Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another Informant story

U.S. Had Warnings About Plotter of Mumbai Attack

David C. Headley, who worked as a scout for the terrorists who attacked the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbia, in which 163 people were killed, was an informant for the DEA.

"An examination of Mr. Headley’s movements in the years before the bombing, 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.

"Those ties are rekindling concerns that the Mumbai bombings represent another communications breakdown in the fight against terrorism, and are raising the question of whether United States officials were reluctant to dig deeper into Mr. Headley’s movements because he had been an informant for the D.E.A."

Two of his three wives came forward to warn American authorities, warnings that apparently were ignored.

"Mr. Headley’s Moroccan wife, Faiza Outalha “I told them, he’s either a terrorist, or he’s working for you,” she recalled saying to American officials at the United States Embassy in Islamabad. “Indirectly, they told me to get lost.” 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. More than that, however, Ms. Outalha says, she went to the American authorities looking for answers to questions about Mr. Headley’s real identity."

Then in December 2007, Ms. Outalha talked her way into the heavily guarded American Embassy in Islamabad. She went back a month later with more information. A senior administration official acknowledged that Ms. Outalha met twice with an assistant regional security officer and an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer at the embassy. However, the administration official said Ms. Outalha offered almost no details to give credibility to her warnings.

“The texture of the meeting was that her husband was involved with bad people, and they were planning jihad,” the official said. “But she gave no details about who was involved, or what they planned to target.”
From reading this article it seems like American intelligence officials at the time, especially those in upper management, had to have everything told to them, what is targeted, by whom, with what, when, the names and addresses of all plotters, full dossiers on all the bad guys that includes what their favorite color is, basically all their questions answered, all neatly packaged, with gift wrapping and a bow before they did a damn thing.  This reminds me of Condi Rice's behavior as well as all the Bushies who apologized for her when the title of the PDB came out, "Bin Laden Determined To Strike In U.S." They said there was no actionable intelligence.  They said it was a historical document.  Al Franken called it right at the time when he ridiculed this notion that the PDB was historical, "it would be historical if it had said, 'Bin-Laden USED TO BE Determined to Strike in the U.S., BUT NOT ANYMORE!"

Thank God she wasn't in an important position, like say the National Security Advisor to the President, you know, someone who can get thousands of people all over the world to do something, with a large top secret budget that could get some "actionable intelligence." Oh wait, she was. 

Why does this remind me of the Bush era? Because the Mumbai attacks happened during the Bush era.

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