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Friday, December 18, 2009

Mumbai terror suspect David Headley was ‘rogue US secret agent’

From Times Online December 17, 2009

Mumbai terror suspect David Headley was ‘rogue US secret agent’

Rhys Blakely in Mumbai
A key terror suspect who allegedly helped to plan last year’s attacks in Mumbai and plotted to strike Europe was an American secret agent who went rogue, Indian officials believe.
David Headley, 49, who was born in Washington to a Pakistan diplomat father and an American mother, was arrested in Chicago in October. He is accused of reconnoitring targets in India and Europe for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Pakistan-based terror group behind the Mumbai attacks and of having links to al-Qaeda. He has denied the charges.
He came to the attention of the US security services in 1997 when he was arrested in New York for heroin smuggling. He earned a reduced sentence by working for the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) infiltrating Pakistan-linked narcotics gangs.
Indian investigators, who have been denied access to Mr Headley, suspect that he remained on the payroll of the US security services — possibly working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) — but switched his allegiance to LeT.
“India is looking into whether Headley worked as a double agent,” an Indian Home Ministry official said yesterday.
Mr Headley, who changed his name from Daood Gilani, was in Mumbai until two weeks before the attacks on the city, which claimed 166 lives last November. It is alleged that he spent months checking targets in India’s commercial capital, using his Western looks and anglicised name to move in elite social circles, hobnob with Bollywood actors and even to pass himself off as Jewish.
Despite being firmly on the radar of the US intelligence agencies, he was allowed to return to India as recently as March. Indian officials are furious that their American counterparts did not share details of that visit at the time. The Indian media has raised the possibility that Mr Headley was being protected by his American handlers — a theory that experts say is credible.
“The feeling in India is that the US has not been transparent,” said B. Raman, a former counter-terrorism chief in the Indian foreign intelligence service, the Research and Analysis Wing.
“That Headley was an agent for the DEA is known. Whether he was being used by the CIA as well is a matter of speculation, but it is almost certain that the CIA was aware of him and his movements across the subcontinent.”
According to Mr Raman, it is probable that Mr Headley, who was arrested when the US authorities learned that he was about to fly to Pakistan, was listed on the main database of the US National Counterterrorism Centre, a facility used by the CIA and several other American agencies to track terror suspects.
Indian officials suspect that US agencies declined to share intelligence to avoid compromising other secret operations and to to be able to deny any link with Mr Headley.
Analysts believe that the US may also have been anxious to avoid sharing information that could further raise tensions between India and Pakistan, nuclear-armed neighbours who have fought three wars.
According to documents put before a court in Chicago, Mr Headley had links with the Pakistan Army and, through it, with al-Qaeda.
As well as helping to co-ordinate the Mumbai atrocity, Mr Headley is accused of planning attacks on Mumbai’s Bollywood film industry, the Shiv Sena, a Hindu extremist group also based in Mumbai, a major Hindu temple, and a Danish newspaper that had published cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
The US authorities allege that he was close to Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a former Pakistani schoolmate and businessman who is also being charged with planning to attack the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. Mr Rana is accused of having known about the attack on Mumbai in advance.
The CIA denied that Headley had worked for the organisation.
“Any suggestion that Headley was working for the CIA is complete and utter nonsense. It’s flat-out false,” Paul Gimigliano, from the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs, said.
The Indian Home Secretary, Gopal Krishna Pillai, has said that his Government would seek the extradition of Mr Headley — a request that has so far been stonewalled by US officials.

Information Researched By: Sister Anonymous

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chicago-based Nation of Islam wrongly targeted

Chicago-based Nation of Islam wrongly targeted
FEDS | Agency admits it erred in compiling, releasing '07 report
December 17, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Newly released government papers show homeland security officials improperly gathered intelligence on the Nation of Islam.
The 2007 report -- titled "Nation of Islam: Uncertain Leadership Succession Poses Risks" -- was created by an intelligence group within the Bush administration's Department of Homeland Security, according to documents made public Wednesday.
Hours after the report was issued in 2007, officials recalled it, deciding it violated intelligence rules against collecting or disseminating information on U.S. citizens.
A top official in the Chicago-based Nation of Islam declined comment. DHS spokesman Matt Chandler said the Obama administration "has implemented a strong and rigorous system of safeguards and oversight to ensure similar products are neither created nor distributed."
According to the documents, while government rules were "unintentionally and inadvertently violated," only publicly available information was collected. One official wrote that "the organization despite its highly volatile and extreme rhetoric has neither advocated violence nor engaged in violence" and should not have been the subject of intelligence gathering.
"This is an ongoing pattern of the U.S. intelligence agency," said Conrad Worrill, director of Northeastern Illinois University's Center for Inner City Studies.
"The government has been conducting intelligence on the Nation of Islam since the 1930s into the '40s, and throughout its history has been subject to surveillance, and as it related to the black movement of the 1960s, was specifically a part of the government counter-intelligence program of J. Edgar Hoover."
Copyright 2009 Associated Press

