Split life defined alleged Mumbai attack conspirator
David Coleman Headley lived in two worlds – using a fake name and a fake job to help a terrorist group in Pakistan plan the 2008 Mumbai attack and a potential attack against a Danish newspaper, the FBI says. He pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges Wednesday.
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Although federal authorities say Headley did not show he possessed significant financial resources, he managed to take multiple trips overseas under the ruse of First World. Besides attending several training camps in Pakistan run by Lashkar-e-Taiba, an anti-India terrorist organization there, he displayed the stature of an international businessman.Skip to next paragraph
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Indian newspapers have been abuzz over references in his correspondence to going to see "Rahul" in Mumbai – someone Indian reports have linked with the thriving film industry there.
A wandering life
It is characteristic of a life that has seen many twists and turns. After his birth in the US, the family soon moved to Pakistan, where he was raised and educated at a military school outside Islamabad. His mother, however, returned to the US, and after 10 years in Pakistan Headley broke off his Pakistani education to join her in Philadelphia, where she ran a bar called the Khyber Pass.
Twenty years later, he was convicted of smuggling heroin into the country in Brooklyn and sentenced to 15 months in prison.
During the past few years, Headley communicated with members of Lashkar-e-Taiba through cell phone and e-mail, using coded language that would otherwise describe ordinary business dealings.
Among the terms meant to describe receiving religious redemption were "rich," and making a "profit" while the discussions of both plots were described using words like "investments," "projects," "business," and "action." He called the Danish plot "the Mickey Mouse Project."
Although he adopted the name "Headley" wherever he traveled, he often posted to Yahoo discussion groups as Daood Gilani, which revealed a more passionate believer than the sober businessman he portrayed in person.
On October 29, 2008, Headley wrote of the Denmark plot: "Everything is not a joke. We are not rehearsing a skit on Saturday Night Live ... call me old-fashioned but I feel disposed towards violence for the offending parties."
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