David Headley

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David Coleman Headley
DavidHeadley.png
Born Daood Sayed Gilani
(1960-06-30) 30 June 1960 (age 54)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Video store proprietor
DEA informant
Children four children[1]
Parents Sayed Salim Gilani (father);
Serrill Headley (mother)
Conviction(s) Pleaded guilty
(18 March 2010)

David Coleman Headley (born Daood Sayed Gilani; 30 June 1960) is an American terrorist of Pakistani origin, and a spy who conspired with the Lashkar-e-Taiba Islamist organization and Pakistani intelligence officers in plotting the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Between 2002 and 2005, Headley made several trips to Pakistan for Lashkar training while simultaneously working as an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.[2] Under the direction of Lashkar chiefs, Headley performed five spying missions in Mumbai to scout targets for the attacks, which killed 168 people. The following year, he performed a similar mission in Copenhagen to help plan an attack against the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which had published cartoons of Muhammad. He was arrested at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago while on his way to Pakistan in October 2009.[2][3]

The Indian public has followed Headley's story closely, considering him to be their equivalent of Osama bin Laden. U.S. authorities gave Indian investigators direct access to Headley,[4] but some in India have questioned why the U.S. had not shared suspicions about him with Indian authorities before the Mumbai attacks.[5] At the trial of Tahawwur Hussain Rana, an alleged co-conspirator, Headley gave detailed information about the participation of Pakistan's Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in carrying out the attacks.[6][7] However, in 2011, Headley testified that the ISI leadership was not involved in planning the attacks.[8]

Since his arrest and guilty plea, Headley has cooperated with U.S. and Indian authorities and given information about his associates.[9][10][11][12] On January 24, 2013, a U.S. federal court sentenced Headley to 35 years in prison for his role in the Mumbai attacks.

Early life[edit]

David Coleman Headley was born as Daood Sayed Gilani in Washington, D.C., to Sayed Salim Gilani (?-2008) and Alice Serrill Headley (1939-2008). Sayed Gilani was a well-known Pakistani diplomat and broadcaster.[13] Serrill Headley, originally from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania and a prominent figure in Philadelphia high society, worked as a secretary at the Pakistani embassy in Washington. Daood Gilani has a younger sister, Syedah, and a half-brother, Danyal. As an adult, Danyal Gilani became the spokesman for Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani and presently serves as Pakistan's press attaché in Beijing.[14]

In 1960, shortly after Gilani was born, his family left the United States and settled in Lahore, the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab. There, Gilani stood out because of his light skin color—he was often called a gora, meaning "fair", predominantly used for Americans and Europeans—and because of the different coloration of his eyes. Gilani's mother was unable to adapt to Pakistani culture and returned to the U.S. Because of Pakistani custody rules, she was forced to leave her children with their father in Lahore. After getting a divorce, she went through four more marriages and spent time in Southeast Asia and Afghanistan.[15][16]

Daood Gilani was raised in a political environment steeped in Pakistani nationalism and Islamic conservatism, both of which were amplified by Pakistani tensions with India. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, stray bombs hit Gilani's elementary school in Karachi and killed two people; this event, along with Pakistan's defeat at the war's conclusion, is thought to have stoked Gilani's animus towards India. Gilani went on to attend the elite Cadet College Petaro, a boys' military prep school. Gilani remained in contact with classmates, and later engaged in impassioned debates with them about politics and Islam in e-mail correspondence.[17]

In 1977, at the age of seventeen, Gilani left a contentious relationship with his Pakistani stepmother and moved to the U.S. with the help of his biological mother, Serrill Headley. Gilani settled with his mother in Philadelphia, where he helped her manage the Khyber Pass Pub and the adjacent Miss Headley's Wine Bar. Employees at the pub nicknamed him "The Prince." Gilani enrolled at a military high school, Valley Forge Military Academy, but dropped out after one semester.[18][19] He was a student at the Community College of Philadelphia but dropped out without a degree in the 1990s.[20][21][16] In 1985, he married a Pennsylvania State University student, but they divorced two years later due to cultural differences.[22] He eventually moved to New York City and opened a video rental business.[23]

Drug convictions and DEA deal[edit]

During his frequent trips to Pakistan, Gilani hung out with heroin users and started using the drug himself. He became involved in Pakistani drug trafficking. When he was twenty-four, Gilani smuggled half a kilogram of heroin out of Pakistani tribal areas and used Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Pakistani army doctor who Gilani knew from military school, as an unwitting shield. Several days later, police in Lahore arrested Gilani for drug possession, but he somehow managed to beat the charges. Rana continued to be used by Gilani over the course of his career as a drug trafficker; in the late 1990s, after Rana had emigrated to the U.S., Gilani used Rana's legitimate immigration consulting company in Chicago to smuggle drugs.

In 1988, while he was traveling to Philadelphia from Pakistan, Gilani was arrested by police in Frankfurt, West Germany after two kilos of heroin were found hidden in a false bottom in his suitcase. Gilani quickly made a plea deal when his case was handed over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, agreeing to surrender his partners in Philadelphia in exchange for a lighter sentence. Gilani's cooperation earned him four years in prison while his two associates were sentenced to eight and ten years.[24] At his sentencing hearing, the judge made the following statement: "It's up to you, Mr. Gilani, to do what you can with the rest of your life. You are still a young man. You can either take advantage of this opportunity. Your mother, your lawyer, people said some nice things about you, but what you did, not only to yourself, but to perhaps thousands, hundreds of victims, heroin users in this country is a terrible thing."[25]

