No worries. “This is not a terrorism case. This could happen to any immigrant.” Of course. Any immigrant could inadvertently get a job handling classified military documents, and mistakenly take some home with him, and — who knows? — perhaps without intending to let a few drop into the sight of Iraqi jihadists. But keep your shirt on! This could happen to anyone!
“Mystery Deepens Over WMD Documents,” by Joseph Goldstein for the New York Sun (thanks to all who sent this in):
How the classified military documents from Iraq, which named the coordinates of where the Army suspected weapons of mass destruction to be hidden, ended up in an Arabic translator’s apartment on Hoyt Street in Brooklyn, is clear.
Not likely to be known anytime soon is what, if anything, the army contractor did with the documents.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn, which is prosecuting the case, appears to have little direct evidence that Noureddine Malki passed information on to the insurgency, either during his time in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, or upon his return to America in 2005. But it has raised the possibility that he may have done so. The government has said Malki regularly called phone numbers connected to insurgents and took bribes of at least $11,500 from Sunni tribal leaders.
The government, prosecutors wrote in one court filing, could “establish that the defendant had an opportunity to provide stolen classified information to anti-coalition forces.”
Yesterday, at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, an Army officer with the 82nd Airborne Division described some of the reports that Malki had obtained. “The information is so critical that you do not want the information to get into the hands of anyone without the need to know,” Lieutenant Colonel Michele Bredenkamp said, referring to a mission analysis report for the 82nd Airborne, to which Malki was attached. The document, among other things, described convoy routes and named known terrorists the Army was targeting. Between 60 and 70 individuals had authorization to view the document, which could be accessed through a secure computer, Colonel Bredenkamp testified.
“Would this be the type of thing for a soldier to take for a keepsake?” a prosecutor, John Buretta, asked.
“That’s absurd,” Colonel Bredenkamp said.
Malki has pleaded guilty to charges of unauthorized possession of national defense information. He is likely to be sentenced this spring. Prosecutors are seeking a 10-year sentence. Malki’s lawyer, Mildred Whalen, is calling for him to be released on time served.
In court papers, Ms. Whalen has claimed that documents Malki “had in his possession were obtained or kept unknowingly.”
In a short phone interview from prison last year, Malki told The New York Sun: “I never had bad intentions whatsoever.”
“I loved this country more than them,” he added, though it was not entirely clear to whom he referred. “I served this country in Iraq and they didn’t.”
Malki, a native of Morocco, immigrated to Brooklyn in 1989, his sister, Sonia Malki, said in an interview. While two of his siblings earlier moved to France, Malki decided to set out for America, after living in Paris for three months in 1989.
“This is not a terrorism case,” Ms. Malki said. “This could happen to any immigrant.”…