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US denies Headley wives' warnings ignored

The United States has admitted that one of the wives of David Headley twice warned the US embassy in Pakistan about her husband's terrorist links, but denied the warnings were ignored.

world Updated: Oct 19, 2010 09:35 IST

The United States has admitted that one of the wives of David Headley twice warned the US embassy in Pakistan about her husband's terrorist links, but denied the warnings were ignored. It said there was no "specific information" in those warnings.

There was nothing specific to follow up on in the warnings about Pakistani-American Headley, now convicted of aiding the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, officials said on Monday.

If the United States had had specific information on possible planning for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks it would have shared it with India, State Department spokesman PJ Crowley told reporters.

"We would have absolutely provided it to the Indian government, you know, beforehand," he said. "The fact is that while we had information and concerns, it did not detail a time or place of the attack."

Any information she did provide was followed up on, Crowley said. "We followed up on that information and provided it to relevant agencies across the US government."

"Did we follow up? The answer is yes. Have - did we share information with our security partners, including India, you know, prior to the Mumbai attacks? The answer is yes," he said.

"We have cooperated with India, you know, since then," he said. "We have an extensive dialogue with India. As we build a strategic partnership with India and security is one of those areas, our cooperation with India has expanded."

"We continue to cooperate extensively with Indian officials. We were doing so prior to the Mumbai attacks. We have done so since the Mumbai attacks. Security is an area of significant dialogue between our law-enforcement and intelligence agencies and those of the Indian government," Crowley said.

"We will continue to cooperate with India on the security front, even as we expand our dialogue and our cooperation with India on many, many fronts. And obviously, this will be part of the president's, you know, visit to India next month," he said.

Meanwhile, CNN quoted an unnamed senior official as saying Headley's Moroccan wife "expressed concern about individuals that her husband was hanging around with."

"She had concerns that they were involved in a terrorist plot. She had no details about who he was associated with or what they might be contemplating," he said. "There was nothing specific. There was nothing necessarily to follow up on."

The official said the wife "walked into the US Embassy in December 2007. There was a follow-up meeting in 2008. That was the last contact that we had with her."

An American former wife of Headley also expressed concern about Headley's activities to US investigators two years earlier, news reports say, but Headley was able to continue his contacts and training with militants in Pakistan.

The senior US official denied, however, that the information was ignored.

"We took what the wives told us seriously," he insisted.

The official said the State Department shared the information with "relevant" US agencies. He said he did not know whether that information was shared with Pakistan. He would not say whether the information was shared with India, although he added that, as a matter of course, the US shares intelligence with India and did so both before and after the Mumbai attacks.

Asked whether the State Department fully investigated the Moroccan wife's concerns, the official said that since the United States has limited authority in a foreign country it "checked out what she told us." He provided no details.

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