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. Priya

    Execute this guy, that way we send a strong message to such people and senseless attacks on innocent people can be prevented.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Milind

    Isn't this guy supposed to go through a trial in India?? Isn't he supposed to be extradited?

    March 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ashish

    As per other reports against is guilty plea, he will not be given any death penalty nor would be extradited to any other country (including India). I really wonder if US is really about justice??? The attacks in Mumbai was the worst attack on Indian soil is this way US helping India gather intelligence and this is the way America is setting examples and expects cooperation from other countries. I really wonder how America would react if some country would have said they would not extradited someone pleading guilty of the 9/11 attacks.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Leo

    I agree with Ravi. Send him to India and see if they are inclined to let him off with a slap on his wrist. Would we not demand he be extradited to the U.S. for trial if his offenses had been committed here? Yes we would!

    March 18, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dave

    Lol, Wow a non middle eastern terrorist for a change! I didn't read the article or anything but it'd be amusing if this guy played the religion card, like what you would hear from all the fanatics who commit these crimes, and see how the middle east reacts. They would almost have to support him wouldn't they?

    March 18, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Reid

    This pig is american only in name. He is a Pakistani where all terorist attacks originate. The Mecca of terrorists is Pakistan.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Just the facts

    Let's give him the late John Gotti's cell, for life. He'll have plenty of time to think about the 72 dark eyed virgins.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ragzz

    its bit difficult to digest that a US person is involved in terrorism. please give him death penalty and make 160 souls rest peacefully in heaven.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Heather

    We can agree not to execute him; let him tell us all he knows. Then send him to India. I am sure they would be more then happy to execute him!

    Bush would do that. Does anyone here think Obama would?

    Never in a million years! But he may send him to the Bahama's like the two Gitmo guys!

    March 18, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dont be fooled

    I can't believe people are going to fall for this lame cover-up attempt.

    People need to wake up, ask questions and challenge the propaganda. You may not like what you find when you open your eyes and reach your own decisions rather than blindly accept the bylines of corporate media establishment.

    Your are being fooled (again, and again)

    March 18, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sujoy Gupta

    My continued hope is that the people of the world stop being apologetic and recognize terror for what it is.

    Religious radicalization has nothing to do with your economic status. It has everything to do with your religious background.

    The only difference between a middle class radical and a peasant radical is that the former supplies the intelligence, such as this gentleman, and the latter provide their lives (in exchange for their families taken care of).

    March 18, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeanne

    It's ALL about INTELLIGENCE and the value of that over everything. We've got some smart people in office now and I wouldn't be messing with them!!!

    March 18, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. David

    Ordinary man from Chicago? Or CIA Operative?

    March 18, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Where is justice helllo??

    This is what happen when you play with fire. This guy has be indicted many times before for playing as double agent. Now that he is directly participated by providing information to carry out attack and kill over 100 people and injure many more, he must be given death penalty. However,since he pleads guilty that I have done mistake he is meted with mild punishment. wow I think US has forgot or has no respect for victim of 911 who lost their lifes. US must prosecute this thug and extradited to India and work with india closely and bring all the criminals , hiding in pakistan,responsible for this hidious crime to justice. There is no alternative.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Man 1

    Steve, I am also interested in learning the motive behind his actions, but I am more interested in your definition of "educated country". And please do not take me wrong, by my definition America, too, is an educated country.

    I too believe that he should be extradited to India to face charges and a trial. If Osama Bin Laden were caught, would not Americans want him extradited to America to face charges as well?

    March 18, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
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