US to share Headley testimony info

US to share Headley testimony info

The US also hinted at giving India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) access to Rana as well as yet another chance to grill his childhood friend and co-conspirator David Coleman Headley—now a witness of the US government in the case—after the trial in Chicago ends. Headley was earlier quizzed by the National Investigation Agency officials in June 2010.

More access

“The US has given India full access to the witness. When the case is over, there will probably be more access given,” US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said here on Friday.

She was addressing a news conference along with Home Minister P Chidambaram after they launched the India-US Homeland Security Dialogue. She said Lashkar e-Toiba was as dangerous a terrorist outfit as al-Qaeda.

Pakistan-based terrorist outfit LeT plotted and carried out the November 26, 2008, carnage in Mumbai, which left 174 dead and countless others maimed.

In a joint statement issued after the parleys, Napolitano and Chidambaram “committed their governments to comprehensive sharing of information” related to the 26/11 at­tacks.
The two sides decided to strengthen agency-to-agency engagement in areas like intelligence exchange, information sharing, forensics and investigation, access and sharing of data relating to terrorism.

They also decided to strengthen agency-to-agency engagement security of infrastructure, transportation and trade, conducting joint needs assessments, combating counterfeit currency and countering illicit financing and transnational crime.

Both Rana and Headley were arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation in October 2009. Apart from helping the LeT plot the 26/11 attack, Rana and Headley were also indicted for planning attacks on “Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten,” a Danish newspaper that had triggered a controversy by publishing some cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad.

Headley in March 2010 entered into a plea-bargain with the US prosecutors and admitted that he had worked for the LeT and had surveyed the potential targets for terrorist attacks, both in Mumbai ahead of 26/11, as well as in other places in India in 2009.

Headley is now testifying as a witness of the US government in the trial of Rana in the Chicago court. He has over the past few days exposed the role of the Pakistani ISI in plotting the 26/11 attacks. He revealed that the ISI official “Major Iqbal” alias “Chaudhery Khan” had been his handler and not only directed him during his assignments in India, but also monitored the attacks real time.

Chidambaram referred to Rana’s trial in Chicago in his opening remarks in the security dialogue. He told Napolitano that Pakistan had turned into a “global epicentre of terrorism.” “It is a truism to say that India lives in perhaps the most difficult neighbourhood in the world. The global epicentre of terrorism is in our immediate western neighbourhood. The vast infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan has for long flourished as an instrument of state policy,” he said.

“Today, different terrorist groups, operating from the safe havens in Pakistan, are becoming increasingly fused; society in Pakistan has become increasingly radicalised; its economy has weakened; and, the state structure in Pakistan has become fragile. Today, Pakistan itself faces a major threat from the same forces. Its people as well as its state institutions are under attack,” he added.

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