Notwithstanding the popular opinion that the revelations by David Headley have yielded no new facts, the details that have emerged from the deposition have major international ramifications.
There is no substitute to excellent HUMINT in preventing terror strikes and taking proactive steps to target terror organizations.
US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer believes Indian Army's "Cold Start Doctrine" is a "mixture of myth and reality. According to him the doctrine may never be operationalised due to "serious resource constraints". Roemer assessment of the doctrine, which he had cabled it on February 16, 2010, is one of the hundreds of thousands of cables leaked by the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.
Intelligence sharing is the most unsatisfactory aspect of Indo-US counter-terrorism co-operation. Before 26/11, the U.S. had hardly ever shared with India any worthwhile preventive intelligence. David Coleman Headley had been planning an attack on India in collaboration with the ISI and the LeT for a long time. This was known to the U.S. authorities. Perhaps they could have forced Pakistan to restrain their spy agency.
While the confusion prevails on whether India will get access to Headley, Canary Trap brings you the details of Headley's plea bargain. The government knows that Headley has signed a plea agreement while pleading guilty to all the 12 terrorism related charges against him. It is quite clear from the agreement that US wants to control access to David Headley for reasons that Canary Trap has highlighted in a previous post. The Indian Government can make tall claims of questioning/extraditing Headley, but the reality is that it is not being taken seriously by the US administration.
David Headley's case is frighteningly similar to another US informant, which the US would never want to forget. Ali Mohamed -- former Egyptian army officer turned CIA operative, Special Forces advisor, and an FBI informant -- is one of the most dangerous intelligence operator who compromised the US intelligence community before the fateful September 11, 2001 attacks. He trained the terrorist cell that attacked the World Trade Center in 1993. Mohamed also played a key role in the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. There is information that he even trained Osama bin Laden's personal bodyguards.
As India observes the first anniversary of the deadly terror strike in Mumbai, we have forgotten the fact that its also the 20th anniversary of terrorism in India. Violence against the Indian State that began in Jammu and Kashmir in 1989 has now spread to almost all of India. Year after year, the country has been hit by terror strikes of greater magnitude but all we do is organize candle light vigils for the victims, observe the anniversaries, and talk about resilience, and courage. We forget things very easily and hence never learn from our mistakes. Nobody seems to be questioning the government as to why the Mumbai attack inquiry report has not been tabled in the Maharashtra Assembly till now. And why has it been designated as classified? If the US can make public the 9/11 Commission report and own up to the mistakes made by the administration, why can't the Indian Government? The spineless politicians of India have really failed this country.
With more details of David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana's visit to India emerge, one question that remains unanswered is what were the Indian security and intelligence agencies doing while the terror duo were roaming freely across the country? Had FBI not tracked and arrested them we would never have known about their activities in India. They might have visited the country again and gathered information for the next terror attack.
The joint Indo-Pak statement, which was released after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's meeting with his Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of the NAM Summit in Egypt seemed to be an exercise in futility. Barring one or two points, it was a confusing statement. India's position till now has been that it would not renew dialogue with Pakistan unless appropriate action is taken against the people responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.