Fresh charges due against Chicago terror suspect
January 12, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Is he a legitimate businessman or a skilled stagehand for a cast of international terrorists?
Pakistani-born Chicago resident Tahawwur Hussain Rana claims to be the law-abiding owner of a travel agency and grocery store in the city and of a downstate goat slaughterhouse.
Federal prosecutors contend he is a cunning behind-the-scenes fixer for ring of ruthless Pakistani-aligned terrorists.
This week a U.S. grand jury in Chicago is expected to hand up formal charges against Rana in a much wider-ranging terrorism investigation than he originally faced in October when he was arrested. In the criminal complaint against Rana several months ago, he was cited primarily in a unconsummated scheme to attack a Danish newspaper.
Sources familiar with the terrorism investigation say they expect the grand jury indictment to include additional charges against Rana resulting from the much more serious Mumbai terror attack in 2008 that left 175 people dead.
THURSDAY DEADLINE FOR PROSECUTORS
There is high certainty in the timing of the fresh charges against Rana, 49, because the government faces a legal deadline of this Thursday to return such an indictment.
Rana's wider involvement in an international terror scheme became apparent say federal agents, when co-defendant David Headley began cooperating with the investigation. Court records and federal affidavits show that both men travelled extensively leading up to the Mumbai attacks in November, 2008.
Rana's Chicago attorney, Patrick Blegen, has repeatedly said that his client is not a terrorist and should be freed on bond. Federal authorities have managed to keep Rana locked up as both a danger and a flight risk.
According to law enforcement sources, these are the major points of connection between Rana and Headley and the deadly Mumbai terrorist attack that began on Nov. 26, 2008.
POINTS OF CONNECTION
-Headley and Rana surveyed all the 4 places that the Mumbai terrorists targeted - the Taj and the Trident hotels; the central train station and the Jewish Nariman House.
-Headley stayed at Taj and Trident in 2007, Rana stayed at a guest house.
-Rana in fact left Mumbai on the just 5 days before a team of Pakistani terrorists attacked Mumbai.
-Headley, Rana were in Pakistan during the attacks.
-Headley, Rana left Pakistan just after the attacks concluded.
-Investigators are examining pictures and video footage of the targets that were shown to Pakistani terrorists and were allegedly provided by Headley and Rana
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