New Indictment in Chicago Headley- Rana Terror Case

A grand jury returned a superseding indictment against David Coleman Headley, aka Daaod Gilani and Tahawwur Rana regarding the Mumbai attacks and alleged planned attack on a Danish newspaper.

Also indicted: Retired Pakistani military officer Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed (Pasha)and alleged Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) leader Ilyas Kashmiri.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago released this detailed press release (pdf)on the Indictment. [More...]

The 12-count superseding indictment contains the identical charges that were filed against Headley on Dec. 7, 2009, while adding Rana as a defendant in three of the counts charging material support of the terrorism plots in Denmark and India, as well as in support of the designated foreign terrorist organization Lashkar e Tayyiba. Also indicted were Ilyas Kashmiri, an allegedly influential terrorist organization leader in Pakistan who is alleged to be in regular contact with leaders of al Qaeda, and Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed (Abdur Rehman), a retired major in the Pakistani military, both of whom were charged in two conspiracy counts relating to the Denmark terrorism plot.

As to Rana:

He was indicted today on three counts of providing material support to terrorism or a terrorist organization — one count of providing material support in preparation for and in carrying out the Mumbai attacks; one count of providing material support to the Denmark terrorism plot; and one count of providing material support to Lashkar e Tayyiba (Lashkar.)

As to Kashmiri and Rehman:

Kashmiri and Abdur Rehman, also known as “Major Abdur Rehman” and “Pasha,” were each charged with one count of conspiracy to murder and maim persons in Denmark, and one count of providing material support to the Danish terrorism plot. Neither man is in U.S. custody.

As to Headley:

Headley, 49, a U.S. citizen and Chicago resident, faces the same 12 counts that were filed against him last month — six counts of conspiracy involving bombing public places in India, murdering and maiming persons in India and Denmark, providing material support to foreign terrorist plots, and providing material support to Lashkar, and six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of U.S. citizens in India.

Headley, the release confirms, is still cooperating. (Not surprising, given his cooperator's background.)Six Americans were killed in Mumbai. Since the death penalty is possible on the counts charging him with "conspiracy to bomb public places in India that resulted in deaths and aiding and abetting the murders of U.S. nationals," he's likely cooperating to avoid it.

Today's press release says:

In 2002 and 2003, Headley allegedly attended terrorism training camps in Pakistan maintained by Lashkar, and conspired with its members and others, including Rana, Kashmiri and Abdur Rehman, in planning and executing the attacks in Denmark and India. He allegedly conducted extensive surveillance of targets in Mumbai for more than two years preceding the November 2008 attacks that killed approximately 164 people and left hundreds more injured.

Both Rana and Abdur Rehman were charged separately in previous court filings, but today’s indictment charges Kashmiri for the first time, although he was identified by name in the charges filed previously against Rana, Abdur Rehman and Headley.

Interesting that while Headley was doing time in a federal heroin trafficking case, the DEA asked the court in 1999 to allow Headley to travel to Pakistan -- probably to make new drug cases for them. And, they acquiesced in his release three years early from supervision. Just a few years later, he was attending training camps. Another example of a snitch gone bad.

Potential penalties for Rana, Kashmiri and Rehman:

The other two material support counts against Rana, and the conspiracy to murder and maim people in Denmark against Kashmiri and Abdur Rehman, also carry a maximum of life in prison.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and the FBI offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. are also participating in the investigation and prosecution.

Our prior coverage is assembled here.

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