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Guardsman Guilty of Trying to Aid Al Qaeda

September 03, 2004|From Associated Press

FT. LEWIS, Wash. — A National Guardsman accused of trying to give Al Qaeda information about U.S. troops, including methods for killing soldiers, was found guilty Thursday on all five counts of trying to help the terrorist network.

The verdict in Spc. Ryan G. Anderson's court-martial, which began Monday, was announced late Thursday afternoon.

Anderson is a tank crewman whose 81st Armor Brigade unit is in Iraq. The "terrorists" he thought he was meeting with to pass information were undercover federal agents, prosecutors said. A military spokesman has said the charges amount to attempted treason.

Anderson, who did not testify during the guilt phase of his trial, took the stand Thursday evening in the penalty phase and wept, apologizing to his country and his family.

"I would rather give my life" than do anything to discredit the military, he told the jury, saying he felt "really lousy" about his actions.

When the verdict was announced, Anderson's father, Bruce, reached over and placed a hand on the back of his son's wife, Erin, who cried quietly. Ryan Anderson showed no visible reaction.

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