FBI Overlooked Tip on Mumbai Bomb Complicitor David Headley
Pro Publica has a lengthy investigative article on admitted Mumbai bombing complicitor and former DEA informant Daood Gilani, aka David Coleman Headley.
The focal point of the article is that Headley's ex-wife told the FBI he had become an extremist involved with Lashkar-i-Taiba back in 2005 when she reported a domestic violence incident between them. The FBI either did nothing or glossed over it. [More...]
In three interviews with federal agents, Headley’s wife said that he was an active militant in the terrorist group Lashkar-i-Taiba, had trained extensively in its Pakistani camps, and had shopped for night vision goggles and other equipment, according to officials and sources close to the case. The wife, whom ProPublica is not identifying to protect her safety, also told agents that Headley had bragged of working as a paid U.S. informant while he trained with the terrorists in Pakistan, according to a person close to the case.
...“We can confirm there was a lead based on his wife’s tip,” said an official who requested anonymity because of pending legal cases. “We can’t get into details.”
I've reported several times on his prior record and the sweetheart deal he got when he became a DEA informant. What's never been answered is whether he was working for a U.S. agency when he went rogue. The Government weakly, through unidentified officials, denies it.
This part of the article is telling.
A federal court discharged him from probation in December 2001, well before the scheduled end date in 2004, court records show. Within two months he was training in Pakistan with Lashkar, which had just been designated a terrorist organization by the United States and Pakistan, documents say.
After the September 11 attacks, Gilani told associates that he planned to train with Lashkar as part of a secret mission for the U.S. government, the person close to the case said.
“The FBI and DEA have joined forces and I am going to work for them,” this person quoted him as saying. “I want to do something important in my life. I want to do something for my country.”
(Not to be picky with Pro Publica, but he was released from supervised release, not probation. He got 5 years supervised release to be served after prison and the court terminated it after about two years.) The docket entries:
Sentencing: Count 1, 15 months imprisonment, 5 years supervised release. Ordered to surrender on 10/9/98.
sealed letter placed in vault
Surrender date continued to 11/6/98
Judgment Returned Executed as to Daood Saleem Gilani; on 11/6/98, Defendant delivered to FCI Fort Dix
ORDER as to Daood Saleem Gilani, endorsed on letter dated 7/14/99 from Howard Leader to Judge Amon, requesting permission to travel to Pakistan from 8.10.99 through 9.15.99. Application granted.
Daood Saleem Gilani. Joint application for termination of Supervised Release granted.
ORDER as to Daood Saleem Gilani. It is ordered that the releasee be discharged from supervised release and that the proceedings in the case be terminated. Signed by Judge Carol B. Amon, on 12/18/01.
It sure sounds like the Government sent him to infiltrate the terrorist group and unbeknownst to them, within a few months, he went rogue. (More here from the Times of India.) And it flew right over the radar of the DEA and FBI....and possibly the CIA, if they were involved.
According to The Telegraph last year, it was British Intelligence that tipped the U.S. about Headley after the Mumbai attacks, resulting in his arrest.
Plenty of egg to go around a lot of faces. No wonder virtually all the pleadings in co-defendant Tahawwur Rana's case are sealed. Someone's hiding something, and since Headley has been singing like a bird for almost a year, it's not him.
Update: McClatchy had a good article on Headley and the timeline here.
Headley began serving his 15-month sentence at Fort Dix in November 1998. But within six months, records show, Headley was out of jail and headed to Pakistan for a monthlong trip -- all with the approval of a federal judge and the Department of Justice. The original sentence called for Headley to remain on probation (note: should be supervised release) five years, until mid-2004. But at the end of 2001, his attorney and the prosecutor together asked the judge to end his probation (supervised release)early. The judge agreed.
Less than 60 days later, the FBI now alleges, Headley was back in Pakistan, this time doing more than dealing drugs: He was training with the terrorists. The U.S. government alleges that Headley attended camps of Lashkar-e-Taiba, "The Army of the Good," in February and August 2002 and three times in 2003.
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