Mumbai suspect is US double agent, India claimsPosted: December 17, 2009
An American man charged with plotting the attacks on Mumbai was a double agent for both the United States and al-Qaeda terror group Lashkar e Taiba, Indian officials have claimed.
by Dean Nelson in New Delhi
Published: Dec. 16, 2009 – Telegraph
David Headley, a Pakistan-born American national arrested in Chicago in October, is alleged to have carried out reconnaissance missions in the run-up to the Mumbai attacks, in which 166 people were killed.
He is also believed to have been present in the terrorists’ “control room” in Pakistan where their handlers directed the killing spree over an open telephone line.
According to Indian officials, Headley travelled to India again in March this year, with the knowledge of American agencies who did not inform their Indian counterparts. During the trip, Headley is alleged to have collected intelligence for future terrorist attacks on civilian and military targets, including India’s National Defence College.
Indian officials are desperate to question Headley but have been frustrated by American refusals to grant them access. A team of Indian investigators travelled to Washington shortly after Headley was arrested in October but soon returned after their American counterparts told them they would not be able to meet him.
They want to question him about the Mumbai attacks involved Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency in any way and the role of Indian extremists in providing logistical support.
American officials say that under US law they cannot force any person in their custody to give evidence to foreign agencies. But Indian intelligence officers have questioned why Washington is not doing more to help their own inquiry and suggested Headley’s connections with American intelligence agencies is behind the reluctance.
Headley, who was born Daood Syed Gilani and schooled in Pakistan before moving to Philadelphia with his American mother in 1977, was convicted of smuggling heroin into the United States in 1998. He served only 15 months in jail after agreeing to become an informant for the Drugs Enforcement Administration (DEA). He changed his name to David Headley in 2006.
According to Indian officials he continued to serve as a DEA informant until shortly before his arrest in October. Indian intelligence sources believe Headley may have been recruited to work for the CIA which, along with the FBI, shared intelligence with the DEA and other government agencies after the creation of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre in 2004.
B. Raman, a former senior official in India’s intelligence agency, said: “He was working for Lashkar e Taiba, taking photographs and video recordings of the [Mumbai] hotels and harbour. And he was an agent for the DEA on drugs, so in that sense he was a double agent.
“Indian officials are very keen to question him about his network, but we can’t because we might find out about any connections with the CIA or ISI. They don’t want that to happen. The Americans say ‘you ask us what you want us to find out and we’ll share the information’,” he added.