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Headley indictment 'important day' in fight against terror: Obama

President Barack Obama believes that the indictment of Pakistani-American terror suspect David Coleman Headley, charged with criminal conspiracy in the Mumbai terror attacks, is an "important day" in efforts to protect the American people.

world Updated: Dec 08, 2009 19:07 IST

President Barack Obama believes that the indictment of Pakistani-American terror suspect David Coleman Headley, charged with criminal conspiracy in the Mumbai terror attacks, is an "important day" in efforts to protect the American people.

"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 spokesperson Robert Gibbs told reporters on Monday. "Today was an important day in doing that."

Gibbs' comments came after prosecutors in Chicago charged Headley, 49, the son of a Pakistani diplomat and an American socialite mother with carrying out surveillance on targets in India in advance of the 26/11 terror attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

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

"This visit reflects the president's commitment to Indian Prime Minister Singh during his recent visit to cooperate closely on the case," he told reporters on Monday.

Taking note of the 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."

"The US Department of Justice and the FBI sent a briefing team that today (Monday) shared with Indian law enforcement counterparts information disclosed by Headley relating to his alleged roles in the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks and his alleged role in plotting an attack in Denmark."

"We have also been cooperating or consulting closely with Pakistani authorities on this case as well, following the practices developed in previous high-profile counter-terrorism investigations," Kelly said.

After the meetings in New Delhi, the team of the Department of Justice and the FBI would travel directly to Islamabad to brief "appropriate Pakistani security officials", he said.