Theodore's World: Taj Mahal Hotel Owner:" We had warning"

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November 30, 2008

Taj Mahal Hotel Owner:" We had warning"

Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata, whose company owns the Taj hotel, discusses this week's attacks in Mumbai.

Taj Mahal hotel owner: We had warning


The Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India, temporarily increased security after being warned of a possible terrorist attack, the chairman of the company that owns the hotel said Saturday.

But Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata said those measures, which were eased shortly before this week's terror attacks, could not have prevented gunmen from entering the hotel.

"If I look at what we had ... it could not have stopped what took place," Tata said in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria that will air Sunday.
"It's ironic that we did have such a warning, and we did have some measures," Tata said, without elaborating on the warning or when security measures were enacted. "People couldn't park their cars in the portico, where you had to go through a metal detector."
However, Tata said the attackers did not enter through the entrance that has a metal detector. Instead, they came in a back entrance, he said.
They knew what they were doing, and they did not go through the front. All of our arrangements are in the front," he said.
"They planned everything," he said of the attackers. "I believe the first thing they did, they shot a sniffer dog and his handler. They went through the kitchen."

The 105-year-old hotel was one of nine sites attacked by gunmen in a 60-hour wave of terror that killed at least 183 people and injured hundreds more before it ended in a standoff at the hotel Saturday morning.

Authorities carried out a room-by-room sweep in the 565-room Victorian building late Saturday to make sure that all guests had been evacuated and no gunmen remained inside.

A. Vaidyanathan, an economist who was a guest in the Taj when the attacks occurred, told The Hindu newspaper on Friday that he had noticed tight security at the hotel when he stayed there last month.

"First, when you enter the open parking, where the cars are parked, you had a very heavy metal frame; your baggage was searched," he said. "At the entrance of the foyer, there was another metal detector, and you were personally searched and so on."
However, for this latest trip, he said, he could walk right into the hotel without encountering the same measures.

Tata said the attacks revealed deficiencies in law enforcement, especially in the areas of crisis response and management.

"We were getting the cooperation that they could give us, but the infrastructure was woefully poor," he said,

As an example, Tata said it took three hours for firefighters to get water to the Taj after a blaze broke out in the oldest part of the building.

"We had people who died being shot through bulletproof vests," he added.

Tata said that not even the army or commandoes who ultimately took over the offensive were prepared for the level of organization and execution that the attackers seemed to have put into their plan.

"They seemed to know [the hotel] in the night or in the daytime," he said of the attackers. "They seemed to have planned their moves quite well, and there seem to have been a lot of pre-planning."

Wild Thing's comment...........

Very interesting and I wonder why they eased up on the security so soon. Maybe there are so many warnings that they don't take them as seriously.

For this owner to say they had a warning, I admire him for saying what he did. That takes courage epecially when so many lives were taken and the families left behind have this nightmare to live with.

We are so used to how Democrats never admiting to any wrong doing and never being punished. The democrat American way it seems.

Posted by Wild Thing at November 30, 2008 03:50 AM


You may not have been able to stop it, but you could have helped the tourists get out of the way and put somewhere else so no one would have had to die. Those foreigners who died ought to sue your firm. You, as the manager of the hotel are like the captain of the ship--you must do what is right to save those under you and those who have to trust you to keep them safe. If you can't do that, then you're in the wrong line of business. Or are you mujahadeen yourself?

Posted by: Lynn at November 30, 2008 07:17 AM

To me, the scariest thing about this attack was that it wasn't your usual terrorist attack. Usually terrorist attacks are "hit and run", but in this attack they were in it for the long haul. These guys planned on a long drawn out battle and had specific targets in mind; Americans, Brits, and Jews.

Posted by: BobF at November 30, 2008 08:59 AM

The blessings of diversity have borne fruit. Ever wonder how many from Willmar are working as screeners and baggage handlers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, Minnesota? How about the wonderful Shi'ia capitol of America, Dearbornistan, bedsides Keith Ellison, how many have infiltrated the halls of local governments around the nation. How many are on the police force as sleepers waiting for the word? It took trusted employees and a national trust to allow essentially a commando group access to the soft underbelly of Bombay and perform the butchery. They can't be trusted in their own countries and communities to not commit atrocities to their own kind, yet the world as a whole gives them a pass as being members of the religion of peace. There is an old form of punishment called banishment used when certain individuals or groups don't fit the norm of society, they get the boot or death from their heretical homelands, ergo, the the Bin Laden's and the Palestinian!!! The rest of the world plays sanctuary for them under the guise of political correctness.

Posted by: Jack at November 30, 2008 01:47 PM

The best intelligence, the best planning, the best security measures will probably not prevent every terrorist attack. The advantage is with the terrs. If most of our freedoms are curtailed and we live in a partial state of lock down, the terrs have won.

You have to stike at their bases and their sponsors and make it very costly for them to allow or promote terrorist organizations. If it is proven these terrorists were based in Pakistan, India needs to strike back militarily at those bases with or without Pakistan's ok.

One of these days the world is going to have to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for it's promotion and funding of Wahabbism.

Posted by: TomR at November 30, 2008 02:59 PM

Lynn, I agree, I am impressed he admits he was wrong and not taking the threat seriously. But at the same time once he saw the huge mistake he made he should have been right in the midst of it helping in any way he could to stop it.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 30, 2008 05:29 PM

BobF, I agree,this could happen in any country including ours. We are so PC that it is effecting our being careful at airports etc.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 30, 2008 05:36 PM

Jack,thank you for all of that. Everything you said is so true. Even just reading sleeper cells in our police force is chilling and we have to be eyes wide awake and realize this is very possible.
Keith Ellison and the other Muslims in our governement are proof citizens did not take 9-11 seriously.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 30, 2008 05:42 PM

Tom, I agree, I just heard today again that Pakistan is telling India not to blame them. Well ok but why not let the people fighting terrorists from India come in and help find this group and take them out. No mention of that has been made and no mention by Pakistan that they are going after this terrorist group in their country.

Your right too about if most of our freedoms are curtailed and about Saudi Arabia. Just knowing I could defend myself if I had to makes me feel better. I know I would not be afraid to shoot if I had to. Saudi is brainwashing their people here with their text books there is no way I call them innocent when they are teaching hate to US citizens from their country.Building future cells probably.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 30, 2008 05:49 PM