Key Mumbai Terror Plot Planner Testifies at Chicago Trial


"You will hear the defendant in his own voice laughing as they discussed targets of attack," Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Streicker said today. "The plots we are going to describe are atrocious, the attacks terrible."

Rana's attorneys argued that Headley, the businessman's longtime friend, was not a credible witness.

"David Headley is a master manipulator," said Defense attorney Charles Swift. "He made a fool out of Mr. Rana."

Swift said that Headley began manipulating Rana after he was arrested on two narcotics offenses and began working for the Drug Enforcement Administration as an informant.

Rana's defense is expected to focus on Headley and his integrity as a witness. They are likely to argue that the two men were only longtime friends and question whether Rana knew about Headley's Lashkar contacts. The defense is also expected to raise Headley's role as a U.S. government informant who reported to the DEA about heroin trafficking and note that Headley's ex-wife had reported concerns about his possible support for extremists to the FBI in 2005.

Rana's trial is expected to reveal information that could cause serious diplomatic heartburn between the United States, Pakistan and India. The trial could also renew calls in Congress to cut foreign aid to Pakistan amid speculation that there may be testimony that Pakistan's intelligence service had a role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Last month a superseding indictment revealed the names of additional plotters in the case -- Sajid Mir (Headley's handler), Abu Qahafa, Mazhar Iqbal, and a man known only as "Major Iqbal" who is believed to be in the ISI.

Chicago Terrorism Trial Against Tahawwur Rana Underway

Monday afternoon Headley said that Major Iqbal used a New York cell phone number to stay in touch with Headley while he was in Mumbai. Headley said that he used the number when he was making casing videos and scouting suitable landing sites for the terrorists that would attack the city.

Asked by prosecutor Daniel Collins why the mysterious Major Iqbal had a U.S. phone number, Headley said it was because he believed most phone calls between Pakistan and India were monitored. Prosecutors showed the jury emails between Headley and Major Iqbal, who used the email address

According to an email from April 23, 2008, Major Iqbal wrote to Headley who was in Mumbai, "hi dave how r you i think so you are our of usa please not my mobile number if you find some time you my contact me on this mobile number 001 646 810 8646 and kindly send me your mobile number." [sic]

Headley's connection to the Lashkar terror group spans back to 2002 when he attended terrorist training camps in Pakistan. The indictment alleges that the initial planning for the Mumbai attacks goes back to 2005 after discussions with Lashkar members. Headley changed his given name in 2006 from Daood Gilani to David Coleman Headley in order to conceal his Pakistani roots so he could travel more freely and not raise suspicion.

Headley testified that when he attended a meeting at Lashkar's headquarters in late 2007 or early 2008 in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, he saw a styrofoam model of the Taj Hotel that was being used to plan the attack.

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