Thursday, October 28, 2010
IB denies US claim about giving info on Headley
With just a couple of days to go before US President, Barack Obama visits India, a huge controversy has broken out over David Headley, the man who did the survey of the targets which was finally attacked by ten Lashkar-e-Tayiba gunmen.
Sources in the Indian Intelligence Bureau say that the claim by the US that specific information was given to them regarding David Headley is completely false. IB sources told rediff.com that general alerts had started to trickle in from the United States regarding a possible attack on Mumbai since the year 2005. We keep receiving such alerts from all quarters and even from our own intelligence, but the claim by the US that they had specifically warned us about David Headley is completely false.
There have been four warnings regarding the Mumbai attack in the past five years, but none of the alerts made any mention about an operative called David Headley. Headley had made nine visits to India as an American National. The US intel agencies were very well aware of such a man and they were also aware that such an operation was being carried out by him. However despite knowing the same there was no specific intelligence shared regarding him, IB sources also said.
The IB also says that in all the alerts that were sent there was a mention about Mumbai being targeted. One of the alerts made it clear that high profile targets may be targeted by Pakistan based groups. We had gathered intelligence including the one from the US and issued an alert in the year 2008 regarding the same. The alert issued by the IB in the year 2008 did speak of an attack on the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels. However all alerts were silent about an attack on the Nariman House since there was never any specific intelligence regarding this.
The IB also goes on to add that Headley was an agent of the FBI who had turned rogue and hence despite knowing fully about his activities they decided to keep this aspect of the attack silent. The US knew much more than they shared by regarding Headley they were mum since there was a lot of information at stake. The arrest of Headley and also his subsequent interrogation by Indian agencies is also proof of the fact that the US never wanted India to have proper access to Headley. The first time around when Indian agencies tried and interrogated Headley it was pure disaster since they had quoted technical issues before the court which prevented the interrogation from happening.
Moreover the second time around there was no exclusive time granted to the Indian agencies and at all times there were members of the FBI present which made the interrogation tough. In addition there were several guidelines to interrogate Headley and the Indian team which spent six days in the US came back with information that they already had. The interrogation was more of a question and answer exercise under the supervision of the US agencies, sources also pointed out. It becomes very hard to build a case under such a circumstance and there is also this fact that our team was not allowed to videograph or record an audio of the interrogation, sources in the IB also pointed out.