Saturday, October 16, 2010

Confusing the Mumbai Story

The WaPo and other outlets are having some fun with ProPublica's story alleging that the wife of Mumbai terror plotter David Coleman Headley (aka Daood Gilani) told the FBI about his ties to AQ three years before the attack:
Three years before Pakistani terrorists struck Mumbai in 2008, federal agents in New York City investigated a tip that an American businessman was training in Pakistan with the group that later executed the attack.
The impression being left that since the attack occurred and people died, the FBI failed or was negligent or even complicit. There's no mention of Bush but the inferences are there--he was president.

Yet buried deep in the story (page four of the WaPo's internet version) is this paragraph:
As the plot took shape in 2008, U.S. anti-terrorism agencies warned Indian counterparts at least three times about a suspected Lashkar plan to attack Mumbai, according to Indian and U.S. officials. There has been speculation in news reports and among anti-terrorism officials that the United States got that information by monitoring Headley, either as an informant, an ex-informant or a suspect.
Emphasis added for obvious reasons. In other words, we probably did have the guy under surveillance but because Headley was dealing with our 'ally' in Pakistan it was a fairly sensitive operation and remains so today. But after reading only the first two pages how many people would be left with that impression?


Debbie said...

That's interesting. I had not heard that. You make an excellent point, because today there is so much out there in print, air, internet, people many times simply read the headline, maybe the first page, if that, scan an article... Many would have missed that very important line.

It's a bad time for diplomacy with the strange relationships we have. Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iran. Who to tell what, how much to tell, when to tell, who will be helped or hindered, which relationships will be damaged...

We shared the information at least three times in this case, so I don't think we can take any blame.

Right Truth

A.C. McCloud said...

That should have been up on the first page, as in "the FBI was told in 2005, then warned India 3 times before the attack".

Since it wasn't that should tell us most of what we need to know about "ProPublica". We already know the mainstreamers won't object to such tactics--they do it all the time themselves.