Silent on ISI, US assures more access to Headley

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US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Friday refused to comment on the involvement of Pakistan's ISI spy agency in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack as alleged by key conspirator David Coleman Headley.

But the visiting American official assured India of more "access" to Headley, who has admitted his role in the Mumbai attack and turned into a witness against co-accused Tahawwur Rana. The two had helped the Lashkar-e-Taiba plan the attack that left 166 people, including six Americans, dead in November 2008.

"Well I would suggest that we are here to talk about the strategic partnership and the United States," Napolitano said at a joint press conference with her Indian counterpart P. Chidambaram when asked to comment on Headley's revelations that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence was behind the Mumbai attack conspiracy.

Asked if the US would use its influence on Pakistan to build pressure on that country for the prosecution of LeT chief Haafiz Sayeed, who is believed to have masterminded the Mumbai attack, the US official again declined to comment on what Pakistan should do.

"Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton) is in Pakistan today and I leave the comments about Pakistan for her. She will make some comment," she said.

Napolitano was in New Delhi for the first India-US homeland security dialogue aimed at enhancing anti-terror cooperation between the two countries.

She said on the first day of her four-day trip to India, she went to Mumbai "so that I could walk through, learning details about the 26/11 attack".

"The case is going on in Chicago... The US has given India full access to the witness and when the case is over there will probably be more access given. When the case is on it is not appropriate to comment on what happened there," she said, declining to even comment on how the US views the Headley revelations.

She said the India-US strategic ties were going and the "fact is that we share and have shared that strategic partnership for many years. That partnership is going to, I think, only intensify in the months and years to come".


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