Al Halabi, who once faced charges that could have resulted in the death penalty, agreed to a plea bargain that involves substantially reduced charges, admitting he was guilty of illegally taking photographs, lying to investigators and improperly handling sensitive materials….
Al Halabi, a Syrian native and naturalized U.S. citizen, was accused of attempting to spy for Syria while stationed at the military prison camp at the U.S. Naval Base in GuantÃ¡namo Bay, Cuba. He was working as a supply clerk at Travis in November 2002 when he was transferred to GuantÃ¡namo to serve as a translator for suspected al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists being held there. He was arrested in July 2003, en route to Syria, where the government contends he planned to pass on secrets to unidentified foreign enemies. The defense maintains it was nothing more than a long-planned trip, well-known to his supervisors, to marry and bring his bride back to live with him at Travis.
The defense has argued Al Halabi was wrongly singled out because he is Muslim and of Middle Eastern origin and, in a series of pretrial hearings, presented testimony and other material contending that the government fabricated and overstated evidence in its zeal to make a case.
Last month, the Air Force concluded that most of the documents found in his possession had been wrongly labeled classified and were not, in fact, secret.