Chicago, May 31 : LeT operative David Headley today testified before a US court that al-Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri had a plan to kill CEO of Lockheed Martin in frustration over drone attacks along the Af-Pak border and had sent men for surveillance.
Testifying in the resumed hearing on the Mumbai attack trial, Headley said following his arrest he had offered to help FBI by giving a sword implanted with a chip to Kashmiri so that he could be targeted by drone attacks. “There was a plan to kill him because he was making drones,” Headley testified during the trial of Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Mumbai attack co-accused.
50-year-old Headley, a Pakistani-American, said this while being cross-examined by defence lawyer of Tawahhur Hussain Rana, a 26/11 co-accused and a Canadian of Pakistani origin who is standing trial after being slapped with a dozen charges in connection with the Mumbai attacks in which 166 persons were killed.
“(Ilyas) Kashmiri had plan to kill CEO of Lockheed Martin to stop any further drone attacks,” Headley said, adding the dreaded al Qaeda leader plotted the killing out of frustration over the attacks on the volatile Af-Pak border.
Lockheed are manufacturers of drone planes which are being used by American forces to strike targets at militant hideouts. Headley replied in the negative when asked if he was working on a plot to kill the Lockheed Martin boss.
Headley, who has pleaded guilty in the case, testified that Kashmiri had arranged for men to carry out surveillance in the US in connection with the plot to kill the Lockheed CEO.
Headley testified that he was secretly researching on internet at Rana's home.
“My research is more in-depth than Googling someone a couple of times,” he testified during cross-examination by Rana's defence attorney.
He also said that he tried to get a longer visa to stay in Pakistan through his school friend Aman Rashid who worked at Pakistan consulate in Chicago.
The trial has so far focused on the testimony of Headley who has exposed the nexus between ISI and LeT in carrying out the Mumbai terror attacks.
Headley pleaded guilty to 12 terrorism charges related to the deadly 26/11 attacks and other plots in the wake of his 2009 arrest here.
During his deposition Headley said that only a handful of ISI agents were involved in the 26/11 attacks. Asked whether he meant that the head of ISI was not involved, he said “Yes”.
He is testifying against alleged co-conspirator Rana in exchange for avoiding the death penalty and extradition to India, Pakistan or Denmark.
On being asked by Rana's lawyer whether he had struck a deal with the US under which there will be no death sentence and no extradition to India, Pakistan and Denmark, Headley replied in the affirmative.
As the trial unfolded, more links between ISI and LeT are emerging with Headley narrating his side of the story that he started straying away from the so-called “ISI Jihad” with Major Iqbal and Sajid Mir toward a more “holy jihad” with Pasha or Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, a retired major from the Pakistani Army, who connected Headley with Kashmiri.
Headley said, he felt remorseful for those killed in the Mumbai attacks.
To another question, Headley said Rana had agreed to invest USD 11,000 in land deals in Pakistan and he too was allowed by the US to strike property deals with his partners in that country.
Asked by Rana's lawyer whether US has accorded him special treatment by allowing him to meet his wife and children, Headley said, “Yes”.
Headley said that he had told his wife Shazia that he would write a book. “If I write a book, I can make huge amounts of money,” he said.
During the testimony, Headley said, he did not recall being treated for mental disorder. But when pressed by Rana's lawyer Patrick Blegen, Headley said he recalled telling FBI agent Scott Dunham on May 13 this year that he was treated for 18 months in 1997 at the Philadelphia Psychiatric Consultation Centre.
On whether he had been diagnosed with personality disorder in 1992, Headley replied “I don't recall. I will accept it.”
Headley tried to get his kids into school by getting employee ID for Shazia who did not have work permit through Rana. Rana said Headley's employment proof would do. PTI