Gilani managed to beat his addiction to heroin, but was still involved in the drug trade. In early 1997, Gilani was arrested with another man in a DEA sting operation when he tried to smuggle heroin into the country from Pakistan.[17] Gilani quickly offered his services as a confidential informant to the DEA. In January 1998, the agency sent him to Pakistan to dispel suspicions amongst his partners about his prior absence, and to gain intelligence on the country's heroin trafficking networks. According to the DEA, Gilani's participation led to five arrests and the seizure of 2½ kilos of heroin.[26] The DEA has insisted that Gilani's 1998 trip to Pakistan was the only one paid for by the agency.[27]

While the DEA seemingly made great gains from Gilani's intelligence, there is ample evidence that Gilani abused his status as an informant. He allegedly tried to set up heroin dealers with jailhouse phone calls that were not monitored by DEA agents. A mentally impaired Pakistani immigrant, Ikram Haq, was found to have been tricked into making a drug deal by Gilani, and was subsequently acquitted on the grounds of entrapment when brought to trial. Despite this result, Gilani was released from prison and put on probation for his contribution to the case. One anonymous former associate of Gilani later suggested that he was exploiting his rapport with the DEA, saying, "The DEA agents liked him. He would brag about it. He was manipulating them. He said he had them in his pocket."[27]

Involvement in terrorism[edit]

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, whom Gilani befriended.

In exchange for information about Pakistani drug contacts, Gilani received a considerably lighter sentence than his co-defendant from the 1997 arrest: fifteen months in jail and five years of supervised release. In November 1998, he was delivered to the low-security Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix.[28] There, he became an increasingly devout Muslim. In July 1999, only months into Gilani's sentence, his attorney, Howard Leader, requested permission for him to be given a supervised early release from prison so he could travel to Pakistan to be wed in an arranged marriage. Judge Carol Amon granted the unusual request. Gilani married a Pakistani woman named Shazia and fathered two children with her.

While visiting Lahore, Gilani was introduced to Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamist terror organization that would later launch a high-profile attack on the Indian parliament. Gilani made further trips to Pakistan without the knowledge of U.S. authorities, immersing himself in Lashkar ideology. He befriended Lashkar's spiritual leader, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, and committed himself to the group's war on India, which was supported by the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's premier intelligence service.[27]

At the same time this was happening, Gilani resumed work as a DEA informant in New York City and participated in an undercover operation that reportedly led to the seizure of one kilo of heroin from Pakistani traffickers. Yet despite working for a U.S. government agency, Gilani actively raised money and recruited new members for Lashkar, a group that swore allegiance with Al-Qaeda. Gilani would later testify that he discussed his views regarding Kashmir—a disputed region between Pakistan and India that is the focus of Lashkar's campaign against the latter—with his DEA handlers. The DEA has insisted that it was unaware of Gilani's political and religious radicalization.[27]

Post-9/11 activities[edit]

One day after the attacks on September 11, 2001, Gilani's DEA handlers tasked him with collecting counter-intelligence on terrorists through his sources in the Pakistani drug trade. However, a New York City bartender named Terry O'Donnell reported Gilani to an FBI task force after Gilani's ex-girlfriend told him that Gilani had praised the 9/11 hijackers and "got off on watching the news over and over again" in the weeks following the attacks. Under questioning by two Defense Department agents, in the presence of his DEA handlers, Gilani denied the accusations and cited his work for the DEA as proof of his loyalty to the U.S. Gilani was cleared, and the DEA did not write a report on his interrogation.[29]

On November 16, 2001, six weeks after his interrogation, Howard Leader and Assistant U.S. Attorney Loan Hong made a joint application to Judge Carol Amon asking for Gilani's supervised release to be terminated three years early. Judge Amon agreed to their request and discharged Gilani from any further probation.[28] Leader has claimed that the DEA was involved in the drive to end Gilani's probation, which would have kept him from traveling to Pakistan to continue his intelligence work on terrorists. However, the DEA has claimed that Gilani wanted his probation lifted so he could travel to Pakistan for family reasons. DEA officials also claim that the agency officially deactivated Gilani as an informant on March 27, 2002. Headley himself has claimed that he ended his work for the DEA in September 2002; other agencies claim that he remained a DEA operative as late as 2005.[27]

In February 2002, Gilani went to a Lashkar training camp and did a three-week introductory course on Lashkar ideology and jihad. That summer, Serrill Headley, who by then had moved to the town of Oxford, Pennsylvania with her brother, confided to friends that her son had become a religious fanatic and had been to terrorist training camps. While Gilani was on a catering visit to his mother's house, one of her friends, Phyllis Keith, noticed that he parked his car behind her residence as if he was trying to hide it. Keith reported Gilani to the FBI office in Philadelphia, which apparently did not follow through with an investigation.

That August, Gilani returned to Pakistan and began a second stint at the Lashkar training camp; he spent his spare time with Shazia in Lahore. Despite being already married in Pakistan, Gilani embarked on a series of affairs in the U.S. and had become engaged to a long-time girlfriend in New York City the month before. In December 2002, after landing in New York City, Gilani was briefly detained by border inspectors who had been on the lookout for unusual travel patterns to hubs of terrorism such as Pakistan. However, the border inspectors found nothing amiss and soon released him. Gilani married his fiancée at a Jamaican resort a few days later.[30]

In the summer of 2005, Gilani's second wife confronted him after learning about his other marriage, and about his trips to the Lashkar training camps, from his father. On August 25, 2005, Gilani hit his wife during an argument at his New York video store. After having Gilani arrested for assault, his wife called a government hotline and disclosed his terrorist activities. She was subsequently interviewed three times by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. The FBI, citing Gilani's work for the DEA, did not consider him a threat despite the accusations leveled against him in 2001 and 2002. The FBI agent investigating the matter speculated that Gilani's wife made her accusations because she had "an axe to grind" regarding his other marriage. Gilani was never questioned, and the assault charge was eventually dropped. Gilani later closed his video store.[27]

