Witness links Pakistani intel to Mumbai terror attack
May 23, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- There was some explosive testimony Monday in the terror trial of Tahawwur Rana, a Chicago businessman accused of helping terrorists who committed the deadly attack on Mumbai, India, in 2008.
A star witness for the prosecution, David Coleman Headley, says Pakistani intelligence provided support to the terror group.
Headley is a Pakistan-born Chicagoan who was originally arrested and charged with Rana, his boyhood friend. On Monday, Headley not only implicated Rana in a deadly terror plot, he also put himself in the same Pakistan town where Osama bin Laden was found and killed.
To prepare for the 2008 attack on Mumbai, India, a three-day siege that claimed more than 160 lives, Headley said Monday that terrorist leaders sent him to several training camps in Pakistan.
The terrorist organization that Headley worked for is known as LeT, short for Lashkar-e-Taiba which means "army of the pure." LeT was founded in 1989 and targets India's troops and civilians.
According to Headley's testimony, LeT is in cahoots with Pakistan's military and a Major Iqbal of Pakistan's official intelligence agency, the ISI.
"To see David Coleman Headley come out and give those details about meetings with ISI operatives and talking about how Major Iqbal and ISI, how closely he was involved with monitoring Headley and his activities, that really made for some explosive revelations in court for us all," said Natasha Israni, India Times Now.
Headley pointed to a map of Pakistan and a city where he had undergone combat weapons training. The city was Abbottabad where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden had been living for the past five years and was killed earlier this month.
U.S. Officials have said that bin laden was protected by Pakistani intelligence officers corrupted by terrorists, a belief bolstered by Headley's testimony today that he received tactical training from terrorists in the same town.
The question is how all this helps the government's terrorism case against Tahawwur Rana, standing trial by himself with his boyhood friend and accused accomplice acting as the key witness against him.
"Headley's credibility is critical. If you believe him, then Dr. Rana knew. If you believe him, he was constantly briefing him here in Chicago, but it had no point. But I don't think he'll have much credibility when this week is over," said Charlie Swift, Rana's defense attorney.
Headley testified Monday that jihad or holy war is a religion to help the helpless. He also said he told defendant Rana about the Mumbai attack plot and that Rana gave him permission to use his North Side travel service as a front.
local, chuck goudie
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