Some Lesser Known Facts About David Headley
- Does David Headley smoke?: Yes
- Does David Headley drink alcohol?: Yes
- He grew up as a child of two nations. His father was a Pakistani and his mother was an American.
- His father Sayed Salim Gilani was a well-known Pakistani diplomat and broadcaster.
- In 1960, when Headley was born, his family settled in Lahore, Pakistan.
- His mother was unable to adapt to Pakistani culture and returned to the United States.
- Headley was brought up in Pakistani political environment and Islamic conservatism.
- During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, a stray bomb hit Headley’s school and Pakistan’s defeat in the war filled hatred in his mind towards India.
- During his schooling, he used to take part in political and Islamic debates regularly.
- He had a contentious relationship with his step-mother.
- In 1977, with the help of his biological mother, Alice Serrill Headley, he moved to the United States and settled there with his mother in Philadelphia, where he helped her manage the Khyber Pass Pub and her Wine Bar.
- When Headley was in college, he married a Pennsylvania State University student in 1985 but the two divorced due to their cultural ideological differences in 1987.
- He made visits to Pakistan frequently and befriended some Heroin drug peddlers and started taking drugs.
- When he was 24 years old, he used to smuggle half a kilogram of heroin out of the Pakistani tribal areas. During that time, he was once arrested for drug possession but managed to escape the charges somehow.
- When he was caught in West Germany in 1988 for the charges of drug-smuggling, he agreed to surrender his partners in Philadelphia in exchange for a lighter sentence. For this cooperation, he was sentenced to 4 years in prison while his two partners received 8 and 10 years imprisonment.
- During the hearing of his drug-smuggling case, the judge offered him a job in DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) to capture drug-smugglers and he accepted the offer, then in 1998, DEA sent him to Pakistan to remove suspicions amongst his partners about his prior absence, and to gain intelligence on the country’s heroin trafficking networks. His assistance to DEA led to five arrests and the seizure of 2½ kilos of heroin.
- Once on his visit to Lahore, he was introduced to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a terrorist organization. He made further trips to Pakistan without the knowledge of U.S. authorities and engrossed himself in LeT ideology.
- He became a very fast friend of LeT’s spiritual leader, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, and committed himself to the group’s struggle against India.
- After the 9/11 attack, a New York City bartender named Terry O’Donnell reported about Headley to FBI after Headley’s ex-girlfriend told him that he had praised the 9/11 hijackers and watched the clip of the attack many times on TV. Therefore, the United States defense department questioned him but Headley denied all the accusations.
- In February 2002, he went to a LeT training camp and got admitted to a three-week introductory course on LeT ideology on Jihad.
- In 2006, his previous name Daood Sayed Gilani was changed to David Coleman Headley for his mission to India.
- From 2007 to 2008, he visited India five times, stayed in The Taj Mahal Hotel and tried to befriend Rahul Bhatt, the son of Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt, who guided him through the city.
- After one year of 26/11 attack, on October 9, 2009, Headley was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport while he was making a trip to Pakistan. He unfolded his connection with LeT, ISI agents, and Pakistani Army personnels. He confessed all the charges labeled against him.
- On January 24, 2013, Headley, then 52 years old, sentenced to 35 years in prison for his participation in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
- In July 2018, he was deadly attacked by some inmates at a prison in Chicago.
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