The U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago has filed terrorism charges against a Chicago man for his alleged involvement in last year's deadly Mumbai terror attack. Prosecutors say Headley conducted reconnaissance of public places during repeated trips to the Indian city, helping a Pakistan-based terror group plan an attack that left 175 dead, including six Americans.
David Headley was charged in a 12-count criminal information with six counts of murdering U.S. citizens in India, conspiracy to bomb public targets in India, conspiracy to murder and maim persons in India, providing material support to terrorists, conspiracy to murder and maim persons in Denmark and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism in Denmark.
Previously Headley and Tahawwur Rana, also from the Chicago area, had been charged with plotting to attack the Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005. The men were initially arrested in October for that alleged plot. To date, Rana has only been charged for his alleged role in the Denmark plot.
As the investigation continued after their arrest, U.S. terrorism investigators began to unravel connections to plots in India, including the Mumbai attack, which targeted ten locations in Mumbai including restaurants, popular tourist hotels and the city's main rail station. According to Justice Department officials, Headley is cooperating with investigators in the case.
Headley, a U.S. citizen who grew up in Pakistan, allegedly trained at Lashkar-e-Taiba training camps going back to 2002. He changed his name from Daood Gilani to David Headley in 2005, according to the criminal information, in order to "present himself as an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani."
In recent weeks investigators from the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies say they have run down leads and connections between Headley and the Mumbai attacks, for which the Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group has claimed responsibility. Senior FBI officials held meetings with India's national security advisor during the Indian Prime Minister's visit to Washington two weeks ago. In recent days an FBI team from the United States traveled to Delhi to share additional information.
"This case serves as a reminder that the terrorist threat is global in nature and requires constant vigilance at home and abroad," said David Kris, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security. "We continue to share leads developed in this investigation with our foreign and domestic law enforcement partners as we work together on this important matter."
Headley's attorney, John Theis, told ABCNews.com that his client has been cooperating with authorities and that the new charges didn't come as a surprise.
"We were aware that there would be additional charges that were likely to be brought into this," said Theis. "We're reviewing them and looking at a lot of things." Theis declined comment on the substance of the charges.
The charges filed today allege that between mid-2006 and July 2008, on five separate trips to Mumbai, Headley conducted extensive surveillance and operational planning for the group of terrorists that carried out the deadly attack, which began Nov. 26, 2008 and lasted until the last of 10 attackers had been killed on Nov. 29. One of the ten men involved in the assault survived and was captured.