In June 2006, Gilani's second wife, originally from Canada, applied for a green card under a U.S. law for abused spouses. In addition to physical abuse, Gilani's wife made reference to his radicalization and terrorist training; his anti-Semitic and anti-Hindu bigotries; and his praise for suicide bombers. U.S. immigration services granted the green card, but did not alert law enforcement about Gilani because of strict privacy laws governing immigration cases which involve spousal abuse.[27]

Mumbai plot[edit]

Name change and ISI recruitment[edit]

By 2005, Gilani's training had advanced to the point where he wanted to fight in Kashmir. Instead, Lashkar-a-Taiba sent Gilani to Sajid Mir, the organization's foreign recruiter and a man Western authorities believe was involved with the ISI. Sajid Mir wanted to use Gilani for terrorist missions in India, specifically a planned attack on Mumbai. Under Mir's direction, Gilani went to Philadelphia and legally changed his name to David Coleman Headley, taking his mother's surname. Even though Pennsylvania law requires a background check for name changes, state officials apparently did not uncover Headley's previous drug convictions. The name change would make it easier for Headley to hide his Pakistani ancestry and pass as a Westerner, leading anyone he encountered to assume he was a tourist rather than a terrorist.[27]

In January 2006, Headley established ties with Adbur Rehman Hashim "Pasha" Syed, a retired Pakistan Army major and Lashkar militant, who put him in touch with Major Iqbal, a mysterious figure who is believed to have coordinated Lashkar activity through his capacity as an ISI officer. Under sworn testimony, Headley recalled meeting Major Iqbal and his superior officer, a Pakistani colonel, in a safe house. Major Iqbal and Sajid Mir reportedly became Headley's ISI handlers and oversaw his training in espionage techniques in preparation for a reconnaissance mission to Mumbai; he met with Iqbal and Mir separately so that the ISI could maintain plausible deniability. In February, Headley was again detained by border inspectors at John F. Kennedy International Airport after returning from Pakistan, and was again released. That month, he contacted his former DEA handler for the final time.[27]

In 2007, Headley met a Moroccan medical student in Lahore named Faiza Outalha, eventually marrying her as his third wife; unlike his second wife, Outalha reportedly knew that Headley was already married and approved of the potential arrangement. However, their relationship was strained due to Outalha's progressive views and Headley's unflinching religious conservatism. One reported point of contention was Headley's demand that Outalha wear traditional Muslim clothing for women. In December 2007, Outalha filed assault charges against Headley after getting into an altercation with his servant outside of their house in Lahore. After spending eight days in jail, Headley was reportedly released after Major Iqbal intervened.

Trips to Mumbai[edit]

Over the course of 2007, Lashkar's plot for the Mumbai attacks started to materialize, and the Western-looking Headley was considered the ideal militant to perform reconnaissance missions. Using $25,000 supplied to him by Major Iqbal, Headley opened a Mumbai branch office for Tahawwur Rana's immigration business—which Headley had already used to traffick heroin—as a front company.[31] Between 2007 and 2008, Headley made five trips to Mumbai, scouting local landmarks where Lashkar terrorists would carry out the multi-pronged attack. Headley stayed at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel—identified by Iqbal and Mir as their main target—and surveyed the building using his ISI training, shooting hours of video during in-house tours.

Iqbal and Mir were emboldened by Headley's intelligence and decided to make their attack more ambitious in scale. As they expanded their list of targets, Headley scouted the Oberoi Trident Hotel, the Leopold Cafe, and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. When Lashkar decided to target the Nariman House, a Jewish community center, Headley visited the location posing as a Jew.[32] Headley also took boat tours to look for places where the attackers could reach the city through the waterfront; he found a landing location at a fishermen's slum in the Colaba area of southern Mumbai, where he gathered GPS coordinates. For the maritime reconnaissance, Headley received assistance from a frogman in the Pakistan Navy.

Headley lived the high life during his time in Mumbai, and developed a rapport with the very people he was planning to help attack. He joined an upscale gym, frequented nightclubs, and befriended a minor Bollywood actor named Rahul Bhatt, who guided him through the city's party scene. During his stay at the Taj Mahal, Headley acquainted himself with the hotel's staff, reportedly praising the building's architecture. In Colaba, he reportedly tried to attract a young café proprietor.

For their 2007 honeymoon, Headley took Faiza Outalha with him to Mumbai and stayed at both the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi Trident. The trip ended with an argument between the couple and Outalha was sent back to Lahore. Afterwards, Iqbal and Mir pressured Headley to divorce Outalha, believing she endangered his cover. She responded by reporting Headley to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, and later submitting to interviews with State Department and ICE officials, describing his Mumbai activities at length. However, Outalha later admitted that she embellished some of her accusations against Headley, leading the Americans to not take her claims seriously. The State Department relayed her warnings to the DEA, the FBI, and the CIA, but whether the agencies acted on them is disputed. After leaving Pakistan, Outalha divorced from Headley.

As the attacks unfolded in late November 2008, Headley watched the news coverage at home in Lahore after receiving a text message. The ten Lashkar militants carried out the attacks per the detailed intelligence gathered by Headley during his trips; the attack would lead to the deaths of 168 people, including six Americans. The intelligence he collected on the Nariman House allowed the terrorists to raid the building and execute its staff, in an act personally supervised by Sajid Mir from a command center in Karachi. Shazia, who had moved with her children to Chicago earlier in 2008 and knew of Headley's reconnaissance work for Lashkar, praised him in a coded e-mail: “Congrats on your graduation. Graduation ceremony is really great. Watched the movie the whole day.”

