`Threat info` shared with India before 26/11: US

The US remarks came amid reports that two of David Headley`s three wives had warned the FBI beforehand of the Mumbai attacks.

Washington/New York: Amid reports that two
of David Headley`s three wives had warned the FBI beforehand
of the Mumbai attacks, the US Sunday said the "threat
information", though general in nature, was duly shared with
India.

"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," Mike
Hammer, spokesman of the National Security Council, White
House, said.

He made the remarks when asked about an investigative
report on Mumbai attacks published by ProPublica, an
independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative
journalism in the public interest.

The New York Times also said that two of 50-year-old
Headley`s three wives had warned American law enforcement
authorities -- in 2005 and less than a year before the 2008
Mumbai attacks -- of his links with the Pakistan-based LeT
terror outfit and the plot to strike India`s financial hub.

"Despite those warnings by two of his three wives, Mr
Headley roamed far and wide on Lashkar`s behalf between 2002
and 2009, receiving training in small-caliber weapons and
counter surveillance, scouting targets for attacks, and
building a network of connections that extended from Chicago
to Pakistan`s lawless northwestern frontier," the daily said.

Hammer 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 said.

Another US official denied that the United States did not
share any terrorist-attack related information with Indian
authorities.

"US authorities took seriously what Headley`s former
wives said. Their information was of a general nature and did
not suggest any particular terrorist plot," a senior
Administration official said.

Separately, an Indian source, who was involved in the
investigations of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, said on
the condition of anonymity, that India did receive the
information, which was general and it was not specific in
nature.

An examination of Pakistani-American Headley`s movements
in the years before the Mumbai attacks, 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 NYT said.

Headley, who has pleaded guilty to all 12 terror charges
under a plea bargain, was known both to Pakistani and American
security officials long before his arrest as a terrorist, the
daily said.

"In several interviews in her home, Mr Headley`s Moroccan
wife, Faiza Outalha, described the warnings she gave to
American officials less than a year before gunmen attacked
several popular tourist attractions in Mumbai.

"She claims she even showed the (US) embassy officials (in
Islamabad) a photo of Mr Headley and herself in the Taj Mahal
Hotel, where they stayed twice in April and May 2007. Hotel
records confirm their stay," the newspaper reported.

27-year-old Outalha said that in two meetings with
American officials at the US embassy in Islamabad, she told
the authorities that her husband had many friends who were
known members of Lashkar-e-Toiba.

"She said she told them that he was passionately
anti-Indian, but that he travelled to India all the time for
business deals that never seemed to amount to much," the
report said.

"And she said she told them Mr 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," the newspaper said.

"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.

The texture of the meeting was that her husband was
involved with "bad people" and they were planning `jihad`, a
US administration official was quoted as saying.

"But she gave no details about who was involved, or what
they planned to target," the official added. "Given that she
had been jilted, Ms Outalha acknowledged she may not have been
composed. I wanted him in Guantanamo," she said.

"More than that, however, Ms Outalha says, she went to
the American authorities looking for answers to questions
about Mr Headley`s real identity. In public he criticised the
United States for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan," the
newspaper said.

Sipping tea in a cafe overlooking a plaza in Morocco,
Outalha said that in hindsight, she is convinced that Headley
is "both men" and "claims to be puzzled that American
officials did not heed her warning," the NYT said.

"I told them anything I could to get their attention,"
she said of the American authorities at the embassy in
Islamabad. "It was as if I was shouting, `This guy was a
terrorist! You have to do something`," she was quoted as
saying.

PTI

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