A linguist at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday for allegedly “gathering, transmitting and losing defense information” that was part of the military’s highly secret operation of interrogating suspected terrorist detainees at the prison camp there.
So says an LA Times story.
Ahmed Fathy Mehalba’s lawyer, Michael Andrews, says his client
has all along maintained that he was not a terrorist and was not involved in terrorism. He is a patriotic, hard-working guy.
government evidence at the earlier hearing in Worcester, Mass., showed that Mehalba had been carrying reams of documents stored among some of his 132 computer discs and that the material had been alternately marked “secret,” “sensitive” and “classified.”
Andrews says that
Mehalba “truthfully” does not know how the material ended up in his luggage.
Here is an account from the criminal complaint: Mehalba had
a garment bag bearing a U.S. Army insignia. During a check of it, a compact disc case was discovered. Mehalba stated that the discs contained “only music and videos,” some of which he made in Egypt. The compact discs were reviewed by CBP Officer Daniel Ouelette. During that review, Officer Ouelette discovered on one disc, labeled in black handwriting “Backup #3 for MO’S Profile” (hereinafter, “the suspect disc”), classified information including a document labeled “SECRET.”
When questioned, Mehalba said that he had no Gitmo documents, and reiterated that only music and videos were on the discs. But
Mehalba admitted that the suspect disc was his, and that his handwriting was on it. However, Mehalba stated that the suspect disc had his personal documents on it, and on several occasions, Mehalba denied any knowledge of how that classified information came to be found on his disc.
The indictment also contains an account of a U.S. Army private who was dishonorably discharged, who seems to have been Mehalba’s girlfriend. A 2001 search of her quarters turned up classified counterintelligence training material. It also turns out that Mehalba’s uncle had been an intelligence officer for the Egyptian army.