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Thursday, December 17, 2009

India: Was Mumbai suspect a double agent for US?

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The Indian press is abuzz with news that Indian Home Ministry officials are investigating whether a terror suspect in the Mumbai attacks, David Headley from Chicago, was working as a 'double agent' with the US.

In this courtroom drawing David Coleman Headley, left, pleads not guilty before U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber on December 9 in Chicago to charges that accuse him of conspiring in the deadly 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

The Indian press is abuzz with news that Indian Home Ministry officials have said they are investigating whether Pakistani-American terror suspect David Coleman Headley was working as a "double agent."
Indian officials reportedly raised questions about Mr. Headley’s links with US intelligence agencies – even as another terror suspect accused of involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks was denied bail by a US federal court. These latest and widely-publicized accusations against Headley are expected to put pressure on India’s ruling Congress Party, which has emphasized closer ties with the US as part of its foreign policy.
The US has not allowed Indian authorities to interrogate Headley over the Mumbai attacks, much to India's consternation.
According to he Hindustan Times, Indian Home Ministry officials raised questions about Headley’s involvement with the American intelligence agency.
India is investigating whether a Chicago man accused of helping plan the deadly 2008 Mumbai siege was a double agent working for the United States and a Pakistan-based militant group, an official said on Wednesday.
"India is looking into whether Headley worked as a double agent. That is one of the many angles we are probing," a home ministry official said ….
Indian media reported that New Delhi was suspicious because the United States had not shared vital information about Headley's movements prior to his arrest….
Headley could have been a member of the US Drug Enforcement Agency which allowed him to make frequent trips to Pakistan and gain access to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group.
The Times of India reports that Indian officials suspect that the CIA knew about Headley’s link with the banned Pakistani militant outfit, Lashkar-e-Taiba, one year before the Mumbai attacks, but did not alert Indian agencies.
The [Indian] investigators believe that the US agencies kept away the information from India and never allowed the Pakistani-origin Headley to get "exposed".
The 39-year old terror suspect, arrested by FBI for his role in Mumbai attacks, had visited India in March 2009 – four months after Mumbai attack carried out by LeT – but FBI still did not inform India that Headley is a LeT operative, apparently fearing he could be arrested in India.
According to the Times of India, Indian officials will also be investigating how Headley’s credit card bills were settled in American banks while the suspect was traveling through India.

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