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The life of the US-born son of a Pakistani poet-diplomat and an American mother was a heady cocktail of drugs, sex and money.The man who frequented the world's largest drug zone, the Golden Crescent in the Af-Pak region, as a drug pusher in the 1980s was later involved in its second biggest export: Terrorism.
By 2002, the DEA double agent had became a triple agent.Hours after ten terrorists struck Mumbai in November 26, 2008, Shazia Gilani sent husband David Coleman Headley a coded email."I am watching cartoons," wrote the Chicago-based homemaker.Headley's meticulous, hostile recces over nine trips to India between 20 obtained target videos and precise Global Positioning System coordinates which would allow gunmen who had never travelled out of Pakistan before to steer themselves to the five pre-selected targets with ease.He ruled out a strike against Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's home, Matoshree: The terrorists could not travel 15 km from Colaba to his Bandra home, he reasoned.Headley is wanted not only for his role in plotting the 26/11 attack but also for planning a strike at the National Defence University in Delhi that trains senior armed forces officers and bureaucrats as well as at tourist spots in Pune and Goa in March 2009.
The home ministry has sought the extradition of both Headley and his Pakistani-Canadian co-conspirator Tahawwur Rana (sentenced to 14 years in Chicago) under a second case registered against them by the National Investigation Agency (NIA)."Headley is one link that connects all the missing pieces of 26/11," says an NIA official.
The Le T and the ISI evidently had a bigger, more important role for him in mind.
The smooth operator In September 2006, he arrived in Mumbai as David Coleman Headley, carrying a brand new US passport and $25,000 given to him by the ISI's Major Iqbal for scouting targets in Mumbai. Sources say his New York-based make-up artist girlfriend helped him change his look.
Headley was now being trained as a militant separately by both the ISI and Le T.
He was almost unrecognisable in the salwar kameez, a traditional Afghan 'pakol' cap and a beard that touched his chest. He was trained in camps first in the Le T headquarters in Muridke outside Lahore and then in gruelling sessions in the mountains of Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
US investigative website Pro Publica notes that in 1984, Headley was caught trying to smuggle heroin out of Pakistan's tribal areas. In 1988, he was caught trying to smuggle 2 kg heroin into the US from Frankfurt airport.