David Headley Said to Have Helped Terrorists Target Nuclear Plant

Authorities say Chicago man cased an Indian facility that produces plutonium.

ByABC News
December 18, 2009, 4:36 PM

Dec. 20, 2009 — -- The Chicago man charged with helping plot the terror attacks one year ago in Mumbai also photographed and conducted surveillance of a nuclear weapons fuel plant in Tromboy, India, according to Indian and U.S. law enforcement authorities.

The authorities say David Headley was sent to Tromboy, a northwest suburb of Mumbai, by his handlers in the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, an affiliate of al Qaeda.

The Bhabha Atomic Research Center in Tromboy is capable of producing 66 pounds of plutonium a year for four the country's nuclear weapons, according to David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security.

"You would have had one helluva international crisis if they had taken control of the facility and caused some kind of accident with a serious release of radioactive material," said Albright.

"There have always been questions about India's nuclear security and because it's located on the water and not far from Mumbai, it would be a logical target," added Albright.

Headley is accused by federal authorities of conducting the pre-operational surveillance of the Mumbai hotels that were stormed by Lashkar-e-Taiba gunmen last November 26.

In a criminal complaint unsealed earlier this month, authorities said Headley took boat trips in the Mumbai harbor to find landing sites for the 10-man commando team that carried out the attacks. More than 170 people were killed.