Headley's Indictment "An Important Day:" Obama

United States President Barack Obama believes that indictment of David Coleman Headley, alias Daood Gilani, a Pakistan-born American charged with criminal conspiracy in last year's Mumbai terror attacks, is an "important day" in his efforts to protect the Americans from terrorists.

"Obviously, I continue to say, and the President does, too, that we have taken and will continue to take every step necessary to protect the American people," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. "Today (Monday) was an important day in doing that."

The son of a Pakistani diplomat and an American socialite mother, Headley was charged by the FBI and the US Department of Justice (DoJ) with conspiracy to murder and maim in a foreign country, and providing material support to terrorism.

The charges relate to his alleged involvement in the planning of the Mumbai terrorist attacks that killed about 183 people including six American nationals. Headley is reported to have carried out surveillance on important landmarks in India in advance of the attacks. He is also alleged to have links with the Pakistan-based Jehadi outfit Lashker-e-Toiba, which India accuses of carrying out the Mumbai attacks.

Meanwhile, the attorney for Headley said his client was cooperating in the investigation but declined to comment on "the substance of the allegation" in the charges filed by U.S. Federal prosecutors.

Attorney John Theis said right now he would not comment on the substance of the allegations made in the charges, adding he would continue to look at this and see what the evidence was.

He said the government had indicated in the charges filed Monday that Headley was cooperating with the investigation and "this particular detail (that Headley is cooperating in the ongoing investigation of both the Danish and Indian terror plots), we will not dispute."

Monday's development came even as State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly said the visit of a DoJ and FBI team to New Delhi to share with Indian law enforcement counterparts information disclosed by Headley relating to his role in the Mumbai terror strikes reflected Obama's commitment to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his recent visit to cooperate closely on the case.

After the meetings in New Delhi, the DoJ and the FBI team would proceed to Islamabad to brief "appropriate Pakistani security officials," he said. Besides Rana, Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, a retired major in the Pakistani military, has also been charged with conspiracy for planning attacks on the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten that published cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed.

On filing of fresh charges against Headley, Kelly said: "Well, obviously, our role is to be the liaison with the governments who are concerned in these judicial issues."

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