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I-Team Report: False Passage

December 10, 2009 4:35:41 AM PST
The conduct of two foreign consulates in Chicago is reportedly under scrutiny by authorities in the U.S. and South Asia.Both the Pakistani and Indian consulates granted visas to terror suspect David Headley despite his recent name change and other red flags.

Investigators want to know more about Headley's false passage.

This was the end game for David Coleman Headley according to U.S. authorities.

Synchronized attacks by nine heavily armed Pakistani terrorists, who ended up shooting and blowing up 166 people during a three-day siege in Mumbai.

Nine members of Pakistan-based terrorist group known as Lashkar were also killed.

Wednesday in India, this gritty photograph of Chicagoan David Headley has become the face of the Mumbai attacks.

Among the questions being debated: How did Headley slip through the India consulate in Chicago to scout locations for the Mumbai massacre?

On Wednesday, authorities in India are investigating why Headley wasn't subjected to the required background investigation by their diplomats here, after he filled out his visa paperwork in 2006.

A background check would have revealed:

  • Headley had just changed his identity;
  • From the name he was born with in 1960: Daood Gilani;
  • Given by his father, a native of Pakistan, India's arch enemy neighbor.
  • Gilani was an ex-con heroin dealer, who in 1998 was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison.
  • He was a radical Muslim.

    Natasha Israni is a correspondent on India T.V. and has been looking into Headley's travels.

    "He was Daood Gilana, he changed his name to David Headley just for these purposes. Having an American name, having a US citizenship essentially gives him a passport to travel around the world including India...the fact that no red flags were raised around the fact that he had been convicted in the U.S. of this drug charge. That is indeed questionable and something that the Indian intelligence needs to answer," said Natasha Israni.

    Indian consulate officials here in Chicago refused to speak with the I-Team about why Headley and was granted a five-year visa that the FBI said he used to videotape terror targets in Mumbai.

    Even though the Chicago Consul General for India, Ambassador Ashok Kumar Attri has held news conferences about visa procedures, his office typed up a paper statement claiming Headley's visa was issued "with due scrutiny of the available documents" and that they were "following guidelines."

    The questions aren't just about Headley's India visa.

    The Chicago Consul General for Pakistan is a former high school classmate of the alleged terrorist and of co-defendant Tahawwur Rana. All three men attended military school in Pakistan.

    According to investigators in late September, Rana obtained a Pakistani visa for Headley from Consul General Aman Rashid.

    A few days later the FBI arrested Headley at O'Hare Airport.

    He was leaving for Pakistan, possibly said authorities, to plan the next attack.

    "Today he entered a plea of not guilty to all of the charges and I want to remind everyone that he is presumed innocent of these charges," said John Theis, Headley's attorney.

    Rana, a 48-year-old Canadian of Pakistani-origin, too, has been arrested by the FBI on terror charges. Headley, 49, obtained Rana's approval to open a First World office in Mumbai as cover for this activity.

    The FBI charge sheet alleges that Rana instructed one of his employees to prepare documents to support Headley's cover story and advised him on how to obtain a visa for travel to India.


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