Denmark plot[edit]

First visit and Al-Qaeda allegiance[edit]

In October 2008, one month before the Mumbai attacks, Mir and Iqbal took the unusual step of appearing together at Headley's Lahore residence. According to Headley's later testimony, the two men assigned him to travel to Denmark to scout the offices of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper in Copenhagen, which they wanted to attack in retribution for its publication of cartoons of Muhammad. In mid-January 2009, Headley traveled to Copenhagen and visited the editorial offices of Jyllands-Posten, claiming to have been a recent immigrant from the U.S. who was interested in buying space for an advertisement. He met with the paper's advertising executive in the lobby, in a meeting that lasted for fifteen minutes. Headley then drove to Jyllands-Posten's newspaper building in Aarhus and met another advertising executive there. Elsewhere during his trip, Headley collected video footage of Copenhagen, including the offices of Jyllands-Posten; looked into leasing an apartment that could be used by Lashkar's attack team; and inquired about getting a job as a secretary.

When he returned to Pakistan, he was informed by his Lashkar handlers that the plot would be put on hold. In the wake of this news, Headley became disenchanted with Lashkar. He was persuaded by Syed to shift his allegiance from Lashkar—which Syed claimed had been compromised by its ties to the ISI—to Al-Qaeda. Syed became Headley's new handler and introduced him to Ilyas Kashmiri, a senior Al-Qaeda operative and the leader of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI), an Islamist organization active in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. Kashmiri took over sponsorship of the Denmark plot and made changes to the plan, using the Mumbai attacks as inspiration; he wanted terrorists to storm the Jyllands-Posten offices, have its staff be taken hostage and executed, and then have their severed heads thrown out of the windows of the newsroom in a national and international media spectacle.

Second visit[edit]

Headley planned to return to Copenhagen during the summer of 2009. Kashmiri put him in contact with two Al-Qaeda operatives called Simon and Bash, who were living in Derby, England. However, when Headley visited Derby on July 26, 2009, Simon and Bash informed him that they did not want to participate in the Denmark plot and were unable to supply weapons, instead giving him US$15,000 in financing. Headley then traveled to Stockholm to meet a veteran militant named Farid. Farid, reportedly agitated, was also unable to help Headley as he was under tight surveillance by Swedish police. When Headley arrived in Copenhagen by train on July 31, he shot video of a Royal Danish Army barracks and approached drug dealers about acquiring guns.

Charges by FBI, and guilty plea[edit]

David Coleman Headley, 48, and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, 48, were charged by U.S. federal authorities in Chicago, in complaints unsealed on October 27, 2009, of plotting against the employees of a newspaper in Copenhagen.[33] Headley is accused of traveling to Denmark to scout the building of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, and a nearby synagogue, for an attack by terrorists.[34]

On December 8, 2009, the FBI additionally accused Headley of conspiring to bomb targets in Mumbai, India; providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba.[35][36] He faces life in prison and a three million dollar fine when he is sentenced.[37]

Accusations by India's NIA[edit]

India's new National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case against Headley and Rana for allegedly plotting the 2008 Mumbai attacks in India.[38][39] After having interrogated Headley in Chicago for a week, the NIA has requested a Delhi court to issue non-bailable warrants to arrest Headley and others.[12]

Headley's arrest and guilty plea got close media attention in India, with the Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram addressing it in frequent questions from reporters. Chidambaram said the United States authorities have shared "significant information" about the case. U.S. assistant secretary of state Robert O. Blake, Jr. said India would have "full access" to question Headley in the United States, although the possibility of extraditing him to India appears to be precluded by Headley's plea agreement.[40][41] Chidambaram said they would continue to try to get the man extradited.[42]

Headley's admissions, e.g., that he made video recordings of terrorism targets for the LeT, had corroborated other evidence in the trial of Ajmal Amir Kasab in Mumbai.[43]

A classified Indian report, based on Headley's interrogation by Indian investigators in Chicago, concludes that some of Headley's scouting trips to Mumbai were financed and planned by the ISI.[3] When this report was leaked to U.S. media in October 2010, its conclusions were denied by Pakistani authorities.

Associations with current and former Pakistani military officers[edit]

Both Headley and Rana are accused in the FBI complaints of reporting to Ilyas Kashmiri, an Islamist militant commander associated with both Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba.[33] Kashmiri is reported by many sources to be a former Pakistani military commando,[33][44][45] although he denied this in an interview in October 2009.[46] Headley made contact with the al-Qaeda member when he made two trips to North Waziristan, in FATA (a tribal area under limited central government authority).[47]

Another former military officer is suspected as a co-conspirator and identified only by a pseudonym (Individual A) in the first FBI complaint against Headley. He is said to have recently left the Pakistani Army as a Colonel or Brigadier.[33] This second officer, suspected in the complaint as affiliated with Lashkar-e-Taiba, was arrested in 2009 in Pakistan on unspecified charges and later released.[33] He was identified by the FBI in December 2009 as Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed.[48] Abdur Rehman, also known as "Pasha", is also wanted by the FBI.[49]

An Associated Press story on November 24, 2009 said that five Pakistan army officers, including a retired brigadier and two active lieutenant colonels, had been detained for questioning in Pakistan.[50] They had all been in telephone contact with Headley. But the next day, Pakistan military spokesman Athar Abbas said that "security agencies" had only detained a single former army major in connection with the FBI case.[51][52][53]

Separately, Headley told Indian investigators in June 2010 that his trip to Mumbai in 2006 was sponsored by a Pakistani officer of the ISI. This officer, named Maj. Iqbal, handed Mr. Headley $25,000 to open an office and set up a house in Mumbai to be used as a front during his scouting trips. Maj. Iqbal served as the supervisor of Lashkar’s planning, helping to arrange a communications system for the attack, and overseeing a model of the Taj Mahal Hotel, so that gunmen could find their way around.[54]

