‘Rana was unaware of Headley`s terror activities’

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 09:27

Chicago: Mumbai attack accused David
Headley had repeatedly told his FBI interrogators that his
friend and co-accused Tahawwur Rana was unaware of his terror
activities and had not provided any support to him knowingly,
details that were omitted from an affidavit filed before a
court, recently unsealed documents reveal.

According to the documents, FBI had presented a number
of evidences in support of its applications to search
properties of Rana but there was discrepancy in the evidence
presented and in Headley`s testimony.

In the search warrant affidavit, Special Agent Lorenzo
Benedict of the FBI asserted there was probable cause to
believe that Rana conspired to provide material support to "a
conspiracy to commit terrorist acts involving murder,
kidnapping, and maiming outside the US, including attacks in
Mumbai, Copenhagen, and elsewhere..."

The document cited Headley using Rana`s immigration
service business as a cover to perform surveillance in Mumbai,
besides a conversation between Headley and Rana, reflecting
that Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed (aka `Pasha`) told Rana during a
2008 meeting in Dubai, about the impending attack in India.

While the search warrant affidavit did disclose that
Headley had made multiple incriminating statements about his
own conduct and of others, it omits the fact that during his
two-week long videotaped interrogation from October 3, 2009 to
October 17, 2009, Headley repeatedly told investigators that
Rana was unaware of his terrorist activities and had not
knowingly provided any support to his activities.

The documents further added that with respect to the
Mumbai attacks, the affidavit specifically omits Headley`s
statements that he used his position as a childhood friend to
convince Rana to open businesses in Mumbai and Pakistan, to
let Headley run them, and that Rana did this because he
trusted Headley.

The documents further added that Rana was unaware of
Pasha`s role in terrorist activity and that the connection
between Rana and Pasha was solely business related.

Rana was surprised but not upset about the Mumbai
attacks and he did not think Headley had done it, according to
the Pakistani American`s recorded testimony.

With regards to the planned attacks against Jyllands-
Posten too, the affidavit omitted some of Headley`s statements
during interrogation. These included the stated fact that Rana
intended to set up a legitimate immigration business in
Copenhagen and while Headley discussed it with him, he did not
tell the Pakistani Canadian the terror plans.

Rana also responded to an email to Headley from the
Jyllands-Posten because Headley asked him to do so, supporting
a subterfuge by posing as Headley.

Headley had also told FBI that the reason Rana paid
portions of his flight expenses associated with the
reconnaissance of the newspaper office, was because he
(Headley) had loaned Rana money.

The documents further add that Headley`s e-mail to a
co-conspirator, wherein he states that he is working in a
restaurant owned by Rana and he is traveling to Germany on
Rana`s expense was false.

During the entire course of the interview, Headley did
not once implicate Rana in any criminal behaviour, despite
ample questioning to that effect.

While providing all the crucial evidence in its search
warrant affidavit, seeking to obtain permission to search
Rana`s home and businesses, none of Headley`s accounts on Rana
were provided to the magistrate judge who issued the warrants,
the documents state.

Rana was convicted on June 9 on two counts of
supporting terrorism in Denmark and supporting Lashkar-e-Toiba
and faces upto 30 years in prison though his sentencing date
has not yet been set.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 09:11

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