CHICAGO — Terrorism-related charges were filed Tuesday
against two Chicago men, accusing them of plotting against targets in Western
Europe, including “facilities and employees” of a Danish newspaper
that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that sparked riots in the Muslim
Charged are David Coleman Headley, 49, and Tahawwur Hussain
Headley was described as an American citizen who changed his
name from Daood Gilani. He was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit
terrorist acts involving murder and maiming outside the U.S. and one count of
conspiracy to provide material support to the conspiracy, according to a
release from the U.S. attorney’s office.
Rana, a native of Canada, was charged with one count of
conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign conspiracy involving
Headley and three other individuals.
Both men remain in federal custody, officials said.
Federal officials said there was “no imminent danger in
the Chicago area,” and added that the charges are not related to recent
terror plot arrests in Boston, New York, Colorado, Texas and central Illinois.
Headley conducted surveillance of targets in Denmark
beginning in 2008, and then reported to Ilyas Kashmiri, an operational chief in
a Pakistani-based organization known as Harakat-ul Jihad Islami, which has
links to al-Qaida, according to an FBI affidavit filed in the case.
Headley also allegedly communicated with another terror
Headley and the people he communicated with coded their plan
for attacks over the cartoon as “the Mickey Mouse Project,” according
to the affidavit.
He allegedly traveled to Denmark in January 2009 and visited
two offices of the newspaper that printed the cartoon, Jyllands-Posten, in
Copenhagen and Arhus, Denmark. During his visits he claimed to be a businessman
interested in advertising with the paper, according to the document.
Months of discussions led to Headley’s planned flight to
Pakistan to meet with Kashmiri, the affidavit said.
The plan was cut off by the FBI, which was intercepting
communications to and from Headley, and he was arrested at O’Hare International
Airport. The arrest was first reported by the Tribune in its Tuesday’s
Once in custody, Headley allegedly admitted to receiving
training from Lashkar-e-Taiba and said he had worked with Kashmiri in planning
the Denmark operation. A lawyer for him, Robert Seeder, declined to comment
Headley allegedly acknowledged the plan called for either an
attack on the newspaper building to the killing of the newspaper’s cultural
editor and the cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard.
After Headley’s arrest, dozens of FBI agents from the Joint
Terrorism Task Force and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on
Oct. 18 raided a meat-processing plant owned by Rana that specializes in
Rana was arrested at his Chicago home the same day as the
raid on his First World Management Services plant in the farming town of
Agents seized records from the plant, as well as a related
Chicago business also raided that day, said the source, who is familiar with
Rana is accused of helping arrange Headley’s travels
overseas and conceal their purpose, and discussing potential targets for attack
Rana financially supported Headley and his family even
though he ostensibly did no work for him, the source said.
Via McClatchy-Tribune News Service.