The FBI investigation into the 2008 Mumbai attacks focuses on Major Iqbal and Sajid Mir, who are both suspected of being Headley's handlers for Pakistani intelligence. They instructed him to use the money to open a front company and begin reconnaissance in Mumbai.[55]

Association with Lashkar-e-Taiba[edit]

Another individual named in the complaint as "LeT member A", a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, gave instructions to Headley on which locations to scout for future attacks, including both the Danish newspaper and locations in India,[56] such as the National Defense College in New Delhi. Indian intelligence officials believe that LeT member A is Sajid Mir,[57] Lashkar's head of international operations.[58] Sajid Mir was a ranking member of the Pakistani army until several years ago,[58] and attended the same military high school, with Headley and Rana.[58]

Court documents allege that Headley corresponded with the Lashkar-e-Taiba associates in coded messages about the “Mickey Mouse Project,” code for the plot against the Danish newspaper. After his visit to Denmark in 2009, Headley allegedly traveled to Pakistan to meet with the LeT associate. After his arrest in October 2009, Headley told federal agents that he received training from LeT.[59]

Planning for additional attacks in India[edit]

In March 2009, Headley made another trip to India to conduct surveillance of the National Defence College in Delhi, and of Chabad Houses in various cities in India.[40]

Ease of entry with U.S. passport[edit]

Indian investigators were surprised at how easily Headley had obtained a visa to enter India, a process that is extremely difficult for Pakistani nationals. Headley's U.S. passport, his new Western and English sounding name, and the fact that the passport and his visa application made no mention of his prior name or his father's nationality, made it easy for him to obtain an Indian visa from the Indian consulate in Chicago. He falsely stated on his visa application that his father's name was William Headley and that his own name at birth was "Headley", a claim that was difficult to refute since the U.S. passport, unlike the Indian one, does not provide the father's name, and does not require endorsements on name changes by the passport holder.[60] Indian government officials said that if the name change had been noted on his passport, Indian immigration officials would have been alerted during his multiple visits to India.[61]

On his visits to India, Headley befriended several people, including Rahul Bhatt, the son of Mahesh Bhatt, a famous movie producer,[62] who said he never suspected Headley of any wrongdoing.[62]

Suspicions in India about U.S. government relationship with Headley[edit]

While government officials in India cite full cooperation by U.S. authorities, the opposition parties and others in India have demanded explanations of why Headley was allowed to travel freely for years between India, Pakistan, and the U.S., and why he was working undercover for the DEA. Some Indian analysts have speculated that David Headley was a double agent for the Central Intelligence Agency that had infiltrated LeT,[63] an accusation denied by the CIA.[64] As soon as Headley was arrested in Chicago, the Indian media had a barrage of questions for the government about him, whose answers were slow in coming. Among other questions, Indian investigators wanted the FBI to share its tapes of Headley's communications with his Pakistani handlers to match with the voices taped on cell phones during the 2008 Mumbai attacks.[65]

Following intense coverage and speculation in the Indian press, U.S. ambassador Timothy J. Roemer told reporters in New Delhi that the United States is working at the "highest level" to provide India access to Headley, even as it is passing along answers to questions in "real time".[66]

News reports in October 2010 revealed that U.S. authorities had much advance knowledge about Headley's terrorist associations and activities. Headley's American and Moroccan wives had contacted American authorities in 2005 and 2007, respectively, complaining about his terrorist activities. The Moroccan wife told reporters that she had even shown the U.S. embassy in Islamabad photographs of their stay at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, warning them that he was doing something on behalf of Lashkar-e-Taiba.[54]

Domestic criticism of Indian government[edit]

Since Headley's guilty plea, Home Minister P. Chidambaram was repeatedly asked why the U.S. cannot extradite Headley to India. Analysts in some media outlets have speculated that the United States conspired to have Headley work undercover despite knowledge that he was involved in terrorism.[67][68]

Interrogation of Headley by NIA in the US[edit]

In June 2010, US National Security Adviser James Jones announced that India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been given access to Headley.[69] The investigation has confirmed that Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists carried out the Mumbai attack under the "guidance" of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Headley stated that the ISI was engaged with the Lashkar commanders responsible for the Mumbai deaths and injuries at each and every stage of the plot. Headley mentioned that Major Sameer Ali, Major Iqbal and Major Haroon Ashique, who are serving officers of the Pakistan Army, collaborated with the LeT.[citation needed]

Headley has also spoken of how post-26/11, ISI wanted LeT to disown the Mumbai attack in order to prevent global attention to the terror group. Pakistan considers it to be an important strategic asset to be used against India. With Ajmal Kasab as the only terrorist captured, ISI wanted to blame the terrorist act on al-Qaida. It prepared a list of 4-5 al-Qaida figures who were to be projected as the conspirators. The plan, however, did not work due to resistance from Lashkar leaders, particularly Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi.[citation needed]

Headley said that while he had started off as a Lashkar recruit, he started drifting towards Al Qaida under the influence of Major Abdul Rahman Saeed, who retired in 2002. Headley was respected by the retired major because of the data which he provided for the 26/11 attack.[citation needed]

Saeed, with the help of Ilyas Kashmiri, drafted Headley for the plan to attack the Danish newspaper Jylland Posten, which had published cartoons of Muhammad considered controversial by some Muslims. Headley's original handler, Sajid Mir, wanted him to focus on Lashkar's anti-India mission.[70]

