Video: Chicago man charged with Mumbai terror attacks

  1. Closed captioning of: Chicago man charged with Mumbai terror attacks

    >> an eye on it, thanks.

    >>> we learned today a chicago man with ties to pakistan has been charged in connection with last year's attack in mumbai, india that left more than 150 people dead. for the latest on this story, we're joined by our justice correspondent pete williams in our washington newsroom.

    >> reporter: these new charges are filed against david coleman hedley, a u.s. citizen born here in washington , the son of a pakistani diplomat and american woman . he's 49. prosecutors say he made five separate trips to mumbai in the past three years, personally scouting the targets that were attacked just over a year ago, including those two big hotels and the train station . they say he made surveillance videos and took pictures acting on behalf of the pakistani terror group blamed for the attacks. the government says he also took boat trips around the mumbai harbor , to allow the terrorists to land their rubber raft. he's already charged with helping plan an attack on the prophet mohammed . he's now cooperating with the fbi and is preparing to plead guilty which would help the u.s. learn a lot more about the terror groups he's accused of helping, brian?

    >> pete williams in our washington newsroom with more on this story tonight. thanks.

updated 12/7/2009 7:42:17 PM ET 2009-12-08T00:42:17

A Chicago man accused of planning an armed attack on a Danish newspaper was charged Monday with conducting surveillance on potential targets in the Indian city of Mumbai before terrorist attacks there in 2008 that killed 166 people.

David Coleman Headley was charged with 12 counts, including six counts of conspiracy to bomb public places in India, to murder and maim individuals in India and Denmark and other offenses. He could be sentenced to death if convicted on the charges involving the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Headley's attorney John T. Theis said he would "continue to look at this and see what the evidence is," but declined to comment further.

Authorities in Washington said Headley has cooperated with investigators in both the Danish and Indian plots since his arrest.

A retired major in the Pakistani military, Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, was charged with conspiring to attack the Danish newspaper and its employees.

Pakistan's army has confirmed it has a retired major in custody in connection with the U.S. terror investigation. Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas did not say when the arrest was made or reveal the identity of the man but said last week that the major was being questioned over alleged links to Headley and Rana.

‘Investigation remains active’
Headley, 48, an American citizen formerly named Daood Gilani, and Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana, 48, a Canadian national, were charged in October with plotting to attack the Jyllands Posten newspaper in Denmark. The newspaper had published 12 cartoons in 2005 that depicted the Prophet Muhammad and set off protests in parts of the Islamic world.

U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said the "investigation remains active."

Federal prosecutors said at the time of his arrest that Headley admitted his role in a plot against the newspaper and that he had received training from Lashkar-e-Taiba — a group that specializes in violence against India.

The charges filed in U.S. District Court on Monday said Headley had attended Lashkar-e-Taiba training camps in Pakistan earlier this decade and conspired with members of the group to launch terrorist attacks in India.

Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash did not immediately respond to messages late Monday seeking comment.

Prosecutors said Headley changed his name from Daood Gilani in 2006 so that he could pass in India for an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani. They said he later made five extended trips to Mumbai from September 2006 through July 2008, taking pictures of various targets.

Scouted out targets
Among the targets he allegedly scouted were the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, the Leopold Cafe, the Nariman House and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station — each of which was attacked with guns, grenades and other explosives in the November 2008 attacks.

Lashkar-e-Taiba — the Army of Good — is a group that has been outlawed in Pakistan and designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization. But experts say it has ties to individuals in Pakistan's military, which has been feuding with India for decades over the territory of Kashmir.

The U.S. attorney's office said Lashkar-e-Taiba tasked Headley in late 2005 with gathering surveillance on Mumbai targets. It said he traveled to Chicago in June 2006 and advised a person identified in the charges only as "Individual A" of the plan. He then allegedly got Individual A's approval of a plan to open an office of First World Immigration Services in Mumbai as cover for his work.

Rana has operated First World Immigration Services.

A two-count complaint against Abdur Rehman was filed under seal Oct. 20. It says he coordinated surveillance of the Danish newspaper and participated in planning the attack there along with Lashkar-e-Taiba and Ilyas Kashmiri, who was described as a leader of the terrorist group Harakat-ul Jihad Islami.

List of phone numbers in luggage
Headley visited Pakistan in January and at that time, authorities say, Abdur Rehman took him to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along that country's western edge where a number of terrorist groups have allegedly found refuge. The purpose of the trip was to meet with Kashmiri and solicit his help in launching the attack against the Danish paper, the charges say.

A search of Headley's luggage at the time of his arrest turned up a list of phone numbers including one allegedly used to contact Abdur Rehman.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik, asked earlier Monday about Headley, said the government was willing to cooperate with U.S. authorities.

"If he has committed something, he should be punished as per American law," Malik said. "If he had any relations in Pakistan, and whatever information they will give us, the information we will receive bilaterally, or internationally or through Interpol, whatever help we could give, we will certainly do."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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