If he wasn’t involved in jihad-related activities, and if his travel was innocent, why did he lie? From the Star Tribune, with thanks to Bruce:
An Iraqi man who pleaded guilty Wednesday in St. Paul to lying to airport officials about his Mideast travel was deported to his homeland and ordered never to return to the United States.
Ali Mohammed Abboud Almosaleh, 40, who has been in federal custody since his arrest July 7 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, told U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle that he lied to U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents about being in Iraq and about video discs containing calls for resistance against America. He said he was in fear about being stopped when he falsely told agents that he had only been in Syria and that the discs contained only music.
“I beg from you forgiveness,” Almosaleh said in court through a language interpreter. “I was very scared and I was very afraid.”
Almosaleh was interviewed several times after his arrest by federal investigators, but was never charged with any acts of terrorism. A three-count indictment against him alleged that he made false statements and misrepresented information on immigration forms.
The video discs in his possession contained images of militant Iraqi Iman Muqtada al-Sadr, but his defense attorney has said that the images of al-Sadr and his militia were no different than what has been shown around the world on CNN….
At Wednesday’s court hearing, Almosaleh told Judge Kyle that the three-count indictment against him was true. Under an agreement with prosecutors, Almosaleh pleaded guilty to one of the counts in exchange for dismissal of the other two charges….
Almosaleh told Kyle that he left the United States in January 2004 and traveled into and out of Iraq. He returned July 7 on a flight from Amsterdam that stopped in the Twin Cities and falsely told Customs officials he had been gone for only a month.
Karen Bailey, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis, declined to comment on whether the government considers Almosaleh a terrorist. She noted he was not charged with any crimes of terrorism.