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David Coleman Headley Avoids Life Sentence for Mumbai Attacks

David Coleman Headly was sentenced today for his role in the Mumbai bombings and planned attack of a Danish newspaper. His plea agreement called for a life sentence, allowing him to avoid the death penalty.

He was sentenced today to 35 years, a reduced term, because of his cooperation with authorities. Even Patrick Fitzgerald showed up to argue for the lesser sentence.

Headley is 52. The Judge said today he hoped his sentence would keep Headley in prison for the rest of his life. (He will have to serve 85% of the 35 years, but he will get credit for the time he has spent in custody since his arrest in 2009.) [More...]

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Rana Sentencing: Judge Rejects Terror Enhancement

Tahawwur Rana, David Headley's co-defendant in the Chicago terror case related to the Mumbai bombings and planned attack on a Danish newspaper, was sentenced to 14 years today. The Government had sought a 30 year sentence.

Rana was convicted on two counts of a Superseding Indictment (Counts Eleven and Twelve) of conspiring to providing material support to a plot to attack a private newspaper in Denmark, the Jyllands-Posten, and providing material support to Lashkar e Tayyiba (“Lashkar” or “LeT”), a designated terrorist organization. The plot against the Jyllands-Posten was not executed, and no one was killed or injured.

Rana was acquitted on a third charge (Count Nine) which alleged that he conspired to provide material support to attacks in India, including the Mumbai attack in 2008. (Counts Nine and Eleven were charged as a conspiracy, Count 12 was charged as a substantive offense.)

The Judge rejected the Government's request to apply the terror enhancement guideline to Rana. Under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, the enhancement provides for a 12 level increase in the base offense level, and automatic placement in criminal history category VI (the highest category) if a defendant’s “offense is a felony that involved or was intended to promote a federal crime of terrorism.” [More...]

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Frontline Documentary on David Coleman Headley

Bump and Update: On Frontline tonight, don't miss A Perfect Terrorist, about former DEA informant David Coleman Headley, aka Daood Giliani, who pleaded guilty in Chicago in exchange for a life sentence for his role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

FRONTLINE and ProPublica investigate the mysterious circumstances behind David Headley’s rise from heroin dealer and U.S. government informant to master plotter of the 2008 attack on Mumbai.

By most accounts except its own, the DEA turned Headley from a drug informant into a terror informant. And failed to notice he had joined the terrorists for real. [More..]

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Verdict: Tahawwur Rana Guilty on Two Counts

Update: Verdict: NOT GUILTY on Mumbai count, GUILTY on Copenhagen and Guilty on providing material support to LeT.

Clearly, the jury did not take David Headley's cooperating testimony at face value. The Government has helpfully put its trial exhibits online, so you can see the evidence the jury saw, including Rana's e-mails and some video clips of his uncounseled post-arrest statement. (Rana waived his right to an attorney.)

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The jury has reached a verdict in the Chicago Terror trial of Tahawwur Hussein Rana, accused of conspiring with former DEA informant David Coleman Headley, aka Daood Gilani and others in the Mumbai bombings, providing material support to a planned terror attack in Denmark and providing material support to terror group LeT. [More...]

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Tahawwur Rana's Wife Discusses Major Iqbal

Samraz Rana, the wife of Tahawwur Rana, on trial in Chicago for conspiring with David Headley and others in the Mumbai bombings and a planned attack on a Danish news agency, has given an exlcusive interview to Times of India.

In addition to discussing how David Coleman Headley duped her husband, she explains that Rana actually knew Major Iqbal from their early army officer days.

In a stunning revelation, Samraz Rana, speaking in a mix of English and Urdu, explained that Balajee was known to her husband in his early days in uniform as a medical corps doctor as a colleague in the Pakistani army, perhaps even before he became a Lashkar or an ISI operative.

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Who Has David Headley Duped the Most?

Did the Government participate in David Headley's lie to the court about his past mental health issues when he pleaded guilty? A bevvy on news articles on the Tahawwur Rana terror trial in Chicago today say Headley lied to the Government and the Judge about his past mental health troubles. But did the Government really not know about them? The Wall St. Journal recaps Headley's cross-examination today by Tahawwur Rana's attorney:

When Mr. Headley told the court earlier that he had never been treated for a mental disorder, he failed to disclose that in 1992 he was diagnosed with a multiple-personality disorder and that he underwent 18 months of psychological treatment around 1997. Confronted with his medical record, Mr. Headley said softly, "I don't recall it." When Mr. Blegen asked him if he would like to see the paperwork, he said, "I will accept it."

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Tahawwur Rana Terror Trial: Headley Duped the DEA

The Chicago terror trial of Tahawwur Hussein Rana continued today with more testimony from former DEA informant and admitted Mumbai attack planner David Coleman Headley, aka Daood Gilani.

The Court ordered the Government's Santiago proffer unsealed today, on motion of the Chicago Tribune. Here it is skip to page 18 where the facts begin.

