Was Mumbai Suspect a Double Agent for U.S.?
By Staff News & Analysis - December 18, 2009

The Indian press is abuzz with news that Indian Home Ministry officials are investigating whether a terror suspect in the Mumbai attacks, David Headley from Chicago, was working as a 'double agent' with the US. In this courtroom drawing David Coleman Headley, left, pleads not guilty before U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber on December 9 in Chicago to charges that accuse him of conspiring in the deadly 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The Indian press is abuzz with news that Indian Home Ministry officials have said they are investigating whether Pakistani-American terror suspect David Coleman Headley was working as a "double agent." Indian officials reportedly raised questions about Mr. Headley's links with US intelligence agencies – even as another terror suspect accused of involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks was denied bail by a US federal court. These latest and widely-publicized accusations against Headley are expected to put pressure on India's ruling Congress Party, which has emphasized closer ties with the US … The US has not allowed Indian authorities to interrogate Headley over the Mumbai attacks, much to India's consternation. – Christian Science Monitor

Dominant Social Theme: So much confusion.

Free-Market Analysis: The trouble with stories like this is that reinforce the worst suspicions about the war on terror. On the one hand, we have the dominant social theme that the war on terror is being fought by the guys in the white caps who are doing their best from their outmanned desks at the Pentagon and in Britain against an implacable foe hiding in the caves of Afghanistan and the plains of Pakistan. On the other hand you often have reports when "terrorists" are captured at home and abroad of Western intel involvement.

Questions have been raised regularly on these issues and it militates against the seriousness of purpose with which one would hope the war on terror was joined. Just in the past several years, more and more questions seem to be seeping out. As we have reported, a BBC program conducted an intensive investigation into Al Qaeda and determined that the initial group anyway was a Bush administration fiction. Then there is the book from 9/11 Commission lead litigator John Farmer claiming that much if not all of the testimony submitted to the commission by the administration, the CIA and FBI was palpably and deliberately false. And questions have been raised all along about the credibility of the tapes and videos released on the Internet featuring a post-9/11 Bin Laden.

The Times of India reports that Indian officials suspect that the CIA knew about Headley's link with the banned Pakistani militant outfit, Lashkar-e-Taiba, one year before the Mumbai attacks, but did not alert Indian agencies. The [Indian] investigators believe that the US agencies kept away the information from India and never allowed the Pakistani-origin Headley to get "exposed". The 39-year old terror suspect, arrested by FBI for his role in Mumbai attacks, had visited India in March 2009 – four months after Mumbai attack carried out by LeT – but FBI still did not inform India that Headley is a LeT operative, apparently fearing he could be arrested in India.

After Thoughts

The Internet is literally aflame with articles from alternative news and research sites about the incompetence – and more – of American officialdom when it came to 9/11 and the larger war on terror. And so many times it seems when a "terrorist" is captured there turns out to be some sort of link to Western intel somewhere. It tends to play into the hands of those who believe the war on terror is being pursued not to protect Western civilians but to impose authoritarian controls on Western culture using defensive measures as a rationale. Transparency may not be possible within the midst of such conflicts, but if those waging them want more public support – and less suspicion — then the veil of secrecy should be lifted whenever possible. The longer it stays down, the more suspicions are raised.

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