March 18th, 2010
03:14 PM ET

Mumbai terror suspect pleads guilty

David Headley, 49, pleaded guilty Thursday.

A Chicago man charged in two international terror plots, including the 2008 Mumbai, India, attacks, pleaded guilty Thursday to a dozen counts against him, and now will not face a trial.

David Headley, 49, pleaded guilty in a federal court in Chicago to a dozen federal terrorism charges. Authorities said he scouted out targets for the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 that killed more than 160 people, and planned an attack on a Danish newspaper that published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

Headley has agreed to cooperate with the government and testify before a grand jury.

He could have faced the death penalty if convicted, but in exchange for his guilty plea and cooperation, the government has taken execution off the table.

However, he will not be sentenced until after the conclusion of his cooperation, the Justice Department said.

Authorities said Headley attended training camps in Pakistan operated by Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and received instructions in 2005 from three members of the group to travel to India to conduct surveillance. The Justice Department said he traveled to India five times leading up to the Mumbai attacks. Six Americans were killed in the attacks.

The United States considers Lashkar-e-Tayyiba a foreign terrorist organization.

Headley also admitted that in early November 2008, a Lashkar-e-Tayyiba member in Karachi, Pakistan, instructed him to scout the Copenhagen and Aarhus offices in Denmark of the Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten newspaper in preparation for an attack. The newspaper had published controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad.

The alleged plan against the Danish newspaper was never carried out.

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soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. sr

    Why all the indignance about this guy? The terrorists sitting in Guantanamo after 9//11 are still sitting there. Maybe 2 or 3 minor figures have been tried and got next to nothing sentences. the Bush administration talked tough but if you LOOK at what was actually accomplished, it was nothing. If anybody should be tried for terrorism it should be Bush and Cheney for all the innocnent young men killed in Iraq in the war they made up. If a Democratic president had done this, and the vice-president was connected to the clean up company (Haliburton) you would want them before a firing squad, not to mention they committed treason by outing one of our own spies. Talk about anti-American.

    March 18, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. A Mukherjee

    The whole terrorist problem is a result of duplicity of the US government's behaviour in dealing with divergent political interests. Headley is not the disease but the symptom. Don't execute him; rather, work on the root cause, if it is possible.

    March 18, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Leah

    We should extradite him after we've gotten all the information we can from him. What a disgrace.

    March 18, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. wilk

    Shame on you Uncle Sam , you cry about terrorism , then you sympathise. You seem to be good at stiring a bunch of crap up every where and then leaving . Start looking after issues on your own turf and stand behind the laws of you country , give this guy what he diserves DEATH.

    March 18, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ramu

    This is just not acceptable. Good ppl in all country should unite and punish bad ppl like headley, no matter from where they are. Not doing this will give more confidance to ppl like headley.

    March 18, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. matt

    This guy is a Muslim, raised as Daood Sayed Gilani, and lived in Pakistan in his early years. He changed his name so he can carry out his terrorism activities without attracting attention. Is there a reason to be a terrorist? Apparently being Muslim and having ties to Pakistan is reason enough!!!

    March 18, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pdiddy

    Are we as a country encouraging terrorism? This is ridiculous. For once, can we do the right thing? Cannot remember one thing American's have done which makes me feel proud since Clinton left office.

    March 18, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MKS

    He deserves the death penalty. He only agreed to this plea deal so that he would not face execution. Hopefully, he at least provides information to prevent future such attacks.

    To Pinky, I understand your sarcasm, but you're wrong. He is a muslim. He's Pakistani in origin.

    March 18, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JessPatel

    I cannot believe it! Absolutely ridiculous! I guess he gets this type of treatment bcz after all the damage & greatest loss went to India. It just makes absolutely no sense. Great way of showing how justice is delivered in this nation.

    March 18, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Barbara

    This is a disgrace for the US. This man should be punished in India–they won't have him on death row for 20years; like our justice system would do. He would be prosecuterd and hung within the year.

    March 18, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ash

    I'm sure our government will milk him for all the info they can gather and then release him to India authorities for a proper hanging. This country lost its balls long time ago. it will be shameful to our country to give him anything less than a execution.

    March 18, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Madoffed

    a diplomat brought this guy into our world with his "diplomacy"

    March 18, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ashutosh

    Extridite him to India... that is the only "just" thing to do, this is mearly a "deal", a compromise, in which the people of Bombay, the people of india, got the not-so-palatable part.

    March 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. hothead007

    What about the milions of muslim children, women, elderly unarmed people, the american fanatic terrorist coward christian crusaders kill every day in iraq, afghanistan an pakistan, the terroist zionist jews kill in palestine

    March 18, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. tej

    No amunt of punishment is sufficient for such person. Crime should be dealth with strong punishment. Should loose his life. Strong step would set an example for allothers invoved in suchactivities.

    March 19, 2010 at 5:51 am | Report abuse |
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