- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CHICAGO | A Chicago man accused of planning a terrorist attack against a Danish newspaper knew in advance about a plot to attack Mumbai and offered congratulations to the killers afterward, federal prosecutors charged Monday.

In papers filed in federal court in Chicago, prosecutors said Tahawwur Hussain Rana, 48, learned an attack was about to happen while traveling in Dubai days before the Nov. 26, 2008, attack in India that left 166 people dead.

Mr. Rana, a Chicago businessman, is charged with providing material support to terrorists.

Prosecutors said that after the Mumbai attacks, he told a purported co-conspirator, David Coleman Headley, 49, to pass along his congratulations to the terrorist group for its excellent planning and preparation.

“Rana was told of the attacks before they happened and offered compliments and congratulations to those who carried them out afterwards,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Collins wrote in the court filing.

Mr. Rana was arrested Oct. 18 and charged with helping Mr. Headley plot an attack on a Danish newspaper that printed 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, sparking outrage in the Muslim world. He has been seeking his release on bond from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.

In their filing, prosecutors said Mr. Rana is a flight risk and urged U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan not to grant his release. A hearing on the matter was scheduled for Tuesday.

Mr. Rana’s attorney, Patrick Blegen, has portrayed him as an innocent dupe of Mr. Headley, saying his client belonged to a study group that believed in the doctrine of nonviolence preached by Mohandas Gandhi, the father of Indian independence.

In their filing, prosecutors said Mr. Rana received advance word of the Mumbai attacks while in Dubai in November 2008, days after arriving in the Persian Gulf city-state from Mumbai. They did not say why Mr. Rana was in Mumbai.

During FBI questioning after his arrest, Mr. Rana insisted he had no prior knowledge of the Mumbai attacks and claimed his discussion of the other locations was just talk about possible business opportunities.

Federal authorities said those are lies. In their filing, prosecutors alleged that in a secretly recorded conversation in September, Mr. Rana and Mr. Headley discussed the possible attack in Denmark as well as attacks on “Bollywood,” the Indian film industry; Somnath, a temple; and Shiv Sena, a political party with strains of Hindu nationalism.

They said Mr. Headley and Mr. Rana spoke about a meeting between Mr. Rana and a man they called “Pasha” days before 10 gunmen rampaged through the Indian city, killing their victims. Prosecutors said Pasha is a retired Pakistani military officer, Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, who is charged separately with involvement in the plans to attack the Danish newspaper. They said Mr. Syed helped put Mr. Headley in touch with Ilyas Kashmiri, who has been linked to al Qaeda and described as a leader of the terrorist group Harakat-ul Jihad Islami.

Mr. Headley was arrested Oct. 3 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago as he was about to board a plane for Philadelphia. FBI agents said that at that time, Mr. Headley readily admitted his role in the planned Danish attack. His attorneys have declined to comment.

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