Coun. Rob Ford said he was startled to learn he was mentioned Wednesday as a potential target at the trial for two men accused of plotting to derail a Via Rail train.
Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier face multiple terror-related charges in the alleged plot to target a train between New York and Toronto. They’ve both pleaded not guilty.
The pair were arrested in April 2013 after an undercover FBI agent spent months gaining their trust the year before, surreptitiously recording conversations during long walks.
The court heard Wednesday that on one walk, Jaser revealed a “sniper plot.”
“He explained that (Canadian) authority figures don’t travel with security like they do in the States,” the officer said. “They’re much more accessible. In fact, he told me the Toronto mayor takes the subway…He said something about cutting the head off the snake and the body will be confused.”
Rob Ford was mayor at the time, although he usually drove to city hall from his Etobicoke home. His predecessor, David Miller, however, was known to ride the subway.
Ford said he was shocked to hear that he may have been considered a target.
“It’s disturbing, shocking. It’s unexpected,” he said.
“I’ve never hurt anyone…It really bothers me. I’ve got a young family. But it’s not the first time I’ve been threatened. But nobody’s gonna stop me from doing my job.”
Ford said the idea of increased security doesn’t jive with his personable approach to politics.
“I was offered to have security and…if everyone has security, we’re not gonna be doing our job,” he said. “I love mixing and mingling with people, taking pictures, shaking hands. Security…doesn’t want anyone to touch you. I couldn’t do my job.”
He also said he was surprised to only learn of the alleged threat on Wednesday, from a reporter.
“I think the first thing that jumped in my mind is that it went that far up to the FBI and nobody even told me. That’s what bothers me the most.”
“This is pretty serious,” he added. “These are the type of people you don’t mess with.”