denied accountability. India Today reported on 14 February 2010,
“Dismissing “intelligence failure” in the Pune blast, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Sunday said the terrorists have hit a “soft target” like the German bakery which is frequented by foreigners and Indians alike.”
However, it was a known fact that at the time of the attacks, the U.S. intelligence had previously shared with India that Headley had in fact recced the targeted area of where the Pune bomb blast occurred. The next quote was taken from the same India Today article mentioned previously:
“David Headley had surveyed the Chabad House, that is a fact. At the moment, it is a stand-alone fact. Whether this particular incident is related to that, it is premature to answer that. We have to wait for the investigation to find out who perhaps is behind this incident.”
India needs to come up to speed and to attempt to develop an independent, reliable and competent terrorist task force including their intelligence agencies. The purpose of this is two-fold, to become self-reliant and independent thus eliminating future confusion and bickering in regards to intel sharing and trust issues. Simply, if you have strong, reliable intelligence in place, then you do not need to be co-dependent and thus by default no longer controlled or manipulated by another country.
A close friend of mine knows about my trial and tribulations in regards to the Headley investigation as well as my experiences with the NIA. When I recently told him about the journalist from the Hindustan Times gathering and sharing information on behalf of the NIA, he shared a joke with me. Now I do not necessarily agree with the joke but having lived in India, I can certainly relate. Needless to say, I will share it with you, though I must warn you in advance it is not exactly politically correct.
“If you see an Indian and a snake on the road, hit the Indian on the head first.”
Satguru’s And Mantra’s
It saddens meet deeply that the love, devotion and compassion that I once felt for India has been stained and scarred. In fact, I have three Hindu mantra’s tattooed on my body. Upon arrival on my second of many visits, to India, a dear friend and very talented tattoo artist and I shared a taxi from Delhi to Rishikesh. It was in this Holy city where I received my first tattoo’s. It is very auspicious indeed that one of the three manta’s tattooed on me, in the Holy city of Rishikesh, is Om Namah Shivaya.
On my very first visit to India in December 2006, I came for the sole purpose to meet Amma. I flew directly to Kerala and had a taxi waiting for me that drove me straight to Amritapuri Ashram. Amma, or Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, travels all around the world to give darshan including two annual trips to America. It would have been much less expensive and much easier to have met her in America. In fact, everyone that I met at Amritapuri Ashram in Kerala had met Amma in their home country and then decided to come to India to see her.
I distinctly wanted to meet Amma at Amritapuri Ashram, her main Ashram or on her home turf as I like to call it. It was a very interesting, beautiful and unforgettable experience that only grew more intense as I spent more and more time living in the ashram. Despite all that I have experienced and all that has happened to me in India, I still try very hard to live by the example of Amma. Whether I am successful or not changes on any given day but I do not give up and keep trying everyday.
“Love is our true essence. Love has no limitations of caste, religion, race or nationality. We are all beads strung together on the same thread of love.” ~Amma~