New Delhi: US Ambassador Timothy Roemer has said that America cannot be accused of not sharing enough information with India about David Headley and his possible association with the 26/11 attacks.
But Roemer says that America provided "unprecedented access" to Headley because "we weren't afraid of what he would say." Ever since Headley, a Pakistani-American, was arrested in America last year by the FBI, reports in the media have repeatedly suggested that Headley was a US agent who went rogue.
He has pleaded guilty to helping plan and execute the Mumbai attacks, as well as attacks at public places in other Indian cities. Indian officials interrogated Headley in June this year in America.
A series of reports in America newspapers this month established that two of Headley's three wives had alerted US officials to his proximity to Pakistani terror groups before 26/11.
"The Washington Post got it right. They reported that the US shared intelligence on a regular and consistent basis with the Government of India prior to the Mumbai attack. We also have shared information with the Government of India after the Mumbai attacks. It is now historic and unprecedented in nature, and is saving lives on daily basis, " said Roemer.
The Headley issue is likely to be high on the agenda for Indo-US talks when President Obama arrives in India early next month. External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said recently that America's intelligence shared before 26/11 was very general.
A recent report in the UK newspaper 'The Guardian' said that when Indian officials interrogated Headley in America, the man also known as Daood Gilani admitted that he was trained at different terrorist camps run by the Lashkar-e-Toiba, and that the Pakistani military intelligence service, the ISI, was involved with preparing the Mumbai attacks.
Media reports - both in India and America - have speculated about whether Headley was a double agent. Those reports theorize that after being arrested for trafficking heroin, he was allegedly sent by America's Drug Enforcement Administration to infiltrate the drug network in Pakistan. There, he began working for the Lashkar.
That theory received a shot in the arm when different US newspapers reported earlier this month that two of Headley's three wives had warned American officials that he was associated with the Lashkar ahead of 26/11. Headley's Moroccan wife allegedly even said that Headley travelled frequently to India and was passionate in his dislike for India.
"Despite those warnings by two of his three wives, Mr Headley roamed far and wide on Lashkar's behalf between 2002 and 2009, receiving training in small-caliber weapons and counter surveillance, scouting targets for attacks, and building a network of connections that extended from Chicago to Pakistan's lawless northwestern frontier," said the New York Times.
However, American government representatives said that the information provided by Headley's wives was general and did not warn of a terror plot.