Is Pakistani-American insurgent a rogue CIA agent?
November 30, 2009 2 Comments
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Earlier this month US authorities said they wouldn’t let an Indian intelligence team question Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley, who was arrested by the FBI in October for plotting an attack on a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. The Indians said they wanted to talk to Headley, born Daood Gillani, about his reported association with Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani militant group responsible for several high-profile attacks inside India. But US officials blamed “bureaucratic” and “procedural” hurdles for denying Indian investigators access to Headley. Considering the close security ties between Washington and New Delhi, intelligence observers were surprised by the US move. Why did the FBI bar Indian intelligence from questioning Headley? Some Indian commentators suggest an intriguing theory: that Headley may be “an undercover agent whom the [US] authorities are shielding from the media and the hapless Indian investigators who were told to take a hike when they came to [Washington to] interview [him]”. Arguably, it is a far-fetched scenario. But Indian commentators point out that Headley “frequently introduced himself as a CIA agent” while in India, and that he agreed to work as an undercover agent for the US Drug Enforcement Administration in 1998, after he was arrested for trying to smuggle heroin into the US from Pakistan. They also point out that it was in 2006, after becoming a DEA undercover agent, that Headley joined Lashkar-e-Taiba and was trained in a secret LeT camp in Pakistan. Headley’s operational identity aside, most agree that the FBI’s refusal to share him with Indian intelligence is at least strange and perhaps even suspicious. We’ll be keeping an eye on this.