American. Carrying an American passport. Two mismatched eyes, blond, speaks Urdu, speaks American like
an American, who is offering a bridge between America
and the jihad factory. And he says that if you let me off
this sentence for drug dealing, I will take you into the
world of jihad.
And in 1999 this is very tantalizing, if you look at the
backdrop. So, to this man, it is another deal that is being
offered. And he would wedge his way in.
So he, between 1999 and 2006, did not get very far. And
the people who were backing him and paying him and
pushing him in America were growing bored.
Gilani was in danger because he was losing his influence. But around the 2006 period, to come back to your
question finally, Pakistan is approaching this tumultuous
watershed, Lashkar is split, the military is looking for how
to keep hold of its jihad factory, and Headley/Daood
appears, and he offers a plan.
He says, ‘Why don’t you use me as the Trojan Horse? I
look like a white guy, as you say like a gora. I have an
American passport.’ And he said, ‘I will stake out a city for
you and I will choose places where there is an international crowd and I will enable you to attack India but also to
appease Al Qaeda, the people who are enamored with Al
Qaeda, by broadening the base of the attack out, attack
the West, attack America, attack the British, attack Jews.
We all find somewhere like that and I propose that the
place to do that is the metropolis.’
He told this to the Le T. He put this plan up as an idea
and he in fact put this idea up because he himself believed
that he was getting nowhere with any organization.
Le T was initially suspicious but together with the intelligence establishment, they all became sure that this was a
great idea because here was a plan where for one faction
India was still the target, which was very important to the
old faction, but the new faction, it was an Al Qaeda-kind
of raid because it was also taking on the West.
Taking on Israel in the form of attack on the Jews.
And it was going to be potentially — if they
made it work — an attack on an enormous scale,
captured by live television, like 9/11 was, shown
around the world as it happened. It would be
India’s 9/11. I think that those were factors that
created enormous interest potentially.
The coming together of the right time, the right
people, the right plan, and all of that begins to
embed and pretty much, as soon as the plan is discussed, elements of it are reported back to the
American intelligence establishment. They know
things right at the beginning.
Don’t you think Headley may be a pawn, still?
The way you are highlighting Headley in your
book, can you give me more evidence for your
The first thing to establish is how he works. So,
if you examine his relationship with the American
authorities, you can see that every time, first of all
when he is threatened, his methodology is to give
up the people he works with.
So when he was a criminal, he gave up the other
criminals, even though they were his best friends
and his accomplices.
When he was with his best friend, ( Tawahhur)
Rana, from his school time, at the first opportunity he
manipulated Rana; he used Rana’s political past. In order
to drive through the NWFP (North West Frontier
Province) in Pakistan to get drugs — he hid it in Rana’s
military vehicle without Rana knowing it!
So, this is a man for who everybody is an opportunity
for him. And if you look at that methodology, as soon as
he is captured, he is always bidding with the Americans,
he is bidding with them — I can give you this, I can get
you that, I can take you here; and he ultimately runs out
He gets himself into a terrible situation with a lot of
really big consignment of drugs. As I said, when caught
he needs to offer something really good to get himself off
There is a closed court record in America which
shows the court is eternally grateful for the cooperation Headley is now giving. And we then see
subsequently after that all the other people
involved in the drug conspiracy in 1999 answer
present sentences in excess of four, five years.
So we know that the deal is done, we know that
he is in their employment, we know from people
working from the security establishment that he
becomes untrusted because he is as yet untested.
But very interesting as a proposition is the
approach of the American establishment. We
know because Lashkar and elements within the
ISI and the Pakistan military were also skeptical
about Headley. And pretty much from the beginning believe that he may well be an American
They were being entrapped into becoming
involved with something very different; a kind of
very adventurous operation they had never done
They are very careful about how they push the
Did you meet people from America for this book? Did
jihad factory and to take on American, British,
There were suspicions that Headley was a provocateur
from America, from their side too.
the Central Intelligence Agency and other agencies who
interrogated Headley cooperate with your work?
Yes, we talked with some people who had worked with
Headley, they have something called the Joint Terrorism
Task Force, and they bring together into this lots of different elements of the security establishment — from the
FBI and from the police and from intelligence services,
they form an organization that can talk.
‘THERE WAS A SHOWDOWN IN 2009. VERY
SENIOR PEOPLE AND THE INDIAN
ESTABLISHMENT CONFRONTED THE
AMERICANS IN DELHI, AND SAID, YOU HAVE
BETRAYED US BECAUSE YOU ALLOWED
HEADLEY TO STAY IN PLAY, BECAUSE YOU
WERE GREEDY FOR AL QAEDA, AND
YOU HAVE SACRIFICED MUMBAI.’
S TR/AFP/GE TT Y IMAGES
‘AMERICA CONCEALED ITS KNOWLEDGE, ITS TRUE
KNOWLEDGE OF THE GROWING RISK ON MUMBAI’
The bloodied Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station in Mumbai, December 26, 2008.
26/11 played out on the media, like 9/11.