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Airman Suspected of Terror Ties Before Posting to Cuba

September 26, 2003|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Air Force authorities were "monitoring and investigating" a Syria-born supply clerk before he was sent to the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay to be an Arabic interpreter for suspected terrorists, court documents show.

Senior Airman Ahmad I. Al-Halabi now is charged with espionage for allegedly e-mailing classified information about the prison camp to an unspecified "enemy" and planning to give other secrets about the prison to someone traveling to Syria. He is one of two military men at the prison camp in Cuba to be arrested during an investigation of possible security breaches there.

The other suspect, Army Capt. James Y. Yee, a Muslim chaplain, is being held without charge at the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C. Al-Halabi is behind bars at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations had been keeping track of Al-Halabi since November 2002, before he was sent to the prison camp, an agent wrote in applying for a search warrant with a California federal court. A federal magistrate in Sacramento granted the request for a warrant to collect a package Al-Halabi sent from Guantanamo Bay to his home address at Travis Air Force Base.

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