Monday, June 6, 2011

Did Headley's info help US locate Kashmiri?

The Times of India

IANS | Jun 6, 2011, 06.08am IST

CHICAGO: One compelling possibility that arises in the aftermath of the drone killing of Ilyas Kashmiriis whether key Mumbai terror plotter David Headleyoffered actionable intelligence on the powerful al-Qaida commander's whereabouts. 

While it is nearly impossible to confirm what specifically Headley might have revealed to the US federal investigators and whether that intelligence helped establish Kashmiri's location, his plea deal with the government and his five days of testimony that concluded last week point to his close ties with the Harkat-ul Jihad al Islami (HuJI) leader. 

Headley first met Kashmiri in February 2009 along with Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, a formerPakistani army officer also known as Pasha, in Waziristan. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the details of video surveillance ofCopenhagen carried out by Headley as part of a plot to attack the office of the Morgenavisen Jylland-Posten newspaper which had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in 2005. Headley and Pasha met Kashmiri again in May that year in the same Waziristan area. 

US authorities have maintained that Kashmiri wanted to carry out a suicide attack on the newspaper and have the attackers behead newspaper employees and throw their heads out of the building to create maximum impact. Having been to Kashmiri's Waziristan location at least twice, Headley had a fair idea where to point the US investigators to. After his arrest in October 2009, as Headley began showing near desperation to cooperate with the federal investigators to earn his plea deal, he felt so compelled to ensure that his information led to some major arrest that he offered an extraordinary idea to the US government. 

He told them they should send him back to Pakistan with an ornate sword embedded with a locator chip which he could gift Kashmiri. The US then could use the signal from the chip to locate and target him. There is nothing to suggest that US even considered the idea.

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