Pakistan’s spy agency ISI was planning recruitment of retired Indian military personnel to penetrate into the system and then use them for its anti-India activities, according to LeT operative David Headley.
Less than six months before the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, ‘Major’ Iqbal, Headley’s handler in ISI, asked him to put an advertisement in a Mumbai newspaper that an employment agency in Canada was looking for people to work in Canada, the LeT operative said in his testimony before a Chicago court during the recently-concluded trial of Tahawwur Rana.
This was to be a cover to hiring military personnel, at the direction of ‘Major’ Iqbal who had earlier directed him to use the immigration business of Rana for the planning of 26/11 operation.
“He (‘Major’ Iqbal) told me to put an ad in a newspaper, which was — like an employment agency looking for people to work in Canada. And amongst those many various types of jobs, he wanted to put in security personnel because he thought retired military people would respond to that kind of ad.
“In fact, we added that part in the ad where it said military service preferred,” Headley told the court in response to a question from the public prosecutor.
“And why were you putting the ‘military service referred’ into the ad?” the attorney asked. “So that we might get a better response from retired military personnel,” Headley said.
“Was ‘Major’ Iqbal asking you to engage Indian military, retired people?” the U.S. attorney asked. “Yes,” he said.
Headley said ‘Major’ Iqbal gave him Rs. 25,000 to place such an ad in the newspaper.
At the direction of ‘Major’ Iqbal, Headley returned to Mumbai in July 2008 and started the process of closing his immigration business in the city, while at the same time conducting the final round of surveillance of the sites given to him by his Pakistani handlers, which Headley said was approved by ‘Major’ Iqbal.