The wife of a Chicago man charged in the deadly 2008 Mumbai siege told federal agents three years earlier that her husband was an active militant in an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group, had trained in Pakistani camps and had shopped for equipment including night-vision goggles, The Washington Post reported Friday.
David Coleman Headley’s wife told federal agents in three interviews that her husband had bragged about working as a paid U.S. informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration while he trained with Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists in Pakistan.
The interviews came after Headley's wife contacted authorities following a domestic dispute after she learning that her husband had another wife and children in Pakistan.
Headley was arrested in 2005 in New York on charges of domestic assault but was not prosecuted.
Federal officials said the FBI “looked into” the tips from Headley’s wife but did not say whether any action was taken.
Headley, now 50, was arrested 11 months after the 60-hour Mumbai siege in November 2008 that killed 166 people, including six Americans. He pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in March, when he also admitted to plotting to kill a Danish cartoonist who sparked outrage after drawing the Prophet Muhammad.
In the years after Headley’s wife told his authorities about her husband’s terrorist connections, Headley scouted targets for the Mumbai attacks on five trips to the city and met with terrorist handlers in Pakistan, The Washington Post reported.
Federal officials say Headley’s work as an informant for the DEA ended before the Mumbai attacks “because he wasn’t producing anything” and say authorities are inundated with tips about suspected terrorists.
“They get half-a-dozen leads a day like this,” a U.S. anti-terrorism official said, referring to authorities in New York City. “People ratting out family members, people with grudges. Something like this does not ramp up to the White House.”