Analysis by Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica, Feb. 22, 2013, 8:46 a.m.
The 35-year prison sentence imposed on David Coleman Headley, a terrorist scout and Pakistani spy convicted in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, has closed the U.S. chapter of a case with explosive international implications.
But justice remains elusive. Neither the U.S. nor Pakistani governments have fully answered critical questions about the case — including why most of the accused masterminds remain at large in Pakistan despite evidence implicating them.
Headley, 52, pleaded guilty to doing surveillance for the three-day terrorist rampage in Mumbai that killed six Americans and 160 others. His sentencing last month in Chicago made the Pakistani-American businessman the highest-ranking conspirator to be punished. Last year, India executed the surviving gunman of the attack squad sent by Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group.
The investigation of Headley revealed evidence that Pakistani security forces played a direct role in terrorism against the West. His testimony at the trial of an accomplice gave an unprecedented look inside operations of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Lashkar and al-Qaida. Yet the U.S. and Pakistan have been relentlessly secretive about Headley, who had worked as an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
What follows is an analysis of four major questions about the Mumbai plot that includes new information and material ProPublica has not yet published in the three years we have spent examining the attack and its aftermath.
Sources include court files, investigative documents and interviews with witnesses, victims, experts and others in the United States, Europe, India and Pakistan, as well as law enforcement and intelligence officials whom we agreed not to identify because they were not cleared to speak publicly about the case.
EXTRACT (Questions Only)
Q. Why doesn’t Pakistan capture Sajid Mir?
Q. What was the full extent of the role of Pakistani intelligence in Mumbai?
Q. What risk does Lashkar-e-Taiba pose in the future?
Q. Why didn’t U.S. authorities stop Headley sooner?