Born Daood Gilani, David Coleman Headley, a confessed Lashkar operative and ISI spy who is facing trial in the US remains a shadowy figure in India despite his proven role in the Mumbai attacks of November 2008. Now ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest, has carried out a major investigation into the 51-year-old Headley’s past, his involvement with the US Drug Enforcement Administration as an informant and the failure of US agencies to pursue repeated warnings over seven years that could have stopped his lethal odyssey sooner — and perhaps prevented the Mumbai attack. ProPublica’s detailed investigative report reveals the story of his many escapes from intervention by US authorities before the Mumbai massacre. The story boggles in its details of the multiple times he was almost nailed crossing borders, the unconvincing excuses of various US officials, and the suspicions of the Indian authorities.
File photo of Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai.
Writes Sebastian Rotella in ProPublica: “US officials say Headley simply slipped through the cracks. If that is true, his story is a trail of bureaucratic dysfunction. But if his ties to the US government were more extensive than disclosed — as widely believed in India — an operative may have gone rogue with tragic results. Both scenarios reveal the kind of breakdowns that the government has spent billions to correct since the 11 September attacks.”
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