The United States has briefed the Indian government about the case involving David Headley Coleman, arrested by the FBI in the U.S. last month for plotting a terror attack in India at the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s behest, and continues to follow it up.
“I know that our Ambassador [Tim Roemer] has briefed the government of India, and we continue to follow the case,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters on Saturday.
Headley, 49, was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport as he prepared to board a flight to Philadelphia on his way to Pakistan. The FBI also arrested Tahawwur Hussain Rana, 48, a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin.
Mr. Kelly refused to divulge further information. “I’m not at liberty to divulge the details of the interrogation. It’s an ongoing legal case, and it really is up to the Department of Justice...”
FBI sleuths have recovered from Rana’s house two inflammatory al-Qaeda videos containing speeches by Osama bin Laden and other terrorists.
Produced by As Sahab Media, acknowledged to be al-Qaeda’s media wing, one of the videos is titled ‘Bombing of Denmark Embassy.’ The videos were recovered from the living room of Mr. Rana.
In a supporting affidavit submitted to a Chicago court on Friday, federal prosecutors informed judge Nan R. Nolan about the videos. The video on Denmark, where a newspaper published cartoons of Prophet Mohammad, is 54 minutes long. “That video was on a DVD recovered from the living room of Rana’s home on October 18, 2009,” prosecutors said. “The video is narrated by Abu Yahya al-Libi, an al-Qaeda spokesman who escaped from American custody in Afghanistan.” “Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, the third ranking al-Qaeda member, also appears on the video,” the new affidavit said.
The video focuses on the controversy sparked by the cartoons published in Jyllands-Posten. The footage of the then Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who defended the caricatures as freedom of expression, are featured prominently. Strong comments then follow from the narrators, condemning the U.S., Denmark and Jews.
According to the affidavit, the DVD also prominently features the video of the man who carried out a suicide car bombing of the Danish embassy in Islamabad on June 2, 2008.
The second video “…begins with a speech by Osama bin Laden and profiles the lives and deaths of four men described as having died in the fight on behalf of Islam. The video also included remarks by Mustafa Abu al Yazid, who appeared on the Denmark video,” says the affidavit.
On Friday, Rana submitted a fresh bail application. He argued that an attack on a newspaper would not qualify as promoting a crime of terrorism. He has proposed $1 million in security for his release, including the home in which he and his family live in Chicago, and the homes of his relatives and friends. The prosecutors argued that by definition alone, his acts met the criteria of terrorism.
Rana was recorded discussing with his school-time friend and American national Headley an attack on the National Defence College in Delhi, “an attack directed at the conduct of the Indian government,” Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said. He urged the judge not to enlarge Rana on bail, as this would increase the risk of his fleeing the country.
Responding to Rana’s argument that an attack on the Danish newspaper would not constitute terrorism enhancement, the prosecutors said: “The circumstances of the plot to attack Jyllands Posten, or its cartoonist and editor, make clear that the conspirators and Rana viewed the Copenhagen attack as a response to a provocation by Denmark.”