Court Denies Bail for Headley's Co-Defendant in Ill. Terror Case

A federal magistrate judge in Chicago yesterday denied bail for Tahawwur Hussain Rana, co-defendant of David Headley, aka Daood Gilani. Rana is charged with providing material support to terrorists via a planned attack on a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Court found Rana had immigration expertise and a net worth of $1.6 million and was a flight risk. The Government alleged in a brief (available on PACER) that recorded conversations showed Rana knew of the Mumbai attacks before they happened and expressed his approval of them. Rana is not alleged to have participated in the Mumbai attacks. His lawyer argued the recorded conversations were in large part unintelligible and Rana is not a flight risk. [More...]

From the Government's brief: Rana and Headley took a car ride in September, 2009. Their conversation was recorded. During the ride, they discussed attacks in Mumbai. (The Mumbai attacks occurred in November, 2008.)

It is clear from the conversation and extrinsic corroboration that Rana was told just days before the Mumbai attacks that the attacks were about to happen. Elsewhere in the conversation, Rana asked Headley to pass Rana’s compliments directly to the specific Lashkar e Tayyiba member they both knew who had coordinated the attacks.

Later in that conversation, Rana and Headley both discussed targeting the National Defense College in Delhi, India for a future attack. Simply put, Rana’s own statements in this conversation, among others, completely belie his argument to this court that he is either a dupe or pacifist.

The brief also alleges that the recorded conversation reveals that Rana met with "Pasha", aka retired Pakistan Army Official Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed (now charged separately in Chicago with the planned Danish attack) in Dubai just days before the Nov. 2008 Mumbai attacks and was told of the attacks. The Syed complaint is here.

"Pasha" is alleged to be David Headley’s direct link to Ilyas Kashmiri, "one of Pakistan’s most wanted terrorists and a direct link to al Qaeda."

Rana was interviewed by the Government after his arrest. The Government now alleges some of his statements were not truthful. For example,

Rana, however, falsely claimed that he had dubbed LeT Member A “Khalid bin Walid” because of his role in attacks in Kashmir (“freedom fighting”), as opposed to his coordination of the Mumbai attacks.

The issue yesterday was bail...whether Rana is a flight risk or a danger to the community. Rana is not charged with participating in the Mumbai attacks. He insists he was duped by Headley, who is cooperating with authorities and believed to have been involved in the Mumbai attacks.

I hope the Government has better transcripts than the one it included in its brief. And, as I noted here, back when Headley was a cooperating government witness for the DEA, a defendant he testified against was acquitted. So the Government may need more than Headley to convict Rana.

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