David Headley Pleads Guilty To Mumbai Attacks And Danish Terror Plot

David Coleman Headley, aka Daood Gilani, pleaded guilty today in a Chicago federal court to all 12 counts of the Indictment against him. He admitted conducting surveillance for the 2008 Mumbai attacks and plotting to attack a Danish newspaper, and providing material assistance to a terror organization, Lashkar e Tayyiba. Six Americans were killed in the Mumbai attacks.

Headley's benefit? The death penalty is off the table. He now faces up to life imprisonment, but could get less. According to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's press release, Headley won't be sentenced until his cooperation is complete, and the Government expects to seek a reduction from the guidelines for his cooperation.

Headley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to bomb public places in India; conspiracy to murder and maim persons in India; six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of U.S. citizens in India; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism in India; conspiracy to murder and maim persons in Denmark; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism in Denmark; and conspiracy to provide material support to Lashkar.


According to the plea agreement, Headley attended the following training camps operated by Lashkar: a three-week course starting in February 2002 that provided indoctrination on the merits of waging jihad; a three-week course starting in August 2002 that provided training in the use of weapons and grenades; a three-month course starting in April 2003 that taught close combat tactics, the use of weapons and grenades, and survival skills; a three-week course starting in August 2003 that taught counter-surveillance skills; and a three-month course starting in December 2003 that provided combat and tactical training.

Headley's co-defendant, Tahawwur Rana, remains in custody in Chicago and has not pleaded guilty. Headley undoubtedly is cooperating against Rana as well as two more defendants not in custody, Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed (Abdur Rehman), also known as “Pasha,” of Pakistan and Laskshar leader Ilyas Kashmiri.

The Government even managed to get a reference to al Qaeda in the plea agreeement:

Abdur Rehman previously had told Headley that he had been working with Kashmiri and that Kashmiri was in direct contact with a senior leader for Al Qaeda, the plea agreement states.

....Kashmiri also stated that the attackers should behead captives and throw their heads out of the newspaper building to heighten the response from Danish authorities, and added that the “elders,” whom Headley understood to be Al Qaeda leadership, wanted the attack to happen as soon as possible.

Attorney General Eric Holder also issued a statement after Headley's guilty plea today:

In a statement following the plea deal, US Attorney General Eric Holder indicated that the Chicago proceeding was just the starting point in unearthing the full dimension of the terror plots that Headley and Lashkar-e-Taiba were involved in, and which goes back to Pakistan. "Today's guilty plea is a crucial step forward in our efforts to achieve justice for the more than 160 people who lost their lives in the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Working with our domestic and international partners, we will not rest until all those responsible for the Mumbai attacks and the terror plot in Denmark are held accountable," Holder said.

"Not only has the criminal justice system achieved a guilty plea in this case, but David Headley is now providing us valuable intelligence about terrorist activities. As this case demonstrates, we must continue to use every tool available to defeat terrorism both at home and abroad," he added.

Of course, David Coleman Headley has been providing information to the feds since 1999 when still known as Daood Gilani, they flipped him in a heroin case and sent him to Pakistan. What's still unknown, is whether he was a double agent, a U.S. agent that went rogue, or whether the feds just dropped the ball on him and forgot to keep him under the radar.

Still, Holder has reason to crow today. Headley faced a U.S. court and was provided with Miranda rights and lawyers, and the feds got a conviction, a possible life sentence, and information that will likely convict others and assist U.S. and foreign intelligence, at no greater cost of incarceration than housing a garden variety drug or white collar defendant. A win-win all around.

All of my prior coverage of Headley/Gilani, including his prior NY heroin case, is assembled here.

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    soooooooooooooooooooo, (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 07:55:38 PM EST
    he'll probably have time to sit around and think about what a maroon he is.