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US to review handling of info given by Headley's wives: Report

world Updated: Oct 22, 2010 15:09 IST

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The US has launched a review of the US agencies' handling of inputs provided by two of the three wives of Mumbai attacks plotter David Headley about his radical connections and involvement in the 26/11 strikes.

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Admiral (Retd) James Clapper "has initiated an after-action review to determine lessons learnt," Jamie Smith, the newly-appointed spokeswoman of DNI, said, ahead of President Barack Obama's India visit in early November.

"Reviews of this nature are an important part of improving existing processes. Since these events occurred, advancements in information sharing systems have been made by applying the lessons learned from these reviews," she said.

A federal law enforcement official was quoted as saying in a report on ProPublica website that the State Department did report information about a 2007 warning from Headley's Moroccan wife after she met twice with officials of the US diplomatic security bureau and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Pakistan.

Officials have determined that the diplomatic security officer sent a written report about her allegations to the FBI, CIA and DEA, ProPublica said.

What happened after that will be a focus of the inquiry to be conducted by none other than Clapper. The White House and the State Department have so far maintained that there was no lapse in the investigation based on the information provided by the two wives of Headley – first in 2005 and then in 2007.

The Obama Administration has insisted that the tip-off was taken seriously, but this was general in nature and not specific to those related to Mumbai. "Had we known about the timing and other specifics related to the Mumbai attacks, we would have immediately shared those details with the government of India," spokesman of the National Security Council Mike Hammer had said earlier.

"The US regularly provided threat information to Indian officials in 2008 before the attacks in Mumbai. It is our government's solemn responsibility to notify other nations of possible terrorist activity on their soil," Hammer had said in reference to the latest report on the Mumbai terrorist attack.

ProPublica said officials declined to provide further specifics but the review is certain to examine the response of federal agencies to the warnings and the extent to which the enigmatic Headley's work as a US informant overlapped with his activity as a militant of the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist group.

"These events happened some time ago and given recent press reports he (DNI) initiated an action-after review to look into whether any further improvements on the information sharing system need to be made," a federal official was quoted as saying by ProPublica.