FBI got tip about Headley in Mumbai attacks - report

WASHINGTON Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:57am IST

Smoke and fire billows out of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai November 27, 2008. The FBI received a tip three years before the 2008 Mumbai attacks that an American man who helped scout the targets was tied to the Pakistani group behind the plot, the Washington Post reported on Friday. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw/Files

Smoke and fire billows out of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai November 27, 2008. The FBI received a tip three years before the 2008 Mumbai attacks that an American man who helped scout the targets was tied to the Pakistani group behind the plot, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Credit: Reuters/Jayanta Shaw/Files

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI received a tip three years before the 2008 Mumbai attacks that an American man who helped scout the targets was tied to the Pakistani group behind the plot, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

The man, David Headley, pleaded guilty in March to a dozen U.S. terrorism charges related to the Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed, and to a plot to attack a Danish newspaper that had published cartoons in 2005 that lampooned the Prophet Mohammed.

He admitted to scouting the targets for the Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and agreed to help investigators and give testimony against others in exchange for a promise that he would not be extradited to India, Pakistan or Denmark.

The Washington Post reported that the FBI received a tip in 2005 about Headley's involvement from his wife after the two were in a domestic dispute that resulted in his arrest.

Headley's wife told them in interviews that he was active in LeT, had trained in Pakistani camps and had looked for night-vision goggles, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed officials and sources close to the case.

An FBI spokesman declined to comment on the report. The Washington Post reported that officials confirmed they did receive the tip from Headley's wife at the time but would not discuss what they did with the information.

U.S. authorities regularly receive tips about possible terrorism plots.

Headley, who spent his childhood in Pakistan and whose father was Pakistani, changed his name in 2005 from Daood Gilani to make travel through security easier.

He was arrested about a year ago at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport as he was trying to leave for Pakistan. He was found with about a dozen surveillance videos from Denmark he had planned to deliver to his handlers.

The 2008 attacks in Mumbai, in which six Americans were among the dead, lasted for three days and further escalated tensions between India and neighboring Pakistan, where LeT militants are based.

(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by Todd Eastham)

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