Chicago terror suspects had ties to Pakistani military

May 3, 2011 (CHICAGO)

In this Intelligence Report: A terrorism case in Chicago that answers the question, how could bin Laden have been hiding in plain sight of Pakistani military and police officials?

For years, U.S. intelligence officials have complained of a double game being played by the Pakistani military and government leaders - seeming to cooperate with American counter-terrorism efforts while refusing to take overt action and against radical Islamists within their own borders.

The past two years, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has built a terrorism case against two Chicago men with close ties to top Pakistani military and intelligence officers.

David Headley and Tahawwur Rana of Chicago were arrested in October 2009 and charged with helping to plot the fiercely executed terrorist attack on Mumbai, India a year earlier.

One hundred and sixty six people were killed during the several-day siege by heavily armed Pakistani terrorists. At first, the Chicago case was light on details and seemed only loosely connected to the Mumbai massacre.

But since then, as new indictments have been handed up, new defendants named, and David Coleman Headley, alias Daood Gilani, has pleaded guilty, the connections to Pakistani officials has come into focus.

Headley's extensive interviews with U.S. and Indian authorities have revealed that some Pakistani military and intelligence officials work with terrorists to attack Pakistan's arch enemy India.

Rana is a former Pakistani military officer himself who moved to Chicago and worked as a travel agent and goat farmer. He is set to go on trial next Monday.

The case is believed to be one of the first in which the federal authorities connect terrorism suspects in the U.S. to current and former members of the Pakistani military. New indictments in the case recently accused several current or former Pakistani military officials of being involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

It is against the backdrop of that case that some U.S. officials are looking at Osama bin Laden's years as a resident in Pakistan -- within a mile of a police headquarters and a training facility for the nation's elite military officers.

"I think they are trying to determine themselves whether or not there were individuals within the Pakistani government, the military-intelligence services, who were knowledgeable about Bin Laden's residence there," said White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan on Monday.

Pakistan security forces have denied knowing anything about bin laden's hideout. However, in Washington Tuesday, CIA director Leon Panetta is said to have told lawmakers in a private briefing that Pakistan was either "involved or incompetent."

Pakistan's version of the CIA is called the ISI-Interservices Intelligence Directorate. According to Chicago terrorist David Headley, it was a top ISI officer who was his primary handler in the Mumbai attack.

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