A day after home secretary GK Pillai expressed his disappointment over the US’s initial reluctance to share information on jailed Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) operative David Headley, the US’s director of national intelligence said a review was already on to collate all the information on Headley that US security agencies had.
The findings of the review will be shared with India, the US said on Wednesday. "There is a vast amount of information within the US intelligence system, as well as the kind of information we received from Headley’s ex-wives. We want to get all the facts together as best,” said Ben Rhodes of the US National Security Council, while briefing Indian journalists on President Barack Obama’s coming visit to India.
Though not yet officially admitted or confirmed by US authorities, Headley was an agent of the US Drug Enforcement Agency, which was using him to bust narcotics rings linked to Pakistan and that region.
Next, he was used by the agency running him to infiltrate the Al Qaeda and terror outfits allied with it. He managed to get close to the LeT but by then had become a double agent, and helped the LeT plan and carry out the 26/11 Mumbai attack.
There has been a continuing flow of information on Headley that Indian security agencies believe was kept from them despite claims of intelligence sharing.
The latest shock came from a news report that said the FBI was told by one of Headley’s two wives way back in 2005 about his trips to Pakistan to train with terrorists. His other wife also told the US — its embassy in Islamabad — about his friendship with suspicious people she thought were terrorists.
That was in 2006, when Headley was surveying 26/11 targets. Neither tip was passed on to India then. The US has said the information in both instances was too general to be passed on. And it did pass on specific information when it had something. India’s case is that even after 26/11, there was no information about Headley from the US. India got to know about the wives from newspaper reports.
Indian intelligence agencies have said this was a reflection of lack of “complete fit” on intelligence sharing between the two countries.