Headley has claimed that Ishrat Jahan, thought to be a case of staged police "encounter killing", was a trained L-e-T suicide bomber.[71] On May 31, 2011, however, Headley contradicted his previous statements, and testified that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) leadership was not involved in planning the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Claims relating to 2010 Pune German Bakery blast[edit]

In relation to the 2010 Pune blast at the German bakery that injured at least 53 people and killed 15, of whom 4 were foreigners,[72] Indian Home Secretary, G. K. Pillai[73] and the Hindustan Times[74] referred to Headley. The Hindustan Times stated that Headley had visited Pune in July 2008 and March 2009 and referred to him as a Lashkar-e-Taiba member.[74] The Hindustan Times also reported that the CCTV footage which has been accessed by the Investigating agency, can, as per The Hindustan Times, help solve the mystery. The Times of India has also reported similar reports, along with The Telegraph, The Hindu, The Pioneer and also Indian Express.[citation needed]

Review of the handling of Headley by U.S. authorities[edit]

The United States Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper conducted a review of slip-ups in handling Headley's involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. His report was shared with India's Union Home Ministry.[75]

Sentencing[edit]

On January 24, 2013 Headley was sentenced by the United States federal court in Chicago, Illinois for his part in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Based on the recommendation of the prosecutors in the case, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison. The judge in the case, Harry Leinenweber, stated that the sentence was sufficient to put him "under lock and key for the rest of his life," and that he would "never [be] in a position again to commit a terrorist attack." However, others, including survivors of the attacks, have been critical of the sentence, saying that the length of the sentence was an "appalling dishonor" and that Headley had "has no right to live." Headley could have faced up to the maximum sentence of life imprisonment, but got a lighter sentence due to his cooperation with U.S. federal prosecutors, specifically in providing testimony against those who plotted to attack a Danish newspaper.[76][77][78]

See also[edit]

  • Naser Jason Abdo Allegedly attempted to bomb a Fort Hood restaurant in 2011.
  • Anwar al-Awlaki American born Islamist cleric.
  • Michael Finton, American convert to Islam, attempted September 2009 bombing of U.S. target with FBI agent he thought was al-Qaeda member
  • Nidal Malik Hasan American Fort Hood shooter; 2009
  • Sharif Mobley, American suspected al-Qaeda member, arrested in Yemen in 2010 and suspected of killing guard in escape attempt
  • Faisal Shahzad, Muslim Pakistani-American who confessed to the 2010 Times Square car bomb attempt
  • Aafia Siddiqui, alleged al-Qaeda member, former U.S. resident, convicted in 2010 of attempting to kill U.S. personnel
  • Bryant Neal Vinas, American convert to Islam, convicted in 2009 of participating in/supporting Al-Qaeda plots in Afghanistan and the U.S.
  • Najibullah Zazi, al-Qaeda member, U.S. resident, pleaded guilty in 2010 of planning suicide bombings on New York City subway system

