Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana was acquitted in a Chicago court this week on charges of aiding the 2008 Mumbai massacre, but was convicted on the lesser charge of providing support to a thwarted terrorist plot to attack the offices of a Danish newspaper that printed controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. He was also found guilty of aiding the designated terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, or LeT.
The case against Rana, however, was outshone by the testimony of Rana’s friend, David Headley, who has already pled guilty to his role in helping to plan the 2008 Mumbai attack, in which 164 people were killed and 308 wounded in a coordinated 3 day shooting and bombing campaign. Headley pled guilty to his role in the attacks last March in a Chicago court in a plea deal that spared him the death penalty on condition that he cooperate with US intelligence officials and prosecutors
Overlooked by virtually all of the press reports on this case, however, is Headley’s documented past as an informant for the US government.
Convicted of a heroin smuggling plot in 1997, his co-conspirator was put in prison for 10 years, but Headley served only 15 months. In November of 2001, court transcripts show that an emergency hearing was convened to get Headley’s parole cut short in exchange for his cooperation with the US government. Headley’s probation was suspended and the next month he was sent to Pakistan to continue his cooperation with US authorities. That same month, Lashkar-e-Taiba was designated a terrorist organization by the United States. Two months later, Headley began training with them.
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