Report: David Headley Cooperating in Chicago Terror Probe

The Chicago Tribune reports that terror suspect David Headley, aka Daood Gilani, is cooperating with authorities and providing information about the Mumbai terror attacks of November, 2008.
David Coleman Headley, who has been cooperating with authorities, is being investigated as a scout for the Mumbai attack, which targeted multiple sites, including two hotels, a train station, a cafe and a Jewish community center. A source familiar with the probe said Headley's co-defendant in the newspaper case, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, is suspected to have paid for Headley's India missions.
As I wrote here, it wouldn't be the first time Headley has cooperated. Under his original name, Daood Gilani, he worked his way out of a 1997 heroin case by providing information to the DEA. He ended up with a 15 month sentence (his co-defendant James Lewis got 100 months.) After Headley/Gilani was released from prison, and while he was on supervised release, the court granted him permission to travel to Pakistan. The Government then joined his request to terminate his supervised release three years early. [More...]

07/20/1999 ORDER as to Daood Saleem Gilani, endorsed on letter dated 7/14/99 from Howard Leader to Judge Amon, requesting permission to travel to Pakistan from 8.10.99 through 9.15.99. Application granted. ( Signed by Judge Carol B. Amon , on 7/16/99) (Jean (Entered: 07/20/1999)

11/16/2001 CALENDAR ENTRY as to Daood Saleem Gilani ; Case called before Judge Carol B. Amon on 11/16/01 for Status Conf. ESR: Loan Hong. AUSA: Michael Beys; Howard Leader, Esq. for the Deft. Joint application for termination of Supervised Release granted. (Permaul, Jenny) (Entered: 11/20/2001) (my emphasis)

12/27/2001 ORDER as to Daood Saleem Gilani. It is ordered that the releasee be discharged from supervised release and that the proceedings in the case be terminated. Signed by Judge Carol B. Amon, on 12/18/01. (Entered: 12/27/2001)

Further review of court records from the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York reveal that in addition to his own case involving importation of heroin from Pakistan, Gilani/Headley was the Government's "star witness" against a defendant in a similar case, U.S. v. Ikram Haq. (Headley/Gilani was busted in February, 1997. By March, he was cooperating. In July, Haq and a co-defendant, Maroof Ahmed were arrested and charged.)

Headley/Gilani must not have been too credible because Ikram Haq, the only one who went to trial, was acquitted. Before Haq's trial, the AUSA trying the case, Eric Tirschwell (now a defense attorney, who interestingly represents both Bernie Kerik and one of the Guantanamo detainees released to Palau) moved the court to provide Haq's defense counsel with two paragraphs of Gilani's probation report under "Giglio" (meaning it contained impeachment evidence that the Government is required to turn over.) From the docket:

07/28/1998 LETTER dated 7/28/98 from AUSA Eric A. Tirschwell to Sam A. Schmidt, Esq. that I am attaching two excerpts from Mr. Gilani's presentence report which Judge Amon today authorized to be released pursuant to Giglio v. United States. (Entered: 07/29/1998)
As to why Maroof pleaded guilty before trial: He was between a rock and a hard place as in April, 1999, he was also charged, along with his brother Shahzad, in a heroin case in the Southern District of New York. Shahzad went to trial (Gilani/Headley does not appear to have been a witness in that case) and got 262 months.

According to this article, the charges involved $1 million of heroin imported from Pakistan. Just last month, the Second Circuit rejected Shazhad's habeas petition. Maroof is serving 78 months at the federal prison camp in Schuylkill, PA and posting internet requests for pen pals.

So Headley began cooperating with the DEA in 1997, was not a convincing witness for the DEA in 1998, but the Government didn't object to him going to Pakistan in 1999 after he got released from prison at Ft. Dix, and still sought his early termination from supervised release at the end of 2001.

Given that history, it's not surprising Headley is going to cooperate and implicate others in his new terror case. The lawyer for Tahawwur Hussain Rana, Headley's current codefendant in the Chicago case, says Headley may have duped his client.

And now, the probe is expanding to determine whether Headley was involved in the Mumbai attacks. India newspapers today report that Harakat-ul-Jihad-Islami (HuJI) commander Ilyas Kashmiri, has been arrested in Pakistan at the request of the F.B.I.

Besides Headley and Rana, Kashmiri is among the five players listed by FBI in its affidavits against the terror duo in a Chicago court. Former commander in the Afghan jihad, Kashmiri was first arrested in October 2005 on charges of attacks against then Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf in 2003. He was, however, released and has since been coordinating with LeT members for their terror operations through well-trained and educated jihadis.
As to Individual A and B, unnamed in the Chicago Complaint, this news article takes a stab at identifying them.

So, if the F.B.I. ordered Kashmiri's arrest, or is planning on going after Indivdual A, is it planning on bringing either one to the U.S. to face charges in Chicago -- using Headley again as their star witness? That might be good news for the other defendants.

I hope the DEA and Department of Justice at some point explain their embrace of Headley/Gilani -- especially after his testimony failed to result in the conviction of the charged defendant. Maybe Maroof, who is looking for a pen pal, has some information to share. Or maybe the feds can offer Shahzad and Maroof some time off their drug sentences if they have information on Headley or his associates in Pakistan.

If Headley got involved with terrorists -- and keep in mind the charges are not evidence, just allegations -- it either happened after he stopped working for the DEA (a date we don't know, but appears to be 2002 or later) or it happened before they took him on as an informant and cooperator, or while he was working for them, in which case, they aren't going to look too smart for missing it.

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    Really interesting (none / 0) (#1)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 06:43:37 AM EST
    Any chance Headley was actually working with some part of the US government even after 2002, to infiltrate and inform on potential terrorists?