The Government of India requests an urgent US response to the pending request, last taken up March 23, 2005, for assistance required by the Indian side from US authorities in connection with the IC-814 hijacking case.

32567, 5/13/2005 13:08,05 NEWDELHI 3647, Embassy New Delhi, CONFIDENTIAL, 02 STATE 139001 | 03 NEWDELHI 3904 | 04 NEWDELHI 5387 | 04 NEWDELHI 5630 | 05 NEWDELHI 2266,"This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.","C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 003647

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/11/2015 TAGS: PREL, PTER, IN, PK, AF, Counter-Terrorism, GOI

SUBJECT: GOI RENEWS CALL FOR IC-814 INFO AS TRIAL NEARS END

REF: A. NEW DELHI 2266 B. 04 NEW DELHI 5630 C. 04 NEW DELHI 5387 D. 03 NEW DELHI 3904 E. 02 STATE 139001

Classified By: Charge Robert O. Blake, Jr., for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)

1. (U) This is an action request. Please see paragraph 6.

2. (C) During a May 9 meeting with PolCouns and Poloff, MEA Director (Americas) Renu Pall delivered the following non-paper requesting USG assistance with the GOI investigation into the December 1999 IC-814 hijacking. The non-paper is identical to the one that MEA Joint Secretary (Americas) S Jaishankar delivered on March 23 (Ref A), but this version added that the trial of 10 accused (including seven being tried in absentia) is entering its final stage and that the matter is ""sensitive and important.""

Begin Text:

The Government of India requests an urgent US response to the pending request, last taken up March 23, 2005, for assistance required by the Indian side from US authorities in connection with the IC-814 hijacking case.

US response is awaited on the following:

-- To liaise with the concerned American authorities relating to the reported seizure of documents relating to the hijacking of IC-814 by US forces operating in Afghanistan.

-- To collect evidence relating to the landing of the flight at Kandahar and the roles played by Afghan Taliban authorities.

-- To get the responses from Mr. Mansoor Akhtar, ex-Civil Aviation Minister in the Taliban Government of Afghanistan, and Mr. Akhtar Usmani, the Taliban corps commander in Kandahar (reportedly in the custody of the American authorities) during the hijacking crisis.

-- Examine the possibilities of getting statements from some important Taliban functionaries, now reportedly under the custody of American authorities.

-- Any additional information available regarding the whereabouts/location/hideouts of the seven Pakistani nationals involved in the hijacking of IC-814.

-- Any information available in the United States on the conduct of these aforesaid seven accused terrorists prior to, during, and after the hijacking of IC-814.

-- Any photographs that may be available in the United States of accused Abdul Rauf, a key conspirator.

-- Any additional evidence available in the United States relating to the landing of the hijacked aircraft at Lahore Airport, its subsequent refueling, take-off, etc.

An early response is requested since the trial of the case is at the final stage in India and the matter is sensitive and important.

End text.

FBI Cooperating

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3. (C) Legatt recently confirmed with FBI/Washington that FBI -- and the US military -- have shared all information relevant to the hijacking of IC-814 with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India's lead federal law enforcement agency, and that CBI has been informed to that effect. Legatt also reports that FBI will not agree to requests it deems ""fishing expeditions,"" but that he has not conveyed this sentiment to CBI. In January-February 2005, CBI handed to visiting FBI Special Agents hundreds of documents for the US prosecution of IC-814 principals that had not been previously shared (Ref A), adding that they were only sharing ""what we think you need to know.""

4. (C) Separately, in April, the Indian IC-814 prosecutor told Assistant US Attorney Steven Pelak, who is prosecuting the American IC-814 case, that the Indian trial has passed the phase of presenting evidence.

Comment

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5. (C) The successful prosecution in India of the IC-814 hijackers would further our own CT agenda, and USG cooperation to the fullest extent possible would advance our bilateral relations as well, given the strong symbolism this case has with New Delhi. Legatt New Delhi reports that the FBI has already cooperated extensively on this matter, and it is not clear from our non-expert perspective that the GOI's recent requests for information will further its prosecution. In any case, this formal MEA request reflects senior level attention to the IC-814 matter, and a perception at that level that the USG has been less than fully forthcoming.

6. (C) Action Request: We need to bring an end this ongoing cycle of requests (Refs A-E), and a clear negative response would be preferable to perpetuating a fruitless dialogue. The FBI has reportedly exhausted its ability to cooperate, and we should directly inform both CBI and MEA to that effect, with specific confirmation on what evidence is or is not in US possession.

7. (U) Minimize considered.

BLAKE