INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM MONITOR---PAPER NO.632
Ever since the case of David Coleman Headley broke out in October,2009, I have been repeatedly pointing out the following in my articles and TV interviews:
• Headley was a quadruple agent, who was working for the USA's Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Lashkar-e-Toiba ( LET).
• The FBI has already reached a plea bargain with him in order to avoid any formal production of evidence against him in the court which might result in details regarding his links with the US intelligence coming out.
• The FBI would not extradite him to India and woulde not allow the Indian agencies to have access to him in order to prevent the Indian agencies from questioning him about his links with the US intelligence on the one side and with the Pakistani intelligence on the other.
2. Extracts from two articles on this subject written by me on December 12 and 16,2009, are annexed. What I have been writing and what I have been saying for the last five months has proved correct. The media has reported on the morning of March 18,2010, that Headley was going to plead guilty to some charges as part of a plea bargain process entered into by him with the FBI. What does it mean? Firstly, there will be no formal introduction of the evidence against him and no cross-examination. Secondly, the relatives of the 166 innocent persons killed in the Mumbai 26/11 terrorist strikes cannot seek the permission of the court to be represented by a lawyer to question him on the details of his involvement in the 26/11 terrorist strikes. Thirdly, the details of his links with the US intelligence community will be covered up. Fourthly, the two Pakistani nationals living in Pakistan----Ilyas Kashmiri of the 313 Brigade, who had threatened terrorist strikes in India during the major sports events of this year, and Maj. (retd) Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed alias Pasha of the Pakistan Army, who have been cited as co-accused in the FBI case against Headley because of their role as his handling officers, will escape prosecution.
3. Unless one is naive beyond redemption, it was clear from the beginning that the Obama Administration and its FBI were trying frantically to prevent the truth regarding Headley from coming out. I wrote on December 12,2009: "Senior officials of the White House and the FBI have been taking close and unusual interest in the investigation and prosecution. The Director of the FBI himself was reported to have visited Chicago before Headley was produced before the court. Many in India have analysed this as indicative of the close interest taken by President Obama in counter-terrorism co-operation with India. A more plausible explanation is that this is indicative of the concerns in the White House and the FBI that if the prosecution is not properly handled, the case could result in a bombshell if it emerges that one of the active conspirators of 26/11 was an agent of a US agency. This could lead to suits for heavy damages against the US Government from the relatives of the Americans, Israelis and other foreigners killed."
4. Headley will be protected. The FBI will be protected. The US administration will be protected. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) will be protected. The Pakistani Government and its Army will be protected.
5. Only we poor Indians will remain unprotected because the Govt. of India headed by Dr.Manmohan Singh cannot protect us.
6. What naivete, Mr.Prime Minister! What naivete!( 18-3-2010)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )
( Extracts from my article of December 12,2009, titled "FBI Avoiding Focus on Headley’s Links With Narcotics Control Agency" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers36/paper3545.html )
Sections of the US media have pointed out that the fact that the report filed against him by the FBI in the court on December 7 was called a Criminal Information Report and not an indictment indicates that the FBI has already reached a plea bargain deal with him under which as a quid pro quo for his admitting some charges when the trial formally commences next month, the FBI will not press other charges against him. His admitting some charges and the FBI dropping other charges will obviate the need for an elaborate trial with the introduction of detailed evidence.
This would prevent any deliberate or inadvertent disclosure by him of his work in the Af-Pak region for the DEA, which works in close co-operation with its Pakistani counterpart. The two have many joint operations.
It is very likely that the US will not allow his independent interrogation by Indian investigators and that it will not agree to his extradition to India as that might result in the Indian authorities coming to know not only of his contacts with Pakistani agencies, but also with the DEA.
Senior officials of the White House and the FBI have been taking close and unusual interest in the investigation and prosecution. The Director of the FBI himself was reported to have visited Chicago before Headley was produced before the court. Many in India have analysed this as indicative of the close interest taken by President Obama in counter-terrorism co-operation with India. A more plausible explanation is that this is indicative of the concerns in the White House and the FBI that if the prosecution is not properly handled, the case could result in a bombshell if it emerges that one of the active conspirators of 26/11 was an agent of a US agency. This could lead to suits for heavy damages against the US Government from the relatives of the Americans, Israelis and other foreigners killed.
( Extracts from my article of December 16,2009, titled " "Headley: A Quadruple Agent" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers36/paper3552.html )
By studying these extracts submitted by the FBI along with other FBI documents submitted by the FBI to the court and US media reports about Headley’s links with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA),one can make the following assessment:
a. Headley was not a double agent, but a quadruple agent. He initially started working for the DEA around 1998. Even if one presumes that initially the FBI and the CIA were not aware of this, they should have become aware of this by 2004 when the National Counter-Terrorism Centre with a common charter and a common data-base was set up by the Bush Administration under the newly-created post of Director National Intelligence (DNI).
b. He started working for the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) sometime in 2005. It is not clear whether he joined the LET at his own instance or at the instance of the FBI or the CIA or both in order to penetrate it. He was already visiting Pakistan at the instance of the DEA since 1998. Since 2006, he started visiting India too. The DEA and the FBI would have been aware of his visits since every time a conscious agent of an agency travels abroad his passport is scrutinized by the controlling agency on his return. This is a security precaution followed by all intelligence agencies.
c. He started working for the 313 Brigade of Ilyas Kashmiri towards the end of 2008 and agreed to visit Copenhagen to collect operational information for a possible terrorist attack. This was probably not at the instance of the FBI, which came to know accidentally of Headley volunteering himself to undertake a task in Copenhagen while monitoring the chat room of the old students of the Army Cadet School at Hasan Abdal. Both Headley and Rana studied in the school. The FBI put Headley under electronic surveillance after obtaining orders of a relevant court.
d. While doing the electronic surveillance to monitor his involvement in the Northern or Copenhagen or Micky Mouse project for the 313 Brigade, the FBI came across a series of E-mail intercepts in July and August, 2009, which showed that Headley had helped the LET in preparing itself for the 26/11 terrorist strikes and had agreed to help the LET in carrying out another terrorist strike in India for which he was to visit India. The FBI started monitoring the meetings and conversations of Headley and Rana and recorded their conversation of September 7, 2009, in a car which clearly indicated their involvement in the 26/11 terrorist strike.
e. The communications between Headley and his LET handler intercepted by the FBI in July and August also indicated that he was planning to visit India in October to prepare the ground for another terrorist strike. The FBI had two options---either allow him to go to India, alert the Indian intelligence and keep him under surveillance or arrest him before he left for Pakistan and India. If he had been allowed to go to India, watched there and arrested by the Indian intelligence, his past contacts with the US agencies and his role in 26/11 would have come to the notice of the Indian authorities. There is no evidence so far to show that till July 2009 the FBI was aware of his active role in 26/11. They were probably only aware of his frequent visits to Pakistan and India on behalf of the DEA operations. The FBI arrested him when he was about to leave for Pakistan and India on October 3.