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DEA used Mumbai terrorist despite warning

NEW DELHI, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- U.S. officials used a drug dealer and informant after the 2001 attacks on the United States despite being warned of his terrorist sympathies, records show.

David Headley worked for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Pakistan where he eventually began training with terrorists and playing a role in the 2008 coordinated attacks on Mumbai that left 164 people dead, The New York Times reported Sunday.

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The warning raised in October 2001 was dismissed as the rant of a scorned girlfriend and for lack of proof, a Times examination of court records and interviews indicated. He was released from probation early so he could be go to work for the DEA, records indicate, although what he was supposed to do in Pakistan was unclear.

"All I knew was the DEA wanted him in Pakistan as fast as possible because they said they were close to making some big cases," Luis Caso, Headley's former probation officer, told the Times.

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During his visit to India Sunday, President Obama updated Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the status of his administration's investigation into Headley, including the failure to act on warnings that he could be a terrorist. The investigation concluded that, at the time, the government didn't have enough evidence to act on warnings it received about Headley, a senior U.S. official said.

"Had the United States government sufficiently established he was engaged in plotting a terrorist attack in India, the information would have most assuredly been transferred promptly to the Indian government," he told the Times.

Headley, 50, pleaded guilty in the Mumbai plot and to an unfulfilled attack against a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

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