Information Researched By: Sister Anonymous

Homeland Security rescinds Nation of Islam intelligence analysis,0,2859532.story

Homeland Security rescinds Nation of Islam intelligence analysis

The Department of Homeland Security withdraws a 2007 analysis after deciding it broke rules on information collection.

A report on the Nation of Islam came out at the time Louis Farrakhan ceded control of group. (Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press)
By Sebastian Rotella

December 17, 2009

Reporting from Washington - The Department of Homeland Security issued but recalled a 2007 intelligence analysis about the Nation of Islam after deciding the document dealing with the black Muslim group broke rules on intelligence activity in the United States, officials said Wednesday.

Internal documents revealed that intelligence chiefs found analysts had "unintentionally and inadvertently" violated rules governing the collection, retention and distribution of information concerning "U.S. persons and organizations." The error took place during the George W. Bush administration, and steps have been taken to ensure it does not happen again, a Homeland Security spokesman said.

"DHS has implemented a strong and rigorous system of safeguards and oversight to ensure similar products are neither created nor distributed," spokesman Matthew Chandler said. "DHS is fully committed to securing the nation from terrorist attacks and other threats, and we take very seriously our responsibility to protect the civil rights and liberties of the American people while fulfilling this mission."

The analysis under scrutiny, known as an intelligence note, was prepared in October 2007 by Homeland Security's office of intelligence and analysis, according to department officials and the documents, which were released Wednesday by the Obama administration in response to freedom of information lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy and civil liberties group.

The office helps coordinate intelligence between federal agencies -- principally the FBI -- and state and city law enforcement. Intelligence personnel in that office routinely write analyses based on information gathered by other agencies but do not work in the field, officials said.

The 2007 note was titled "Nation of Islam: Uncertain Leadership Succession Poses Risk," according to a Homeland Security report.

At the time, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan had ceded control to an executive board and gone into seclusion to recover from complications of prostate cancer treatment. He has remained active in the organization, although his exact role is unclear.

Nation of Islam officials did not return calls for comment.

The intelligence note was distributed by e-mail to 482 recipients -- including federal intelligence officials, congressional staff and "at least one state government entity and one educational institution," a Homeland Security report said without naming them.

Immediately after the note was sent, the office's intelligence oversight officer and its associate general counsel "expressed concerns" about its "content and dissemination," documents said. Officials then contacted the recipients and asked them to delete the note.

A review found that the analysis had violated internal intelligence guidelines that protect civil liberties and govern the collection and retention of information on the Nation of Islam and other "U.S. persons," a supervisory official wrote.

"The intelligence note on the Nation of Islam should not have been written," the official wrote. "The organization -- despite its highly volatile and extreme rhetoric -- has neither advocated violence nor engaged in violence."

The official stressed that the violation had not been intentional and that during more than two years, this was the first among thousands of intelligence analyses about which questions had been raised.

The U.S. government long has been interested in leaders of the religious movement that melds black nationalism with the Islamic faith, said Zaheer Ali, a Columbia University researcher who focuses on the Nation of Islam. He said Wednesday's revelation recalled FBI probes in the 1960s and '70s.

"As a historian, it's not surprising that the federal agencies under a new name -- in this case Homeland Security -- would be so interested," Ali said.

Though no investigation has produced evidence suggesting the Nation of Islam poses a threat, such concerns linger, he said.

"In the minds of many, Islam poses a threat. Black people pose a threat. And the combination of black people and Islam pose a threat in the imagination of people," Ali said. "I don't think our intelligence community is immune to these kinds of perceptions."

Manya A. Brachear of the Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times

Information Researched By: Sister Anonymous