New York, 25 November (IANS). Even after all the anti-terrorism measures adopted by the United States after the devastating 9/11 attack, a Pakistani-American goes to India and plans an attack there.
Dawood Saeed Geelani, who used the name David Coleman Headley, carried out 5 espionage missions in India on behalf of Pakistan government-backed terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba and then in 2008 there was 26/11 attack. Of the 165 people killed in this attack, 10 were Pakistani and 6 were Americans and a total of more than 300 people were injured.
It has agreed to work for both Lashkar and Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). It is also likely to have links with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.
Geelani, who works with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), is believed to have been an informer in the US, India, Pakistan and Europe, whose actions remain a mystery even today.
The US has admitted its intelligence shortcomings of not linking it with the Mumbai attack, although it claimed that it had given other information in the 2008 attack that shook India.
ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization looking into the Gilani / Headley case, has claimed that the US authorities had received several tips, but by then it was too late.
He was arrested by US authorities in 2009 after he was involved in spying on attacks in Denmark against a newspaper that published pictures of the Prophet Mohammed of Islam. He was finally produced in a federal court in Chicago for his role in the Mumbai massacre and was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 at the age of 52. However, there is no information about his whereabouts now.
When the IANS looked at the database of prisoners of the US Federal Prison Bureau (BoP), it did not have its name in it. Media reports said Headley was attacked in a federal prison in 2018 and was later taken to a hospital in Chicago. But according to the European Foundation for South Asian Studies, his lawyer John Thies denied the attack. The study quoted the lawyer as saying, “I am in regular communication with Headley.” The things said in the media report are baseless but I cannot disclose his whereabouts, he is neither in Chicago nor in the hospital.
Geelani’s aide Tahawwur Hussain Rana is shown as unknown in the BOP database of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center. Rana is a former Pakistani military doctor and he recruited Geelani to work for Lashkar. In 2011, he was convicted in a federal court in Chicago in a Danish newspaper case. But Rana, who holds Canadian citizenship, was acquitted of allegations of his alleged involvement in the Mumbai attacks. While he had also visited India, he also stayed in the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, the target of the attack.
The US refused to extradite either Gilani or Rana to India, although Indian investigators were allowed to interview Gilani.
Headley, a US-born son of a Pakistani diplomat whose mother is an American woman from a high-ranking society in Philadelphia. To hide the identity of his Pakistani origin in his terrorist mission, he used his mother’s surname in David and surname instead of his name Dawood. Her childhood was spent in Pakistan and on returning to America she worked with her mother in her restaurant and pub in Philadelphia.
His family is well connected to Pakistan. His half-brother Daniel Gilani is a Pakistani diplomat in France and has previously served as the chairman of the Pakistani Film Censor Board.
Dawood Gilani was arrested twice in the past, in 1988 and 1997, when he was charged with drug smuggling. ProPublica reported that the convicted drug smuggler had become a Pakistani LeT fanatic in the late 1990s and a paid informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The Mumbai attacks took place during George W. Bush’s presidency and then he was replaced by Barack Obama, when his National Intelligence Director James Clapper made a review of the action taken to handle the Headley case. His office admitted in 2010 that the government had not linked Headley to terrorism until 2009, until a terrorist attack took place in Mumbai.
His office said in a statement, the review found that some information related to Headley was with the United States government officials prior to the Mumbai attacks but according to the policies and procedures that were in place at the time, it was not adequately established. He was involved in plotting a terrorist attack in India.
The report said, if the United States government could have done so, it would have given this information to the Indian government immediately.
GK, the Home Secretary of India Pillai expressed disappointment that Washington did not inform India of Gilani’s activities, even after the attacks.
ProPublica asserted, “The government was able to catch Headley when British intelligence informed him about it.” During this period, for 7 years, Headley roamed around the world for the missions of the spy agency of his Islamic terrorist network Pakistan and the US intelligence agency completely failed.
After the 2001 9/11 attacks in the US, investigators questioned him in front of his DEA operatives in New York and he escaped unscathed.
A year later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received another tip about his terrorist links, and in 2005, when his wife, who arrested Headley on domestic violence charges, revealed Headley’s radical views and training. did.
The officials were quoted in the report as saying, they were interrogated, but they were not interviewed nor were they placed on the list.
Further tips about Headley were received when another of his wives told US Embassy officials in Islamabad that Headley was a terrorist and a spy and repeatedly told him to go to Mumbai and stay at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
Even then the authorities did not follow her because they did not feel that it was enough. The last tip came after the Mumbai massacre by a family friend and his cousin, who were questioned by the FBI.
After the review of the clapper several changes would have been made so that another 26/11 could be avoided. Since December 2009, the Obama administration has focused on improvements in information sharing, Clapper’s office said. New procedures were adopted and surveillance was increased to keep information about reports about individuals and their activities.