New Delhi: The US had never shared
anyone's name despite two of the three wives of Pakistani-
American David Headley forewarning FBI of terror attacks in
India, officials said on Monday.
Puncturing the US claim that it had shared with India
the general "threat information" it had received at that time,
top government officials said American authorities should have
shared the name of the terrorist who had plotted the 26/11
Mumbai attacks that claimed 166 lives.
"We want to ask a simple question - did they share the
name? If not, why not did they share the name," an official
said, adding such a step could have resulted in his arrest.
Officials here believe that had the US shared the name
after getting inputs from his two wives, Headley could have
been easily arrested during his multiple visit to India prior
and after the Mumbai attacks.
According to US media reports, 50-year-old Headley's
American wife had given the FBI in New York a tip-off about
his LeT links in 2005 while his young Moroccan wife had told
authorities in the US embassy in Islamabad, less than a year
before the 2008 Mumbai attacks, that he was plotting a terror
Mike Hammer, spokesman of the National Security
Council, White House, told PTI, "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
He said 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," he
Headley's 27-year-old Moroccan wife, Faiza Outalha,
claims she even showed the US embassy officials in Islamabad a
photo of Headley and herself in the Taj Mahal Hotel, where
they stayed twice in April and May 2007. "Hotel records
confirm their stay," the New York Times reported.
"I told them, he's either a terrorist, or he's working
for you," she recalled saying to American officials at the US
embassy in Islamabad. "Indirectly, they told me to get lost,"
she was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Despite those warnings by two of his three wives, Headley roamed far and wide on LeT's behalf between 2002 and 2009, receiving training in small-calibre weapons and countersurveillance, scouting targets for attacks, and building a network of connections that extended from Chicago to Pakistan's lawless northwestern frontier, the Times said.
Headley, 50, it said, was a longtime informer in Pakistan for the US Drug Enforcement Administration whose roots in Pakistan and the US allowed him to move easily in both worlds.
An examination of Headley's movements in the years before the Nov 2008 Mumbai attack, based on interviews in Washington, Pakistan, India and Morocco, shows that he had overlapping, even baffling, contacts among seemingly disparate groups - Pakistani intelligence, terrorists, and American drug investigators, the Times said.
And she said she told them Headley assumed different identities: as a devout Muslim who went by the name Daood when he was in Pakistan, and as an American playboy named David, when he was in India.
Headley was married at least three times, according to the Times. For one period he was married to all three wives - Outalha, who is a medical student half his age; a New York makeup artist; and a conservative Pakistani Muslim - at the same time.
Besides Headley's guilty plea in a US court, seven Pakistani suspects have been charged there. American investigators say a critical figure who has not been charged is Sajid Mir, an LeT operative who became close to Headley as the plans for the Mumbai operation unfolded. The investigators fear he is still working on other plots.
First Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 00:35