Via Colin Freeze, Globe and Mail reporter who's live-tweeting the trial, Headley testified he worked for the DEA for two years after becoming involved with LeT. The DEA first sent him to Pakistan in 1999. (They sent him again in December, 2001.) He said he stopped working for the DEA in 2002. He also attended his first LeT training camp in Feb. 2002. Here's a timeline, and here are the docket entries from his last heroin case. (It wasn't his first bust or the first time he worked his way down to a low sentence by cooperating with the DEA.) [More...]

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Pakistan Issues Statement: David Headley Not Credible

Pakistan has issued a statement following David Coleman Headley's testimony Monday in the Chicago trial of Tahawwur Hussein Rana, saying his statements that Pakistan's ISI supported the Mumbai bombings is not credible:

"This is a completely incorrect statement from him (David Coleman Headley). ISI & serving officers did not provide support to David Headley, and ISI had nothing to do with the Mumbai attacks. David Headley was a double agent. He is not a credible witness."

Will the real Major Iqbal please stand up? No one seems to have identified him yet. He used the e-mail address chaudherykhan-at-yahoo.com. Who gave Headley the opportunity to be a double agent? The DEA. Who else is playing both sides? Pakistan. There's plenty of dirt to go around.

Globe and Mail reporter Colin Freeze is doing a great job of live-tweeting the trial. All of our coverage since the 2009 arrest of Headley is accessible here.

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David Headley Testifies In Tahawwur Rana Terror Trial

Opening arguments were held this morning in the Chicago terror trial of Tahawwur Hussein Rana, charged with conspiracy in the Mumbai bombings and a planned attack on a Danish news agency.

“The defendant didn’t carry a gun or throw a grenade. In a complicated and sophisticated plot, not every player carries a weapon. People like the defendant who provides support are just as critical to the success,” [AUSA] Streicker said.

Streiker said Rana "not only knew of the attacks, he approved of them, and agreed with them." The defense said David Headley is a master manipulator who made a fool of Doctor Rana.

David Headley, aka Daood Gilani, is the Government's first witness.[More...]

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Tahawwur Rana Trial Expected to Expose Role of Pakistan's ISI in Mumbai Attacks

Opening arguments begin tomorrow in the trial of Tahawwur Rana, alleged to have conspired with David Headley, aka Daood Gilani and others in the Mumbai bombings and a planned attack on a Danish news agency. Michael Isikoff has this summary today.

I've been writing about Headley and Rana in depth since Headley's arrest. All of our coverage is available here.

The Government will attempt mightily to keep Pakistan's ISI out of the trial. The Judge has already rejected Rana's planned defense that he thought he was working for the ISI rather than Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT.)

The main question is who was Headley's handler, referred to as Major Iqbal, allegedly a serving Pakistani ISI officer? And how, despite his being a named defendant in the Chicago case, and the subject of an Indian charge sheet and Interpol Red Notice, can no one know his identity? [More..]

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How Did David Headley Outwit the DEA?

When the Chicago terror case against Daood Gilani, aka David Coleman Headley and Tawawwur Hussein Rana first came to light, the most striking fact was that Headley had two prior heroin convictions and bargained his way out of heavy time for both by cooperating for the DEA. After 13 years of on and off again cooperation, he wasn't a newbie at the cooperation game, and he was well known to his handlers. Yet the DEA dropped the ball on Headley big time. And no heads have rolled.

In 1988 Gilani/Headley was busted at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, when a customs officer asked to check his belongings. Finding 2 kilos of heroin inside, he called for a D.E.A. agent stationed nearby and who arrived at the scene? Derek Maltz. Maltz, who has since been promoted to head of DEA Special Operations, is 48 now. (He still crows after every big bust, but he's been focused more on Mexico and South America lately, it seems. Here's a You Tube video of him a few months ago, pleased as punch with his new perps. Or read this description of one of his many talks.

He's been with the agency 25 years (his father also spent his career in drug enforcement). He would have been 25 when he was stationed in Frakfurt and made Headley's bust. Within two days (probably on the flight home) Headley agreed to cooperate. Two days later, he was back home at his apartment in Philly, all wired up for his first snare. [More...]

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Report on David Headley and Pakistani Military Officials

Pro Publica and the Washington Post have a new report on the Mumbai bombings of 2008, focusing on Sajid Mir, aka Sajid Majid, who allegedly was put in charge of the attacks by Lashkar-i-Taiba. A second installment will be published tomorrow. According to the report, Mir trained David Coleman Headley for two years prior to the attack, and both active and retired Pakistani military officials were involved.

Mir and his victims are at the center of a wrenching national security dilemma confronting the Obama administration. The question, simply put, is whether the larger interests of the United States in maintaining good relations with Pakistan will permit Mir and other suspects to get away with one of the most devastating terrorist attacks in recent history.

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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.

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