Ever since the case of David Coleman Headley broke out in October 2009, I have been repeatedly pointing out the following in my articles and TV interviews: Headley was a quadruple agent, who was working for the USA's Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba (LET).
The FBI has already reached a plea bargain with him in order to avoid any formal production of evidence against him in the court, which might result in details regarding his links with the US intelligence coming out.
The FBI would not extradite him to India and would not allow the Indian agencies to have access to him in order to prevent the Indian agencies from questioning him about his links with the US intelligence on the one side and with the Pakistani intelligence on the other.
What does it mean? Firstly, there will be no formal introduction of the evidence against him and no cross-examination.
Secondly, the relatives of the 166 innocent persons killed in the Mumbai 26/11 terrorist strikes cannot seek the court's permission to be represented by a lawyer to question him on the details of his involvement in the 26/11 terrorist strikes.
Thirdly, the details of his links with the US intelligence community will be covered up.
Fourthly, the two Pakistani nationals living in Pakistan -- Ilyas Kashmiri of the Al Qaeda's 313 Brigade, who had threatened terrorist strikes in India during major sports events of this year, and Major (retd) Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed alias Pasha of the Pakistan Army, who have been cited as co-accused in the FBI case against Headley because of their role as his handling officers, will escape prosecution.
Unless one is naive beyond redemption, it was clear from the beginning that the Obama Administration and its FBI were trying frantically to prevent the truth regarding Headley from coming out.
I wrote on December 12, 2009: 'Senior officials of the White House and the FBI have been taking close and unusual interest in the investigation and prosecution. The director of the FBI himself was reported to have visited Chicago before Headley was produced before the court. Many in India have analysed this as indicative of the close interest taken by President Obama in counter-terrorism co-operation with India. A more plausible explanation is that this is indicative of the concerns in the White House and the FBI that if the prosecution is not properly handled, the case could result in a bombshell if it emerges that one of the active conspirators of 26/11 was an agent of a US agency. This could lead to suits for heavy damages against the US government from the relatives of the Americans, Israelis and other foreigners killed.'
Headley will be protected. The FBI will be protected. The US administration will be protected. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) will be protected. The Pakistani government and its army will be protected. Only we poor Indians will remain unprotected because the government of India headed by Dr Manmohan Singh cannot protect us.
What naivete, Mr Prime Minister! What naivete!
The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai