US agencies were forewarned about Headley 4 times before 2008 Mumbai bombings (PART 1)

November 6th, 2010 - 11:03 am ICT by ANI  

Washington, Nov 6 (ANI): In a shocking revelation, a review being conducted for the director of national intelligence in the United States has found that US agencies had received at least four warnings- before the Mumbai terror siege incident- that David Coleman Headley, a central figure in the 2008 attacks, was training or working with Pakistani militants.

According to officials, in the seven years in which leads accumulated, Headley was not questioned or placed on a terror watch list, the Washington Post reported.

The review, which is not complete, has found that allegations about the Pakistani American businessman’s extremist ties began as early as 2001 and were more numerous and specific than previously disclosed, officials said.

The DNI launched a review of the Headley case after ProPublica and The Washington Post reported last month that federal investigators in New York City looked into a 2005 tip from Headley’s wife. The New York Times then reported a tip from another of his wives in Pakistan in 2007, the paper said.

The review has found four additional warnings, in 2001, 2002, April 2008 and December 2008 - a month after Lashkar killed 166 people in Mumbai, six of them Americans. However, 50-year-old Headley was not arrested until October 2009. He has pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges and is cooperating, the paper added.

Although since the 9/11 attacks, the government has invested billions of dollars in new threat-detection systems, the Headley case suggests that flawed information-sharing, an overwhelming flow of raw intelligence and a lack of focus on Lashkar kept investigators from identifying the threat posed by an American terrorist, the paper said.

“It’s a black eye,” said a senior anti-terror official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The problem is the information system. New York didn’t know about Philadelphia. Islamabad didn’t know about Philadelphia or New York.”

The review is expected to address another question: whether Headley’s work as a US informant affected investigations of him. Headley spied on Pakistani drug traffickers for the DEA starting in the late 1990s, though officials say the DEA cut ties with him “well before” Mumbai, the paper added.

Meanwhile, DNI spokeswoman Jamie Smith said she could not comment on the findings.

“Reviews of this nature are not uncommon and an important part of improving existing processes,” Smith said.

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