easy being the chief of one of the U.S. Department of
Defense's largest contractors. At the trial of accused
terrorist David Coleman Headley, he revealed that he plotted with al-Qaida and local Pakistani terrorists to
assassinate the head of Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT).
I. A Troubled Past
David Headley grew up as Daood Sayed Gilani. The son of a U.S. government
radio broadcaster and diplomat at the U.S. Pakistani embassy in Washington
D.C., Mr. Gilani was immersed in American culture. But when his parent's
marriage fractured in 1960s Mr. Gilani was dragged to Pakistan and became
indoctrinated with local attitudes and prejudices.
In 1977 after a coup in Pakistan, his mother came and brought him back to the
U.S. He worked at her bar and briefly married a Pennsylvania State University student, but
was divorced due to the vast cultural differences.
She recalled, "When he would go to Pakistan he
would get all riled up again. Infidels. He would use words like that. When he
would see an Indian person in the street, he used to spit, spit in the street
to make a point. I guess he was torn between two cultures. I think he liked
both. He didn't know how to blend them."
Mr. Gilani went on to start a pair of video rental stores in Pennsylvania.
At the same time he was plotting a grander business venture -- drug
smuggling. A heroin addict himself, purportedly; he began smuggling the
opiate into the U.S. from Pakistan. He was arrested twice -- first in
1987, then in 1997.
In exchange for cooperating with the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Agency (DEA), Mr. Gilani's sentence for the second
offense was slashed. He traveled to Pakistan several times between 2002
and 2005; ostensibly working as an undercover DEA agent and funneling
information back to the U.S.
However, at the same time he was secretly attending Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) train
camps. Lashkar-e-Taiba was a local jihadist group, which advocated
violence and had ties to al-Qaida.
In 2006 Mr. Gilani (Headley) changed his name David Headley to avoided problems
at border crossings. He went to work at the Chicago business of Hussain
Rana, a Canadian-Pakistani who he met in military school in Pakistan in
Mr. Rana allegedly sheltered Mr. Headley (Gilani), allowing him to begin his
more violent line of work -- terrorism.
II. Multiple Attacks Planned
Mr. Headley and Mr. Rana had close ties with Pakistani military officers and
local terrorists. Allegedly in 2008 they conspired to carry out a scheme
to attack Mumbai, India's largest city.
Due to his new Christian-sounding name and American passport, Mr. Headley was
able to easily visit India and conduct surveillance.
The India government analysts have accused
Mr. Headley of working as a double agent, at the time for U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who
knew about his LeT ties. Allegedly, Mr. Headley fed details about the
planned attack to the U.S. government.
In an effort to protect their source, the U.S. government redacted parts of the
plan, revealing only certain details. As a result, the Indian government
largely ignored the warning and the attacks proved a deadly success, killing
over 164 people.
The CIA categorically denies employing Mr. Headley.
Sometime in late 2008 or early 2009, Mr. Headley made a trip to Copenhagen,
Denmark to survey the offices of Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, whom
Pakistani terrorists were targeting due to its publication of cartoons insulting the Islamic prophet
The plan, later aborted, was to attack the offices, possibly with a bomb, and
also strike a local Synagogue.
Around the same time Mr. Headley made another trip to India, in March 2009, to
plan more attacks. This time he surveyed a defense college in Delhi and
the Chabad Houses -- local Jewish settlements in urban centers around the
His plans were cut short when he was arrested in October 2009. Soon
after, in March 2010 he pled guilty in exchange for prosecutors taking the
death penalty off the table and preventing his extradition to India, Pakistan,
or Denmark. As part of the plea deal Mr. Headley was to testify against
III. Testimony Reveals New Insight Into Headley's Plot
In testimony in U.S. Federal Court in Chicago, Mr. Headley revealed new details
on a stunning plot to kill Robert J. Stevens,
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer at Lockheed Martin.
He states his justifications, commenting in testimony carried by DefenseNews,
"There was a plan to kill him because he was making drones."
The testimony alludes to the drone bombers that have been highly successful in
locating and destroying terrorist strongholds in Iraq,
Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
The plot was allegedly supervised by Ilyas Kashmiri, the commander of the
Pakistani-based terrorist organization Harakat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI), and a
senior member of al-Qaida. Mr. Headley connected with Mr. Kashmiri via
ties in LeT and through Rana.
He says he used Mr. Rana's computer multiple times for research, unbeknownst to
him, but that the more serious research Mr. Rana was aware of. He states,
"My research is more in-depth than Googling someone a couple of
In his testimony, the defense attorney for Mr. Rana, who contends his
innocence, grilled Mr. Headley.
IV. Who is Robert Stevens?
Robert Stevens, 60, graduated in the 1970s from Slippery Rock University in
Arkansas and later attended Polytechnic University of New York, receiving
a master’s degree in engineering and management. After a brief stint
serving in the U.S. Marine Corps,
in 1987 he received his masters in business administration from Columbia
After receiving his MBA, Mr. Stevens joined Lockheed Martin. He worked
there for several years and was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2000.
From there he was appointed CEO in 2004, when Vance Coffman stepped down.
Since then Mr. Stevens has been highly regarded as among the top CEOs at a
Fortune 500 company (Lockheed Martin ranks number 52 on the current list).