» News » US officials told me to 'get lost', says Headley's wife

US officials told me to 'get lost', says Headley's wife

By Betwa Sharma
October 17, 2010 16:53 IST
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"Get lost" was what the US officials in Islamabad told the young Moroccan wife of 26/11 accused David Headley when she informed them that her husband was planning a terror attack in India with the help of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

Less than a year before the 26/11 attack, one of Headley's three wives, Faiza Outalha, had two meetings with American officials in Islamabad in which she told them that her husband had friends in the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and his business trips to India never amounted to much, according to The New York Times.

"I told them, he's either a terrorist, or he's working for you," she recalled saying to American officials at the US Embassy in Islamabad. "Indirectly, they told me to get lost." "I told them anything I could do to get their attention," she told the NYT. "It was as if I was shouting, 'This guy was a terrorist! You have to do something.'" 27-year-old Outlaha also claimed that she showed the US authorities photos of Headley and her stay at the Taj Mahal Hotel, where they stayed twice in April and May 2007. The stay is confirmed by hotel records.

A senior administration official confirmed Outalha's meeting but said she could not give any details to her warnings. "The texture of the meeting was that her husband was involved with bad people, and they were planning jihad," the official said. "But she gave no details about who was involved, or what they planned to target." In a statement, National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said that "The United States regularly provided threat information to Indian officials in 2008 before the attacks in Mumbai."

"Had we known about the timing and other specifics related to the Mumbai attacks, we would have immediately shared those details with the government of India," Hammer said.

Headley, 50, was married three times, The NYT reported - all at once at one point to -- Outalha, who is a medical student, a New York makeup artist and a conservative Pakistani Muslim. The paper pointed out that "despite those warnings by two of his three wives, Headley roamed far and wide on Lashkar's behalf between 2002 and 2009."

Meanwhile, in her interview with NYT in Morocco, Outalha also revealed some personal details about Headley like his penchant for American shows like Seinfeld and Jay Leno even while slamming the US for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Outalha, also said that she went to the American authorities to find out more about Headley's true identity. "I wanted him in Guantanamo," she said, recalling the time when Headley had ditched her.

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Betwa Sharma in New York
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