Chicago Men Helped Plan 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks; Surveilled Jewish Targets for Pakistani Terror Group
Links to Lashkar-e-Taiba
Posted: December 10, 2009
Federal court documents have outlined David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Rana's connections with members of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET), a Pakistani-based terrorist organization linked to Al Qaeda.
In his plea agreement, Headley admitted that he attended LET training camps in Pakistan on five separate occasions from 2002 to 2005 and received training in the merits of waging jihad, the use of weapons and grenades, combat tactics, survival skills and counter surveillance.
In February 2006, LET members tasked Headley with gathering surveillance of targets for potential terrorist attacks in India. The scouted locations were later targeted in a series of coordinated terror attacks in November 2008 that killed more than 170 people in Mumbai.
Headley admitted that he and Rana were also working with LET members in planning attacks against the offices and employees of Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper that printed controversial cartoons in September 2005 depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Affidavits unsealed in a Chicago federal court on October 27, 2009, charged that Headley discussed the alleged plot against the Danish newspaper with at least three people in Pakistan, including one member and one associate of LET.
In e-mail exchanges during the summer of 2009, the LET member allegedly asked Headley to assist in planning another terrorist attack in India. Prosecutors have alleged that Headley and Rana discussed targeting the National Defense College in New Delhi.
Rana has also communicated with members of LET via e-mail exchanges and phone calls. In September 2009, he and an LET associate allegedly discussed a "loophole" to get an unnamed individual into the U.S. under false pretenses, according to court documents. During that and a similar discussion held the previous year, Rana stated that the best way to enter the U.S. is by obtaining a work visa. If someone has a student visa and does not attend school, Rana warned, then the school will report the missing student to an immigration hot-line, which subsequently questions the apparent student about the way in which he came to the U.S. and who funded his trip. "Only one loophole is business which they believe is OK," Rana allegedly said.
In addition to the e-mail and phone communications, Headley and Rana also met with members of LET in person. Court documents have outlined Headley's numerous trips to Pakistan, during which he and members of LET discussed the terrorist plots in Denmark and India.
Headley and Rana have also been implicated in foiled attacks against the U.S. and Indian embassies in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The attacks were reportedly planned for November 26, 2009, the one-year anniversary of the Mumbai attacks. Indian news sources have reported that Headley, Rana and another man arrested in Pakistan, Abdur Rahman Sayeed, ordered several LET militants to carry out the attack. At least seven men have been arrested in Bangladesh in connection to the plot, including an alleged senior member of LET.