Two of the three wives of the “passionately anti-Indian” David Headley forewarned the FBI of the Mumbai attacks, the media here reported, even as the U.S. on Sunday said it had shared with India the general “threat information” it had received at that time.
Fifty-year-old Headley's American wife had given the FBI in New York a tip-off on his LeT links in 2005, while his young Moroccan wife had told authorities in the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, less than a year before the 2008 Mumbai attacks, that the Pakistani-American was plotting a terror strike.
“Despite those warnings by two of his three wives, Headley roamed far and wide on Lashkar's behalf between 2002 and 2009, receiving training in small-calibre weapons and counter surveillance, scouting targets for attacks, and building a network of connections that extended from Chicago to Pakistan's lawless north-western frontier,” The New York Times said.
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 India.”
He made the remarks when asked about an investigative report on the Mumbai attacks published by ProPublica, an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.
He said the U.S. “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.”
Another official denied that the U.S. did not share any information with Indian authorities. “U.S. authorities took seriously what Headley's former wives said. Their information was of a general nature and did not suggest any particular terrorist plot.”
Separately, an Indian source, who was involved in the investigation of the Mumbai attacks, said on condition of anonymity, that India did receive the information, which was general and not specific in nature.
Headley's 27-year-old Moroccan wife, Faiza Outalha, claims she even showed the U.S. 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 NYT reported.
Ms. Outalha said that in two meetings with officials at the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, she told them that her husband had many friends who were known to be LeT members.