[Reader-list] Department of Justice-US: Headley Pleads Guilty - Press Release

Pawan Durani pawan.durani at gmail.com
Fri Mar 19 14:40:14 IST 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEThursday, March 18, 2010
Chicago Resident David Coleman Headley Pleads Guilty to Role in India
and Denmark Terrorism Conspiracies
Admits Conducting Surveillance for Lashkar e Tayyiba in Planning 2008
Mumbai Attacks
David Coleman Headley, a U.S. citizen of partial Pakistani descent,
pleaded guilty today to a dozen federal terrorism charges, admitting
that he participated in planning the November 2008 terrorist attacks
in Mumbai, India, as well as later planning to attack a Danish
newspaper. In pleading guilty to all 12 counts that were brought
against him in December and were repeated in a subsequent indictment
in January, Headley admitted that he attended training camps in
Pakistan operated by Lashkar e Tayyiba, a designated foreign terrorist
organization, on five separate occasions between 2002 and 2005. In
late 2005, Headley received instructions from three members of Lashkar
to travel to India to conduct surveillance, which he did five times
leading up to the Mumbai attacks three years later that killed six
Americans among approximately 164 people and wounded hundreds more.

A written plea agreement containing a detailed recitation of Headley’s
participation in the foreign terrorism conspiracies was presented when
Headley, 49, of Chicago, changed his plea to guilty this afternoon
before U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber in Federal Court in
Chicago. Headley has cooperated with the Government since he was
arrested on Oct. 3, 2009, and the plea agreement states that he "has
provided substantial assistance to the criminal investigation, and
also has provided information of significant intelligence value."

In light of Headley’s past cooperation and expected future
cooperation, the Attorney General has authorized the U.S. Attorney in
Chicago not to seek the death penalty against Headley. When directed
by the U.S. Attorney’s office, Headley must fully and truthfully
participate in any debriefings for the purpose of gathering
intelligence or national security information, and Headley further
agrees that, when directed by the United States Attorney’s Office, he
will fully and truthfully testify in any foreign judicial proceedings
held in the United States by way of deposition, video-conferencing or
letters rogatory.

Regarding sentencing, which will be deferred until after the
conclusion of Headley’s cooperation, the plea agreement calculates an
anticipated advisory sentencing guideline of life in prison. Provided
that Headley continues to provide full and truthful cooperation, the
Government will ask the Court to grant an unspecified departure from
the sentencing guidelines, which will be solely up to the Court to

"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," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "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."

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

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.

Mumbai Terror Attacks

After receiving instructions from three Lashkar members in late 2005
to travel to India to conduct surveillance, in February 2006, in
Philadelphia, Headley changed his name from Daood Gilani to facilitate
his activities on behalf of Lashkar by portraying himself in India as
an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani. In the early summer
of 2006, Headley and two Lashkar members discussed opening an
immigration office in Mumbai as a cover for his surveillance

Headley eventually made five extended trips to Mumbai — in September
2006, February and September 2007, and April and July 2008 — each time
making videotapes of various potential targets, including those
attacked in November 2008. Before each trip, Lashkar members and
associates allegedly instructed Headley regarding specific locations
where he was to conduct surveillance, and Headley traveled to Pakistan
after each trip to meet with Lashkar members and associates, report on
the results of his surveillance, and provide the surveillance videos.

Before the April 2008 surveillance trip, Headley met with
co-conspirators in Pakistan and discussed potential landing sites in
Mumbai for a team of attackers who would arrive by sea. Headley
returned to Mumbai with a global positioning system device and took
boat trips around the Mumbai harbor and entered various locations into
the device, according to the plea agreement.

Starting Nov. 26, 2008, and continuing through Nov. 28, 2008, 10
attackers trained by Lashkar carried out multiple assaults with
firearms, grenades and improvised explosive devices against multiple
targets in Mumbai, including the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, the
Leopold Café, the Chabad House and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
train station, each of which Headley had scouted in advance, killing
approximately 164 victims and wounding hundreds more.

The six Americans killed during the three-day siege are identified in
the charges as Ben Zion Chroman, Gavriel Holtzberg, Sandeep Jeswani,
Alan Scherr, his daughter Naomi Scherr and Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum.

