Monday, November 8, 2010

Lack of information on Headley prevented U.S. from alerting India

Mumbai : The United States did not provide information to India on David Headley before 26/11, as intelligence inputs it had about the Mumbai terror plotter was not enough to sufficiently establish his role in planning terrorist attack there, America's spy chief has said.

Director of National Intelligence (DNI), James R Clapper, however, in a statement said that the US did provide information to India about LeT threat to several targets in Mumbai between June and September 2008.

The statement from Clapper, who oversees functioning of all the major US intelligence agencies, comes following a review of intelligence information that America had about Headley.

"The review finds the United States government aggressively and promptly provided the Indian government with strategic warnings regarding LeT's threats to several targets in Mumbai between June and September 2008," Clapper said yesterday in a statement.

"The review finds that while some information relating to Headley was available to United States government officials prior to the Mumbai attacks, under the policies and procedures that existed at the time, it was not sufficiently established that he was engaged in plotting a terrorist attack in India."

"Therefore, the United States government did not pass information on Headley to the Indian government prior to the attacks," he said.

The DNI ordered for the review after ProPubica.Co, The Washington Post and The New York Times in a series of investigative articles last month said that Headley's two wives had provided tip-off to US authorities about his LeT connections.

"The review finds that the United States government did not connect Headley to terrorism until 2009, after the attacks on Mumbai. Had the United States government sufficiently established he was engaged in plotting a terrorist attack in India, the information would have most assuredly been transferred promptly to the Indian government," he said.

"Since the December 2009 attempted terrorist attacks on the United States, the Obama Administration has focused on information sharing reforms -- new watch listing policies and procedures have been enacted, as well as an increased focus on the pursuit of seemingly disparate and unrelated information regarding reports on individuals and their activities," Clapper said.

Reviews of this nature are not uncommon and are designed to establish whether any future improvements in information sharing processes and other intelligence procedures may be needed, he said.

"United States Intelligence Community policy and practice is to share terrorism-related information promptly with our foreign partners when we deem that information potentially credible and relevant to their national security."

"We do exactly that with partners around the world every day, including India, as was done in this case. The United States takes counter-terrorism and broader national security cooperation with our Indian partners very seriously; our respective intelligence and law enforcement professionals work closely together on a range of issues of mutual concern," he added.
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