FBI had been forewarned of Mumbai attacks
ISI mouthpiece The Daily Mail, Islamabad
A major US daily, “The Washington Post” has revealed that U.S. agents were warned years before the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack that a US citizen of Pakistani origin, David Coleman Headley, who was an US operative, was involved in the planning for the execution of the Mumbai attacks.
Mr. Headley was involved in undercover surveillance operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for many years. According to the “Washington Post” exposé, the FBI received the tip about David Coleman Headley from his wife in August of 2005. Citing sources close to the case, it says she told FBI agents that her husband had undergone intensive training with the militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and was in contact with extremists. A second wife revealed similar information to the FBI in 2007. The report, co-authored with the journalism foundation ProPublica, says Headley went to Mumbai five times to scout locations for the terrorist assault on the Indian city. The attack lasted three days, left 166 people dead and more than 300 others wounded.
The newspaper says the FBI interviewed Headley’s wife three times, but that he remained free to travel around the world on the scouting missions. He was not arrested until almost a year after the Mumbai attack, and is now in U.S. custody. The question here arises that if the FBI knew years in advance of the heinous attack on India’s investment capital Mumbai, why no action was taken to prevent the attack and let Pakistan take the blame for it? While government officials in India cite full cooperation by U.S. authorities, the opposition parties and others in India have demanded explanations of why Headley was allowed to travel freely for years between India, Pakistan, and the U.S., and why he was working undercover for the DEA. Some Indian analysts have speculated that David Headley was a CIA Double agent, an accusation denied by the CIA.
As soon as Headley was arrested in Chicago, the Indian media had a barrage of questions for the government about him, whose answers were slow in coming. As U.S. authorities took time to give Indian investigators direct access to Headley, there was suspicion in India about the U.S. government’s motives in keeping Headley under wrap. This suspicion continues even after the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) was given direct access to Headley for a week in June 2010. The latest news reports revealing that U.S. authorities had plenty of advance knowledge about David Headley’s terrorist associations and activities and Headley’s American and Moroccan wives had contacted American authorities in 2005 and 2007, respectively, complaining about his terrorist activities have created further suspicions. The Moroccan wife told reporters that she had even shown the U.S. embassy in Islamabad photographs of their stay at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, warning them that he was doing something on behalf of terrorists.
The Daily Mail opines that Mr. Headley was working on behalf of US authorities as well as Indian spy agency RAW and the entire episode of the Mumbai attacks was a drama staged to bring heat upon Pakistan and its premier security agency, ISI. If the FBI knew well in advance regarding Mr. Headley’s intentions and had warned India of the impending attacks, surely the attack could have been averted or security level raised so that the alleged protagonists of the Mumbai attacks not been able to sail to Mumbai in fishing boats and enter the harbor in rubber dinghies, armed to the teeth with explosives and automatic weapons, loiter in the streets of Mumbai, assail the top two hotels, take hostages and blast their way in uncharted sensitive areas with impunity. The very fact that Indian media had reporters reporting from the scenes that had not even been attacked yet, was reminiscent of the BBC reporter reporting the collapse of World Trade Center 23 minutes before it actually collapsed or the 7/7 bombing reporter that was caught on tape asking “Has it happened yet?” Now that Mr. Headley is conveniently singing like a canary, implicating Pakistan, ISI and scores of others, the whole case is highly suspicious and smacks of conspiracy against Pakistan.