Mumbai: Follow the phone calls

Scrap the old cliché of "Follow the money." It's pulling the strings on phone calls that have lead Indian investigators to point at Pakistan-based support of the Mumbai terrorist attack. 

Attackers who came ashore in Mumbai two weeks ago appear to have had cell phones with pre-bought Indian SIM cards and one or more Thuraya satellite phones in their possession --- Thuraya seems to be the name-brand preferred by Islamic terrorists for its main coverage across Indian Ocean and Middle Eastern region. Gunmen also seized phones from hostages and used them on a one-off basis, throwing them away after making a single phone call.

India's intelligence service has determined at least some of the phone calls were routed through VoIP services based in New Jersey and Vienna. The Austrian government has confirmed it is investigating a report that gunmen dialed an Austrian phone number by tracking the number back.

Mumbai police officers were reportedly able to listen on some of the conversations, and an unidentified national intelligence service has been able to identify at least two of the individuals on the Pakistani end of the phone; one was arrested by Pakistan's security forces early on Monday morning.

Two Indian men were arrested over the weekend on fraud and conspiracy charges for the crime of buying SIM cards with a fake ID. One of the two appears to have been an undercover operative that was capturing the data on the SIM cards before passing them along to Lashkar-e-Taiba militants - it would explain why police were able to listen in with relative ease on conversations.

For more:
- CBS News blog on tracing phone records in Mumbai attacks. Post.

Related articles
VoIP and tech's murky role in Mumbai attacks - FierceVoIP
Taliban VoIP calls - FierceVoIP

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