26/11 anniversary: How US missed clues about Pakistani-American LeT spy until too late

Picture Supply : PTI


For all of the anti-terrorism measures adopted by the USA within the aftermath of the devastating 9/11 assault, a Pakistani-American was capable of go to India and plot an assault that killed his fellow-countrymen, in all probability working proper below the nostril of the safety institution.

Daood Sayed Gilani, who used the identify David Coleman Headley, made 5 spy missions to India on behalf of the Pakistan government-back terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba to map out its lethal 26/11 raid in 2008 through which ten Pakistanis killed 165 folks, together with six People, and wounded greater than 300 folks.

He has admitted to working for each the LeT and the Pakistani spy company, Inter-Companies Intelligence (ISI). He additionally seemingly had hyperlinks to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic state.

The actions of Gilani, who labored for the US Drug Enforcement Company (DEA) supposedly as an informant, within the US, India, Pakistan and Europe stay a thriller.

The US has admitted to intelligence shortcomings in not having the ability to join him in time to the Mumbai assaults, though it has asserted that it had offered India with different details about an impending assault on the town in 2008.

ProPublica, an impartial non-profit investigative journalism organisation that regarded into the Gilani/Headley case, has asserted that US officers had bungled a number of tipoffs they obtained until it was too late.

He was arrested by the US authorities in 2009 solely after he turned concerned in spying for assaults in Denmark towards a newspaper that printed footage of Mohammed, the prophet of Islam.

READ MORE: ‘Terrorists had been planning huge assault on 26/11 anniversary’: Modi holds overview meet with Shah, Doval

He was in the end tried in a Chicago federal courtroom for his position within the Mumbai bloodbath and sentenced to 35 years in jail when he was 52 years outdated in 2013.

His whereabouts now should not identified.

His identify didn’t present up when IANS ran a search of the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) database of prisoners.

Media studies stated that Headley was attacked in a federal jail in 2018 and brought to a Chicago hospital.

However based on the European Basis for South Asian Research, his lawyer John Theis denied that there was such an assault.

It quoted him as saying, “I’m in common communication with Headley. There isn’t a foundation for the reportse Though I can not disclose his location, he’s neither in Chicago nor in a hospital.”

Gilani’s affiliate, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, was discovered on the BOP database listed as a present prisoner within the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Centre with the discharge date proven as “unknown.”

The previous Pakistani army physician Rana had recruited Gilani to work for the LeT and he was convicted in 2011 in a Chicago federal courtroom in connection plot towards the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

However Rana, who additionally has Canadian citizenship, was acquitted of the costs relating to his alleged involvement within the Mumbai assaults. He had visited India and stayed on the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, one of many targets of the Pakistanis.

The US has refused to extradite Gilani or Rana to India, though it allowed Indian investigators to interview Gilani.

Gilani is the US-born son of a Pakistani diplomat and an American lady with excessive society hyperlinks in Philadelphia. He took on his mom’s maiden surname of Headley with David, an anglicised model of Daood, to cover his Pakistani origins as he carried out his terrorist missions.

After a childhood in Pakistan, he returned to the US and labored for some time along with his mom at her restaurant and pub in Philadelphia.

His household is well-connected in Pakistan and his half-brother Danyal Gilani is a Pakistani diplomat based mostly now in France and had been the chairman of the Pakistani Movie Censor Board.

Daood Gilani had reportedly been arrested twice on drug smuggling costs and turned an informant for the DEA. His first arrest was in 1988 and the second in 1997. It’s attainable that the second arrest was staged to ascertain his credibility so he might return the subsequent yr to Pakistan on a visit paid for by the DEA to assemble intelligence for it.

ProPublica reported, “The convicted drug smuggler radicalised and joined Lashkar in Pakistan within the late 1990s whereas spying on Pakistani heroin traffickers as a paid informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration.”

After the Mumbai assaults that came about whereas George W. Bush was president, his successor Barack Obama’s Director of Nationwide Intelligence James Clapper performed an “after-action overview” of how the Headley case was dealt with.

His workplace admitted after the in 2010 that the “authorities didn’t join Headley to terrorism till 2009, after the assaults on Mumbai.”

His workplace stated in a press release, “The overview finds that whereas some info regarding Headley was out there to United States authorities officers previous to the Mumbai assaults, below the insurance policies and procedures that existed on the time, it was not sufficiently established that he was engaged in plotting a terrorist assault in India. Subsequently, the USA authorities didn’t move info on Headley to the Indian authorities previous to the assaults.”

“Had the USA authorities sufficiently established he was engaged in plotting a terrorist assault in India, the data would have most assuredly been transferred promptly to the Indian authorities,” it stated.

Nevertheless it additionally asserted, “The overview finds the USA authorities aggressively and promptly offered the Indian authorities with strategic warnings relating to Lashkar e-Tayyiba’s threats to a number of targets in Mumbai between June and September 2008.”

G.Okay. Pillai, who was India’s Residence Secretary, expressed disappointment that Washington didn’t give India details about the actions of Gilani, who continued to go to India even after the assaults.

Clapper stated in 2013 US intelligence programme to comb up huge quantities of communications information had helped cease the plot involving Gilani towards the Danish newspaper.

However ProPublica questioned the assertion saying, “The federal government surveillance solely caught up with Headley after the US had been tipped by British intelligence. And even that victory got here after seven years through which US intelligence didn’t cease Headley as he roamed the globe on missions for Islamic terror networks and Pakistan’s spy company.”

ProPublica reported that there had been early tipoffs from folks about Gilani’s radicalisation.

It stated that after the 9/11 assaults within the US 2001, “Investigators questioned him in entrance of his DEA handlers in New York, and he was cleared.”

A yr later the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) obtained one other tip about his terrorist hyperlinks and but once more in 2005 when one among his wives, who had him arrested on home violence allegations, informed counter-terrorism investigators about his radical views and coaching in Pakistan, ProPublica reported.

It repored quoting officers, “Inquiries had been performed, however he was not interviewed or positioned on a watch record.”

One other set of suggestions got here in late 2007 and early 2008, when one other spouse of Gilani informed US embassy officers in Islamabad that “Headley was a terrorist and a spy, describing his frequent journeys to Mumbai and his keep on the Taj Mahal Palace Lodge,” ProPublica reported.

It stated that based on officers, the lead was not pursued as a result of they didn’t assume it was particular sufficient.

ProPublica stated that based on courtroom paperwork the final tip got here from a household good friend after the Mumbai bloodbath and a cousin on Gilani who was questioned by the FBI tipped him off.

All of the obvious bungling and the Clapper overview might have led to some modifications in how the US offers with terrorism tipoffs to keep away from one other 26/11.

Clapper’s workplace stated, “Because the December 2009 tried terrorist assaults on the USA, the Obama Administration has centered on info sharing reforms – new watchlisting insurance policies and procedures have been enacted, in addition to an elevated give attention to the pursuit of seemingly disparate and unrelated info relating to studies on people and their actions.”

READ MORE: India rejects Pakistan’s record of terrorists concerned in 26/11 Mumbai assaults

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