In March 2009, Headley made a sixth trip to India to conduct
additional surveillance, including of the National Defense College in
Delhi, and of Chabad Houses in several cities.

Denmark Terror Plot

Regarding the Denmark terror plot, Headley admitted that in early
November 2008, he met with a Lashkar member in Karachi, Pakistan, and
was instructed to conduct surveillance of the Copenhagen and Aarhus
offices of the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten in
preparation for an attack in retaliation for the newspaper’s
publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. After this
meeting, Headley informed co-defendant Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed (Abdur
Rehman), also known as "Pasha," of his assignment. Abdur Rehman stated
to Headley words to the effect that if Lashkar did not go through with
the attack, Abdur Rehman knew someone who would. Although not
identified by name at the time, Headley later learned this individual
to be co-defendant Ilyas Kashmiri. 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.

In late December 2008 and early January 2009, while in Chicago,
Headley exchanged emails with Abdur Rehman to continue planning for
the attack and to coordinate his travel to Denmark to conduct
surveillance. In January 2009, Headley traveled from Chicago to
Copenhagen to conduct surveillance of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper
offices in Copenhagen and Aarhus and scouted and videotaped the
surrounding areas.

In late January 2009, Headley met separately with Abdur Rehman and a
Lashkar member in Pakistan to discuss the planned attack on the
newspaper and provided them with videos of his surveillance. About the
same time, Abdur Rehman provided Headley a video produced by the media
wing of al Qaeda in approximately August 2008, which claimed credit
for the June 2008 attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan,
and called for further attacks against Danish interests to avenge the
publication of the offending cartoons.

In February 2009, Headley and Abdur Rehman meet with Kashmiri in the
Waziristan region of Pakistan, where they discussed the video
surveillance and ways to carry out the attack. Kashmiri told Headley
that he could provide manpower for the operation and that Lashkar’s
participation was not necessary. In March 2009, a Lashkar member
advised Headley that Lashkar put the newspaper attack on hold because
of pressure resulting from the Mumbai attacks. In May 2009, Headley
and Abdur Rehman again met with Kashmiri in Waziristan. Kashmiri told
Headley to meet with a European contact who could provide Headley with
money, weapons and manpower for the newspaper attack, and relate
Kashmiri’s instructions that this should be a suicide attack and the
attackers should prepare martyrdom videos beforehand. 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

In late July and early August 2009, Headley traveled from Chicago to
various places in Europe, and met with and attempted to obtain
assistance from Kashmiri’s contacts and, while in Copenhagen, he made
approximately 13 additional surveillance videos. When he returned to
the United States on Aug. 5, 2009, Headley falsely told a U.S. Customs
and Border Protection inspector in Atlanta that he had visited Europe
for business reasons.


Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

After returning to Chicago, Headley spoke with Abdur Rehman by phone
and, using code, described his surveillance activities and his meeting
with Kashmiri’s European contact. On multiple occasions throughout
August and September 2009, Headley communicated with Abdur Rehman
about planning the attack and media reports that Kashmiri had been
killed. On Oct. 3, 2009, Headley was arrested at O’Hare International
Airport in Chicago, intending ultimately to travel to Pakistan to
deliver the approximately 13 surveillance videos to Abdur Rehman and
Kashmiri, the plea agreement states.

One of Headley’s co-defendants, Tahawwur Rana, 49, of Chicago, who was
indicted in January on three counts — conspiracy to provide material
support to the Mumbai attacks; conspiracy to provide material support
to the Denmark plot; and providing material support to Lashkar — has
pleaded not guilty and remains in federal custody in Chicago while
awaiting trial. Abdur Rehman and Kashmiri, who were charged in the
same indictment with conspiracy to murder and maim persons in Denmark
and providing material support to the Denmark plot, are not in U.S.

The government is being represented by Chicago Assistant U.S.
Attorneys Daniel Collins and Victoria J. Peters and Patrick J.
Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, as
well as Los Angeles Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Grigg and
Janet Hudson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of
California, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the
Justice Department’s National Security Division. The investigation has
been conducted by the Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force, led by the
Chicago Office of the FBI, with assistance from the FBI offices in Los
Angeles and Washington, D.C., as well as both U.S. Customs and Border
Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of
Homeland Security.

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