David Headley: American Terrorist or FBI Informant …. or Both?


related: David Headley Pleads Guilty to Mumbai Attacks; Intelligence Connections

related: Mumbai Terror Suspect David Headley Connected to U.S. Intelligence, Heroin Smuggling

source: Raw Story    10/18/2010

NBC news reports that US officials were warned not once but twice about a US businessman who was planning to launch terrorist attacks against targets in Mumbai. But unlike the first warning, the second was never passed on to the FBI.

The second warning, which came from David Coleman Headley’s second wife, came less than a year before the Mumbai attacks of November, 2008. Those attacks involved a series of coordinated bombings of at least 10 locations over three days and resulted in 166 deaths injuries in India’s largest city. The first warning came two years earlier, from Headley’s ex-wife.

The FBI arrested Headley in Chicago last year and accused him of running reconnaissance missions for the Mumbai attacks. He pleaded guilty to terrorism charges.

Three years before Pakistani terrorists struck Mumbai in 2008, federal agents in New York City investigated a tip that an American businessman was training in Pakistan with the group that later executed the attack.

The previously undisclosed allegations against David Coleman Headley, who became a key figure in the plot that killed 166 people, came from his wife after a domestic dispute that resulted in his arrest in 2005.

In three interviews with federal agents, Headley’s wife said that he was an active militant in the terrorist group Lashkar-i-Taiba, had trained extensively in its Pakistani camps, and had shopped for night vision goggles and other equipment, according to officials and sources close to the case. The wife, whom ProPublica is not identifying to protect her safety, also told agents that Headley had bragged of working as a paid U.S. informant while he trained with the terrorists in Pakistan, according to a person close to the case.

Court records and interviews show that Headley served as an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration starting in the late 1990s. But a former senior U.S. law enforcement official said Headley’s work as an informant ended before the Mumbai attacks were launched in 2008. He could not say whether Headley was working for the drug agency during the years when he was helping to plan the attack.

“Headley was closed as an informant because he wasn’t producing anything,” the former senior official said. He said he believed Headley’s relationship with the DEA ended “years” before Mumbai, but did not have more precise information.

Federal officials refused to discuss the 2005 tip other than to confirm that the FBI conducted an inquiry into the allegations by Headley’s wife.

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