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.propublica.org/article/david-headley-homegrown-terrorist
  2. ^ a b Sebastian Rotella (October 17, 2010). "Scout in Mumbai attacks was DEA informant while in terror camp, authorities say". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 17, 2010. ""U.S. authorities took seriously what Headley's former wives said," a senior administration official said. "Their information was of a general nature and did not suggest any particular terrorist plot." But Headley's wife's considerable knowledge of Lashkar should have reinforced her credibility, because the Pakistani extremist group is not well known to the average American." 
  3. ^ a b Emily Wax and Greg Miller (October 21, 2010). "Indian report accuses Pakistan's intelligence service of significant role in Mumbai siege". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 21, 2010. 
  4. ^ K.P. Nayar (April 11, 2010). "Cautious Steps on Headley". Calcutta, India: The Telegraph. 
  5. ^ Vishwa Mohan (June 7, 2010). "Headley won’t be able to hide behind US law". Times of India. 
  6. ^ Burke, Jason (18 October 2010). "Pakistan intelligence services 'aided Mumbai terror attacks'". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 10 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Freeze, Colin (23 May 2011). "Pakistani spies work with terrorists, U.S. court hears at trial of Canadian". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). Retrieved 10 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "Mumbai Attacks: ISI leaders had no involvement, says Headley", Tribune, Pakistan
  9. ^ "US citizen David Headley admits role in Mumbai attacks". BBC. March 18, 2010. 
  10. ^ Chuck Goudie (June 4, 2010). ""India's top crime-fighter in Chicago for terror case",". ABC News 7. 
  11. ^ Narayan Lakshman (June 12, 2010). "NIA's seven-day access to Headley "useful"". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 
  12. ^ a b PTI news wire (2010-07-09). "NIA seeks non-bailable warrant against Headley, Rana, Saeed". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 
  13. ^ "Did not attend funeral of Headley's father: Gilani", Economic Times
  14. ^ Parashar, Sachin; Mohan, Vishwa (November 29, 2009). "Pak PM's PRO admits he is Headley's half-brother". The Times of India. Retrieved January 7, 2010. 
  15. ^ Alice Serrill Headley, born on her father's farm in Laurel, Maryland, 29 July 1939, was a daughter of L. Coleman Headley and his wife, the former Frances Ladd Kercher. She was educated at Catholic schools in the Philadelphia area, ran away from home at age 15, and married five times. After her divorce from Sayed Gilani in the mid-1960s, she wed Shahzada "Musleh" Muslehuddin (married 1966); the Pakistani movie director Aejay "AJ" Kardar (married 1969, annulled after four months, died 2002); Richard Pothier (married 1980, divorced circa 1991); and a man named Forrester (married 2006). Information on her birth, parents, marriages, and family is posted at ancestry.com, where it was accessed on 16 October 2010.
  16. ^ a b "Full transcript of David Headley's uncle's interview". Ndtv.com. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  17. ^ a b Ginger Thompson (November 21, 2009). "An Accused Plotter With Feet in East and West". The New York Times. 
  18. ^ http://articles.philly.com/2009-12-13/news/25269328_1_heroin-cases-david-coleman-headley-fbi-agents
  19. ^ http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news-and-opinion/cover-story/The-Life--Crimes-of-Jihadist-from-Philly.html?page=2&comments=1&showAll=
  20. ^ http://articles.philly.com/2009-12-08/news/25270373_1_tahawwur-hussain-rana-daood-gilani-david-coleman-headley
  21. ^ Time. 9 December 2009 http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1946462,00.html |url= missing title (help). 
  22. ^ Headley's ex-wife told reporters, "when he would go to Pakistan he would get all riled up again" and use words like "infidels" and "when he would see an Indian person in the street, he used to spit, spit in the street".Joseph Tanfani, John Shiffman, and Kathleen Brady Shea (December 14, 2009). "Who was David Headley? Was he involved in the Mumbai shootings?". McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved December 15, 2009. 
  23. ^ Thompson, Ginger (November 22, 2009). "A Terror Suspect With Feet in East and West". The New York Times. 
  24. ^ Thompson, Ginger; Schmitt, Eric; Mekhennet, Souad (November 7, 2010). "D.E.A. Deployed Mumbai Plotter Despite Warning". The New York Times. 
  25. ^ Interactive: David Coleman Headley's Web of Betrayal, PBS.org. Retrieved 26 July 2013
  26. ^ Headley 1997 sentencing letter, ProPublica, 24 January 2013
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i Sebastian Rotella (January 24, 2013). "The American Behind India’s 9/11—And How U.S. Botched Chances to Stop Him". ProPublica. Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  28. ^ a b Gerald Posner (December 8, 2009). "The Making of a Terrorist". The Daily Beast. 
  29. ^ The American Behind India’s 9/11—And How U.S. Botched Chances to Stop Him, ProPublica, 24 January 2013
  30. ^ Sebastian Rotella (October 16, 2010). "Before '08 Mumbai attacks, U.S. was warned key figure in plot had terror ties". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 16, 2010. 
  31. ^ http://www.propublica.org/article/mumbai-case-offers-rare-picture-of-ties-between-pakistans-intelligence-serv/
  32. ^ "Pakistani American posed as Jew to case Mumbai Chabad". JTA. November 15, 2009. 
  33. ^ a b c d e DAVID JOHNSTON and ERIC SCHMITT (November 18, 2009). "Ex-Military Officer in Pakistan Is Linked to 2 Chicago Terrorism Suspects". The New York Times. 
  34. ^ Sebastian Rotella (October 31, 2009). "In alleged terror plot, a troubling twist". Chicago Tribune. 
  35. ^ "Terror suspect likely to change plea". New York Times. March 16, 2010. 
  36. ^ "Mumbai terror suspect pleads guilty". CNN. March 18, 2010. 
  37. ^ Mike Robinson, Associated Press (March 18, 2010). "Terror suspect admits scouting for Mumbai massacre". Washington Post. 
  38. ^ Vinay Kumar (November 13, 2009). "NIA registers case against Headley, Rana". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 
  39. ^ "India Plans to Try Chicago Man For Mumbai Attacks". Reuters. December 8, 2009. [dead link]
  40. ^ a b The entire plea agreement between U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and David Headley and his lawyers, is available online in the Indian newspaper The Hindu. International News section (March 19, 2010). "David Headley's Plea Agreement (PDF – 61.27 KB)". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 
  41. ^ Steve Herman (March 20, 2010). "US Promises India 'Full Access' to Mumbai Attack Planner". New Delhi: Voice of America. 
  42. ^ India wants to interrogate Headley or be able to ask him questions in a court testimony, Chidambaram said. Nigam Prusty (March 19, 2010). "India wants to question U.S. man on Mumbai attack". Reuters. 
  43. ^ Ajmal Amir Kasab said that the 26/11 attackers were shown a video of targets in Mumbai at a training camp in Pakistan by LeT leaders. Headley has confessed to making those videos and explaining them to his LeT co-conspirators. PTI (March 19, 2010). "Headley's confession has strengthened 26/11 case: Nikam". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 
