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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Filed under: India • World
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. nand mehta

    considering he was on CIA payroll, this is bet one can hope for. Amerca never did or will give a dam for interes of India

    March 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. unreal

    This is just amazing that this man pleads guilty to being an international terrorist, pleads guily to playing a part in murdering hundreds of people, and get's off without a trial!!!
    Send him to India and have him stand outside of the hotel with a sign around his neck that says, I helped blow up this hotel and I helped kill your family and I'm a free man.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Anish Patel

    EXACTLY. This guy should be stoned to death and let the people of Mumbai have their way. Terrorists should have no rights.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GP

    That was a major terrorist attack in Mumbai ..why is US giving him special treatment is because he is a double agent ?

    March 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ragga

    Amit D: "What about USA's fight against terrorism? They are helping a terrorist to get lesser punishment so that he can come out after few years and carry out the similar attack like Mumbai..."

    Out after few years? You gotta be kidding me. For killing 160 people.... He won't see sunshine for another 200 years....

    March 18, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Reddy

    Well Ms. Pinky, a person being American doesn't automatically makes him/her a non-muslim. There are muslim Americans also!

    March 18, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jack

    he's going to go away for a long, long time...get all the info you can out of him...then throw away the key...

    March 18, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Roger

    Good job, America! First snub Israel and now India! Want to start a checklist of how to antagonize friends and alienate people? Look to the US government!!

    When terrorists next attack the US, be sure to get the fullest cooperation from the Indian government!

    March 18, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. RK

    They should execute the terrorist...a good terrorist is a dead one

    March 18, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Unbiased observer

    So, I guess it would be alright if Pakistan says Osama Bin Laden has agreed to cooperate and identify all AlQuaida terrorists. However, he will not leave Pakistan soil for any trial in the US. The US government should do a better job of explaining the reasons why this guy will not be deported to India – the country where crime was committed – and his involvement in the attack. Otherwise, it is easy to accuse US of providing safe-haven to US-born terrorists.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. taylor

    So now all you have to do is plead Guilty to get off the hook. Are you kidding me. Like Bill Ayers he will probably become a professor and start educating young adults how to become a terrorist. I think he should go on trial in India. This is beyond ridiculous.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. CME3804

    well im sorry to say,(but not really)he should be shipped to the country where each attack took place and have to face their judicial system. and if he planned an attack on american soil against his own country he should be shot at dawn for treason! people are not afraid of commiting crimes because they can "haggle" down their sentences.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Are u kidding me??

    This is absurd. This guy shouldn't be in a position to make deals and should have been tried in India and not in US....I can't imagine US allowing Bin Laden to make these kind of deals in Afganistan.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Reader

    Such nonsense some of you are spouting. He is never going to be free again. His value as a source of intelligence far outweighs whatever justice people think executing him would bring.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Abhiyant

    This man should be turned over to Indian Authority for interrogation...will it happen...i am confident that it will not happen.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
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