Chicago: In further indictment of ISI, 26/11 accused David Coleman Headley on Monday said the Pakistani spy agency and its operatives like Major Iqbal and LeT founder Hafiz Saeed had helped him in laying the groundwork for the Mumbai attacks.
The testimony by 50-year-old Headley, a prosecution witness, came as the trial of Mumbai attacks co-accused and his longtime friend Tahawwur Rana, a Canadian of Pakistani origin, opened in the US at Chicago’s Dirksen Federal Building. Pakistani-American Headley is also a co-accused.
“They (ISI and LeT) coordinated with each other and ISI provided assistance to Lashkar,” Headley told judge Harry D. Leinenweber.
According to Headley, Rana’s old friend from military school in Pakistan, two years before terrorists struck Mumbai, he began laying the groundwork for the attack with $25,000 finance from Major Iqbal.
Headley said that when LeT leaders began talking about a possible attack in India, he suggested that he get involved.
“I suggested that I change my name and make a new passport to make it easy to enter India undetected,” he told the court.
Headley said ISI provided help to LeT and that he first started training in Pakistan more than a decade ago with the Lashkar.
Headley said LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind behind the 26/11 attacks that killed 166 people, motivated him for carrying out a “jihad”. Saeed told him that the satisfaction of one second of “jihad” is equal to “100 years of worship.”
LeT operators also chose Headley because he was an American and that people would least suspect him.
A bald Headley, wearing a blue T-shirt and a black jacket, said that besides Hafiz Saeed and Major Iqbal, others like Major Abdur Rehman Pasha, Zaki Saab and Sajid Mir, who are named by him in the case, had helped him.
He said ISI provided financial and military assistance to Lashkar and he assumed they worked under the same umbrella.
Headley had scouted India’s key atomic installation BARC and had visited Shiv Sena headquarters in Mumbai, prosecutor Sarah Streicker told the judge.
Headley had gone to the Shiv Sena office to build contacts with its public relations officer Rajaram Rege.
Streicker said that Rana knew all along what Headley was doing with the preparation of the attacks and that “India deserved it”.
“Rana knew all along what Headley was doing and defendant moved his business for Headley’s terror and plotting of attacks,” Streicker told the court.
“Defendant Rana knew about the deadly consequences of his assistance and he did not stop to provide assistance,” Streicker added.
On the other hand, Rana’s lawyer Charlie Swift, who has defended the case of Osama bin Laden’s driver Salim Ahmed Hamdan, said that Headley was “manipulative leading multi-lives” and maintained three wives.
Swift also played a telephonic call between Abdur Rehman Pasha and Headley in which he made fun of Rana. Swift said that Headley was a double agent who worked for ISI and CIA, DEA at the same time.