David Headley: Why Were Warnings Ignored?
David Headley was already known to the F.B.I, when his young Moroccan wife warned American authorities in Pakistan that she believed her husband was plotting a terrorist attack.
Headley was a longtime informer in Pakistan for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. His ties to the United States and Pakistan enabled him to move easily between both worlds.
However, in 2008, less than a year after authorities were warned, militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba were responsible for a terrorist strike, which killed at least 163 people in Mumbai, India. Headley was the chief reconnaissance scout for the group; and paved the way for Lashkars strike.
Prior to the 2008 warning, Headley was also tipped off in 2005 by an American woman, who he was also married to. She told federal investigators, in New York, that she understood him to be a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Despite these two warnings, Headley was left to his own devices, traveling extensively on Lashkars behalf between 2002 and 2009. His involvement with the group included training in small caliber weapons and countersurveillance, scouting targets for attack and creating a web of connections extending from Pakistan to Chicago.
Headleys connections were a mixed bag of contacts, including Pakistani intelligence, terrorists and American drug investigators. They point towards an unsettling concern about a communications breakdown in the fight against terrorism.
It has also raised eyebrows as to whether Headleys movements werent tracked sufficiently because he had been an informant for the D.E.A.
More so, with Pakistan a major ally in the war against Al Qaeda, it may indicate why American officials are wary to pursue evidence revealing some officials in Pakistan were planning an attack that killed six Americans.
Headley has now pleaded guilty in a United States court and seven Pakistani suspects have also been charged there.