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The Headley underbelly

Investigative journalist Gerald Posner of the Daily Beast brings about a startling revelation - that the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist, alleged co-conspirator and operative in the gruesome Mumbai terror attacks on November 26, 2008, David Headley was also a US double agent. Posner's essay points out that Headley was sometime in the late 1990s recruited by the Drug Enforcement Agency of the United States government, and later immersed in intelligence work in Pakistan; before he himself became a LeT operative. 

David Headley's role as a reconnaissance-man in the Mumbai terror attacks' planning and execution more or less fits a void in the puzzle behind the entire incidents. The final targets - the CST terminus, the Taj and Oberoi Hotels, the Jewish Chabad House were carefully chosen - ostensibly for their significance. The CST was the hub for the everyday Indian, the Taj and Oberoi hotels were targetted to attack tourists to India, mostly business-people and the Chabad House to specifically target Jews.

What is intriguing and straight from a Le Carre novel is the fact that the Americans "utilised" Headley's criminal past into some kind of a resource in busting drug rackets, while merrily ignoring the fact that he was getting more and more intricately involved with terror outfits such as the LeT. And the fact that the US law and order enforcement agencies still refuse to let Indian investigators in the 26/11 incident get access in interrogating the Pakistan-born, but raised-in-Pakistan, but American citizenship owning terrorist.  And this despite the intricate closeness that the Indian strategic establishment has sought with the US' defense and strategic establishments of late.

This video from NDTV asks the right questions and so does this pithy statement by CPI(M) politburo member and Rajya Sabha MP, Brinda Karat -

Zero Hour mention by Brinda Karat on Headly case

 

In a series of shocking reports emanating from the U.S., it is revealed that David Headly, who has been charged for conspiracy in the Mumbai terrorist attacks, was an undercover agent working for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) since 1999. Reports state that David Headly, whose real name was Daood Saleem Geelani was arrested in February 1997 in New York for conspiring to import heroin into the US. However, since he started cooperating with the DEA, he was released and allowed to travel to Pakistan to conduct undercover surveillance operations on drug gangs in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A drug smuggler was turned into a US agent.

 

Reports have elaborated how Daood Geelani started making frequent trips between Pakistan and the US since 1999 at the instance of the US intelligence agencies. Even the change of his name from Daood Geelani to David Headly, which was obviously done to make his travelling easier, was known to the US agencies who were protecting him

 

As has been the case with several such American double agents in the past, most famously Osama bin Laden who had started his career as a CIA operative, David Headly too reportedly started working for the Lashkar. Investigations have revealed that David Headley had made multiple visits to India in 2008. It was on these trips,  Sir, that this drug smuggler turned US agent turned Lashkar terrorist surveyed sites in sites in Mumbai and reportedly the information he gathered was crucial in the 26/11 attacks. He visited India even as recently as April 2009. The FBI was evidently aware of Headly’s antecedents and had put him under surveillance well before the Mumbai attacks occurred. Did the FBI share real time intelligence with the Indian intelligence agencies? We are not concerned about the dubious methods used by the US to recruit agents, but when it is our cities, our people and our country being targeted, did they keep us informed of his trips?

 


 

Secondly, why are the Indian investigators being denied access to David Headly, when the FBI was allowed to question Ajmal Kasab who is in Indian custody? Is it because it will expose the under-belly of US covert operations, which has a record of creating Frankenstein’s like Osama bin Laden? Is this the type of cooperation the US is extending? Did our Prime Minister raise the issue when he met the US President in Washington? What steps are being taken by the Indian Government to ensure that the Indian investigators question David Headly at the earliest?

 


 

Sir these are crucial issues affecting national security. I hope the Government will clarify.

 

 

NDTV Video

 

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