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Indian officials question terror suspect in Chicago

- The Washington Times - Friday, June 11, 2010

U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer has described as "historic" the cooperation between the U.S. and India in the interrogation of David Coleman Headley, a U.S. citizen who has admitted to helping terrorists plan the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

A team of Indian investigators questioned Headley, a Pakistani-American, this month to learn more about his trips to India and plots being hatched by Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based terrorist group that carried out the attacks in Mumbai.

In a statement issued in Washington on Thursday, Mr. Roemer confirmed that a team of Indian investigators had been granted direct access to Headley and had conducted a series of interviews with him.

He said the Headley interviews were "historic in the nature of security cooperation."

"This strategic partnership is significant, substantive, and highly successful," Mr. Roemer said of the U.S.-India relationship.

The team arrived in the U.S. on May 31, and their interviews with Headley began on June 3.

India's ambassador to the United States, Meera Shankar, said Headley's interrogation took place over several days and that the team was returning to India on the "conclusion of a very useful visit."

"The government of India attaches importance to this in investigating the full dimension of this heinous act of terrorist violence," Mrs. Shankar said. "The support and cooperation extended by the U.S. authorities is appreciated and is in keeping with the commitment of the two countries to strengthen their cooperation in meeting the challenge of terrorism."

Headley, who pleaded guilty in March to a dozen federal terrorism charges, scouted potential targets in India for Lashkar-e-Taiba.

He made five trips to Mumbai - in September 2006, February and September 2007, and April and July 2008 - during which he made videotapes of potential targets.

FBI agents arrested Headley at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Oct. 3.

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