  44. ^ In congressional testimony, a Heritage Foundation analyst said that Ilyas Kashmiri was a former Pakistani SSG commando and is now the leader of the Harakat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI). Lisa Curtis (March 11, 2010). "Bad company: Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and the growing ambition of Islamist militancy in Pakistan". The Heritage Foundation. 
  45. ^ Roggio writes that Kashmiri is a longtime asset of Pakistan's military and intelligence services and was a commando in the SSG. In the early 1990s, Kashmiri was ordered by the military to join the Harkat-ul Jihad-i-Islami, and later the Jaish-e-Mohammed. When he refused, he dropped out of favor with the military. Bill Roggio (October 13, 2009). "Ilyas Kashmiri survived last month's airstrike in Pakistan". The Long War Journal. 
  46. ^ Ilyas Kashmiri claimed he was never a part of Pakistan's special forces, nor even of the army. Nearly 30 years ago when he joined the Afghan jihad against the Soviets from the platform of the HUJI, he developed expertise in guerrilla warfare and explosives. Syed Saleem Shahzad (October 19, 2009). "Al-Qaeda's guerrilla chief lays out strategy". Asia Times. 
  47. ^ Waraich, Omar (May 6, 2010). "Faisal Shahzad Bomb Inquiry Looks at Pakistan Training". TIME. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  48. ^ Johnson, Carrie (December 8, 2009). "U.S. charges Chicago man with conspiring in Mumbai attacks". Washington Post. 
  49. ^ US Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois (December 7, 2009). "Chicagoan Charged with Conspiracy in 2008 Mumbai Attacks in Addition to Foreign Terror Plot in Denmark". Department of Justice. 
  50. ^ Ashraf Khan (November 24, 2009). "Pakistani officials: 5 army officers detained". Associated Press. [dead link]
  51. ^ Zeeshan Haider, Reuters (November 25, 2009). "Pakistan court charges Mumbai attack suspects". Washington Post. 
  52. ^ Shah, Saeed (November 24, 2009). "Pakistani army officer arrested for alleged link to U.S. terror plot". McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved December 1, 2009. [dead link]
  53. ^ Khan, Zarar (December 2, 2009). "Pakistan holding retired officer in US terror case". Associated Press. Retrieved December 2, 2009. [dead link]
  54. ^ a b While working for Lashkar, which has close ties to the ISI, Mr. Headley was also enlisted by the Pakistani spy agency to recruit Indian agents to monitor Indian troop levels and movements, an American official said. Jane Perlez, Eric Schmitt, and Ginger Thompson (October 16, 2010). "U.S. Had Warnings on Plotter of Mumbai Attack". The New York Times. Retrieved October 16, 2010. 
  55. ^ Sebastian Rotella (13 November 2010). "On the trail of Pakistani terror group's elusive mastermind behind the Mumbai siege". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 November 2010. "We can only push so far. It's very political. Sajid Mir is too powerful for them to go after. Too well-connected. We need the Pakistanis to go after the Taliban and al-Qaeda." 
  56. ^ PRNewswire-USNewswire (Oct 27, 2009). "Two Chicago Men Charged in Connection With Alleged Roles in Foreign Terror Plot". Reuters. 
  57. ^ Swami, Praveen (December 8, 2009). "American jihadist helped plan 26/11 carnage". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 
  58. ^ a b c Jeff Coen and Josh Meyer (December 15, 2009). "Second Chicago terrorism suspect linked to Mumbai attack". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 15, 2009. 
  59. ^ ""Chicago Men Charged with Plotting Terrorist Attack in Denmark," October 28, 2009". Adl.org. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  60. ^ IANS (December 26, 2009). "Headley hid Pakistani origin from Indian consulate in Chicago". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved January 8, 2010. 
  61. ^ Allison Roy (November 11, 2010). "Security expert discusses missed warnings on terrorist suspect". Medill Reports Chicago. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  62. ^ a b Jonathan Miller (21 Jan 2010). "Exclusive: I had a hunch he was an agent". Channel 4. 
  63. ^ "Headley may have tipped off US about 26/11- Politics/Nation-News-The Economic Times". Economictimes.indiatimes.com. December 16, 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  64. ^ ; "Any suggestion that Headley was working for the CIA is complete and utter nonsense. It’s flat-out false," Paul Gimigliano, from the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs, said. Blakely, Rhys (December 17, 2009). "Mumbai terror suspect David Headley was ‘rogue US secret agent’". Times of London. 
  65. ^ India is interested in finding out the identity of member A that figured in Headley's jihadi mails. The member A is believed to be none other than retired Pakistan army major Sajid Mir, one of the men who allegedly directed the 26/11 terrorists in Mumbai. Sangwan, Soni (December 20, 2009). "India seeks Headley probe tape from FBI". India Today. 
  66. ^ Citing the U.S. legal system, ambassador Timothy Roemer said it was extraordinary to provide direct access to Headley. Special Correspondent (April 19, 2010). "Access to Headley being worked out at the highest level: Roemer". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 
  67. ^ A series of provocative questions about the relationship between the U.S. government and Headley. Anonymous (March 17, 2010). "David Headley: Truth & lies". NDTV. 
  68. ^ A summary of attitudes in the Indian press toward the U.S. government's relationship with Headley, possible motives, and the players, as of March 2010. Jeremy Kahn (March 22, 2010). "Headley Pleads Guilty Fueling Double Agent Speculation". The Faster Times. 
  69. ^ "India granted access to Headley". Indianexpress.com. 2010-06-05. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  70. ^ Diwakar & Vishwa Mohan, TNN, Jun 10, 2010, 02.40am IST (2010-06-10). "ISI guided LeT at every step for 26/11". The Times of India. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  71. ^ "Ishrat Jahan was an LeT suicide bomber: Headley to NIA". Ndtv.com. 2010-07-05. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  72. ^ "Abhishek, 24, victim 10 of Pune blasts". Retrieved February 20, 2010. 
  73. ^ "Eight die in India's first big attack since Mumbai". Thomson Reuters. February 13, 2010. pp. Bhowmik. Archived from the original on February 13, 2010. Retrieved February 13, 2010. 
  74. ^ a b "Eight killed, 33 injured in Pune terror attack". Retrieved February 13, 2010. 
  75. ^ “The review finds that while some information relating to Headley was available to U.S. officials prior to the Mumbai attacks, under the policies and procedures that existed at the time, it was not sufficiently established that he was engaged in plotting a terrorist attack in India. Therefore, the U.S. government did not pass on information on Headley to the Indian government prior to the attacks,” Clapper said. Vinay Kumar (8 November 2010). "Slip-ups over Headley issue: U.S. sends review findings to India". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  76. ^ Tarm, Michael; Sophia Tareen (24 January 2013). "American Mumbai Plotter Sentenced to 35 Years". Associated Press appearing on ABCNEWS.com. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  77. ^ Sweeney, Annie (24 January 2013). "Chicago man gets 35 years in Mumbai terror attack". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  78. ^ "David Headley has no right to live: relative of 26/11 US victims". Press Trust of India appearing on NDTV.com. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 

External links[edit]