Trial Could Reveal Pakistani Ties To Terrorism An upcoming federal trial in Chicago threatens to unveil details of possible Pakistani intelligence agency ties to terrorism. Four people suspected of planning the 2008 Mumbai attacks are being tried for the deaths of six Americans.

Trial Could Reveal Pakistani Ties To Terrorism

Trial Could Reveal Pakistani Ties To Terrorism

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Federal prosecutors in Chicago have indicted four Pakistanis in the deaths of six Americans during the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

One of the men indicted is a suspected officer in Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, and information unveiled in the pending trial could provide details of the agency's ties to terrorism.

The star witness in the upcoming May 16 trial is David Coleman Headley, an American who pleaded guilty in 2010 to conspiring to murder and maim people in India, among other charges.

According to Sebastian Rotella, an investigative reporter for ProPublica, Headley did reconnaissance work for the Mumbai attacks and has given evidence that "open[s] a door to an underworld where the ISI is accused of working with the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba."

"When this trial starts, we're going to see all the details that Headley has outlined ... and that has been corroborated," Rotella tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered. Those details show how the ISI was involved in the planning of the 2008 attack, he says.

The Pakistani government has not admitted any wrongdoing, instead asserting that the ISI is not involved in terrorism, Rotella says.

"Basically, the Pakistani government, at least in public, has denied that there was any role," he says. "They've taken the strongest possible defense, which is that there isn't any ISI role in these attacks at all, or any ISI role in terrorism, which is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain, I think ... given some of the nature of the evidence that's coming out in this case, and frankly in other cases as well."

Despite Pakistan's denials, there have been rumors of ISI's role in fomenting terrorism and militancy in places such as Kashmir, Afghanistan and India.

"Many of us who follow this world have always heard about the double game, whether the Pakistani intelligence service supported certain militant groups or looked the other way," Rotella says. "But that's a far cry from what's alleged in this case, which is that there was an almost symbiotic relationship between senior offices of the ISI and this terror group, Lashkar-e-Taiba."

And even though the bombings happened in Mumbai, the goal was to kill Americans, Westerners and Jews, he says.

"That's what's important about this: It's not general support of terrorism, it's participating in an al-Qaida-style plot to kill Americans and other Westerners," Rotella says.

Still, though the four Pakistanis have been indicted and one is on trial, the other three men charged in the bombing are thought to be at large and actively plotting other attacks.

"I think one thing that the U.S. government hopes is that perhaps it can put enough pressure on the Pakistani government to arrest and try them in Pakistan, but even that seems very difficult," Rotella says. "There's just a feeling that these suspects know too much, and it's hard to imagine them being captured."