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Entries in David Headley (4)

Thursday
May262011

Mumbai Terror Attack Trial: Headley Dodged FBI to Plot Denmark Attack

LORENZO TUGNOLI/AFP/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- David Headley, the Pakistani-American man who helped plan the Mumbai terrorist attacks, testified Thursday that although he was informed the FBI wanted meet with him in December 2008, he wanted to continue to prepare for an attack in Denmark.

Headley is the government's star witness at the trial of Tahawwur Rana, who is charged with providing material support to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, the terrorist group behind the Mumbai attacks. Rana allegedly supported Headley's operational planning for the attacks by letting him use his immigration business as a front for Headley's time in Mumbai.

After the Mumbai attacks, Headley's cousin in Philadelphia informed him that the FBI wanted to speak with him. At the time, Headley said, he was in Pakistan.

"I didn't want to wait," Headley told the jury about wanting to press ahead with an attack on the Jyllands Posten newspaper.

Headley and terrorist groups targeted the newspaper for publishing cartoons that mocked the prophet Muhammad.

Although there was pressure on members of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, the group behind the Mumbai attacks, Headley said he was not concerned the FBI wanted to speak to him.

"It didn't seem anything serious," Headley said during his cross-examination by defense attorneys about his connections with Rana and his handlers in Pakistan.

The attacks planned for Denmark were dubbed the "Mickey Mouse Project" by Headley for use in coded conversations.

During his visits to Denmark in early 2009, Headley allegedly used the cover of Rana's business to visit the newspaper's offices, where he expressed interest in buying an advertisement for the Immigrant Law Center. Headley made surveillance films of the newspaper's offices and surrounding areas.

Headley was arrested in October 2009, when he was leaving the United States to go to Pakistan to give his handlers the surveillance videos.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May252011

Defense Questions Mumbai Planner About Heroin Smuggling-DEA Work

Comstock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- After three days of being questioned by prosecutors, convicted terrorist David Headley was sharply questioned about his past as a convicted drug smuggler, work as a DEA informant and his own testimony in the ongoing terrorism trial in Chicago.
 
Headley is the government's star witness at the trial of Tahawwur Rana, who is charged with providing material support to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, the terrorist group behind the Mumbai attacks. Rana allegedly supported Headley's operational planning for the attacks by letting him use his immigration business as a front during Headley's time in Mumbai.
 
Under cross-examination Rana’s defense attorney Charles Swift immediately focused on Headley’s relationship with Rana, stretching back to their school years in Pakistan, where Headley grew up.  While Rana was at the top of his class, Headley said he was a “very bad” student and that Rana helped him with his school work.
 
The defense attorney focused on Headley and his drug use and eventual path to becoming a drug smuggler, contrasting it with Rana, who was studying in medical school to be a doctor.
 
Swift told the jury, “He was your friend, but he didn’t do what you were doing.”
 
Headley testified he took Rana to the tribal areas in Pakistan in 1984 so he could use him as a cover while Headley picked up a stash of heroin. Rana at the time was serving in the military and so their car was unlikely to be searched.
 
Headley was arrested two times for drug offenses and was eventually incarcerated. He testified that in the late 1990s, Rana posted bail for him by putting his house up for the bond. Shortly after he was released, Headley became an informant for the DEA. He testified that he became interested in Lashkar while he was working for the DEA in Pakistan. 

Swift highlighted that Headley never told the counter-narcotics agents about his links to the group.
 
The defense also highlighted complaints made against Headley to the FBI because of his extremist views after the 9/11 attacks but noted that Headley cited his work for the DEA to avoid any trouble or scrutiny.

Headley faces life in prison for pleading guilty to his role in the Indian attacks. Headley's sentencing is being postponed until the government concludes they have obtained his full cooperation.
 
The defense is expected to question Headley for another full day.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May242011

Key Mumbai Planner David Headley Tesifies He Was 'Pleased' with 2008 Attacks

Comstock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Chicago resident David Headley testified Tuesday that he was pleased with the results of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 164 people, including six Americans.

Headley is the government's star witness at the trial of Tahawwur Rana who is charged with providing material support to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, the terrorist group behind the attacks. Rana allegedly supported Headley's operational planning for the attacks by letting him use his immigration business as a front for Headley's time in Mumbai.

Headley, who himself faces a lifetime prison term, pleaded guilty last year to conducting reconnaissance for the Mumbai attacks and planning attacks in Denmark.

Tuesday in court, he described his last several months in Mumbai, and the final orders he received from his handler from Pakistan's intelligence agency, a man known only as Major Iqbal -- which he said provide help to the terrorists.

Headley said that in the final months before the attacks he was asked to conduct surveillance and mark on his GPS the location of the Chabad house, an Orthodox Jewish outreach center in Mumbai. Headley said that Major Iqbal was interested in attacking the Chabad House since Iqbal believed it was allegedly a front for the Mossad, Israel's intelligence service.

During the attacks, Americans Gabriel Noah Holtzberg and his pregnant wife Rivka were killed by the Lashkar terrorists.

In his second day of testimony, Headley described how he received instructions to shoot surveillance films for the attackers to help them plan their routes. Headley also testified that he purchased traditional colorful bracelets worn by young boys and men in Mumbai so that the attackers would blend in.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May232011

Key Mumbai Terror Plot Planner Testifies at Chicago Trial

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- One of the key planners behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks testified Monday that Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, the terrorist group accused of carrying out the coordinated shootings and bombings in India, has connections within Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency.

David Headley took the witness stand Monday as the government's first witness in the Chicago terrorism trial of businessman Tahawwur Rana, 50, who has been charged with three counts of providing material support to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba by assisting Headley.

Headley, who pleaded guilty last year to terrorism charges, conducted surveillance and casing videos for the attackers and used a GPS to program in key location markers for the Mumbai terrorists as they moved to their targets and ravaged the city for three days in November 2008, striking luxury hotels, the train station, restaurants and a Jewish center.

Headley went to Pakistan as a U.S. government informant but later linked up with the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba terrorist group after he arrived.

Headley testified that in 2004, after meeting with top leaders in the group, he proposed that Lashkar sue the United States government to challenge its designation as a terrorist organization. Top leaders in the group told Headley they would need to consult with the Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence agency if they were to try to sue the United States.

Headley's testimony continued Monday afternoon. He also was expected to discuss his plans to open an office in Mumbai to conduct casing work. His testimony could last several days, according to Justice Department officials. The trial itself is expected to last four to five weeks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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