Headley, a U.S. citizen who changed his name from Daood Gilani in 2006 and resides primarily in Chicago, was arrested on Oct. 3, 2009, by the Chicago FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) at O’Hare International Airport before boarding a flight to Philadelphia, intending to travel on to Pakistan. He was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts involving murder and maiming outside the United States and one count of conspiracy to provide material support to that overseas terrorism conspiracy, according to a press statement from the FBI.
Rana, a native of Pakistan and citizen of Canada who also primarily resides in Chicago, was arrested on Oct. 18, 2009, at his home by federal agents. Rana is the owner of several businesses, including First World Immigration Services, which has offices on Devon Avenue in Chicago, as well as in New York and Toronto. He was charged with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorism conspiracy that involved Headley and at least three other specific individuals in Pakistan.
Both men have been held in federal custody since each was arrested. If convicted, Headley faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for conspiracy to murder or maim persons abroad, while Headley and Rana each face a maximum of 15 years in prison for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism.
Initial probe indicated that Headley allegedly identified and conducted surveillance of potential targets of a terrorist attack in Denmark on two separate trips in January and July 2009, and reported and attempted to report on his efforts to other conspirators in Pakistan. As part of the conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism, Rana allegedly helped arrange Headley’s travels overseas and conceal their true nature and purpose — to survey potential terror targets overseas, and discussed potential targets for attack with Headley.
Headley allegedly reported and attempted to report on his overseas surveillance to other conspirators, including Ilyas Kashmiri, identified as the operational chief of the Azad Kashmir section of Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI), a Pakistan-based terrorist organisation with links to the Al Qaeda.
Kashmiri, who is presently believed to be in Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) region in north-western Pakistan, issued a statement this month that he was alive and working with the Al-Qaeda; Individual ‘A’ (who is identified as Individual A in the Headley affidavit and as Individual B in the Rana affidavit), who is associated with Kashmiri, as well as with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), another Pakistani-based terrorist organisation; an individual identified as “Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A” (LeT Member A), who has substantial influence and responsibility within the organisation and whose identity is known to the government.
“The criminal complaints have exposed a serious plot against overseas targets by two Chicago-based men working with Pakistani-based terrorist organisations. Information developed during this investigation was shared with our foreign partners as we worked together to mitigate these threats. This case is a reminder that the threat posed by international terrorist organisations is global in nature and requires constant vigilance at home and abroad,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.
According to the affidavits in both cases, Headley at times has claimed to be a consultant with or representative of Rana’s business, First World Immigration Services, but appears to perform little if any actual work for the business. In addition, Headley’s apartment in Chicago is leased to an individual who is deceased. Despite his apparent lack of financial resources and substantial employment, Headley has travelled extensively since the second half of 2008, including multiple trips to Pakistan and various countries in Europe. Postings to an internet group for graduates of a military school in the Pakistani town of Hasan Abdal (a group that refers to itself as “abdalians”), reflect that both Rana and Headley have participated in the group and referred to their attendance at that school.
Keywords: National Investigation Agency, NIA, LeT, terrorism, Mumbai attack, 26/11, David Coleman Headley, Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, Tahawwur Rana, Waziristan, Federally Administered Tribal Area, FATA, Al-Qaeda