Mind of a terrorist' suffers from a Danish overhang. The author Kaare Sorenson is from Denmark and hence a significant overlay in the book is about the efforts of Headley on the Danish news paper’s offices.
Dawood Gilani aka David Headley is the ultimate dream recruit for any terrorist organization or for an undercover operation. Fluent in 3 languages, a white man who can blend into any environment, mixed parentage who could merge easily into the bylanes of Manhattan as he could into the crowded streets of Pakistan. Alternating between two worlds…in the US due to a mother of American origin and in Pakistan…where his father was the equivalent of the Head of All India Radio…gone astray somewhere post his parent’s seperation….he was the quintessential double agent who was simultaneously on the payroll of the US FBI and also the LET…and neither being aware that he was doing double duty.…..As a person of Pakistani origin , he had access and free movement into Pakistan and its hinterlands….and as an US citizen…and an undercover drug busting agent, he could walk in and walk out thru the immigration gates of US. Fate has something else in store for him …..and he finally finds his calling in Jihad….. While it is easy for governments to go behind terrorist organisations and decimate them….our history is replete with these actions…it is actually these sleepers/ undercover agents and the ordinary laymen…who operate below the radar…merge into multiple contexts seamlessly….who are a bigger threat and source of worry…..and David Healey/ Dawood Gilani…is one such person.
The ease with which he moved around in India on his reconnaissance visits and identifying targets for attack and reported to his bosses in Pakistan, befriended the rich and mighty in Mumbai while working for LET is of concern and also shows the sloppiness of our intelligence networks …..the final result of his efforts was for all to see when India’s premier commercial city was literally held hostage for 96 hours and which we so painfully endured live on national television.
The book also deals with his growing ambitions and wanting to do something bigger and more dramatic…his plans to attack the offices of Jyllands Posten in Denmark( remember the Prophet Mohammad cartoons issue)……is covered in great detail.This part is boring. Fate finally catches up with him and he is on a prison sentence in an US jail after having bargained his way thru.
The book suffers from an identity crisis….is this about Healey or is this about Jyllands Postens and the aftermath of the Mohammad cartoons...possibly written for Danish and European audience….the book leaves you wanting something more comprehensive and definitve.. Definitely not one of the better books on terror. Avoid.