U.S. Army Translator Charged with Theft of Classified Documents Concerning Iraqi Insurgency -- Documents Were Taken from 82nd Airborne in Iraq and Found in Defendant's Brooklyn Apartment
Defendant Communicated with Numerous Iraqi Phone Numbers Linked to Insurgency After Bringing Classified Documents to U.S.
A U.S. Army contract translator was indicted by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn on four counts of unauthorized possession of national defense documents. The indictment stems from a Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation of the defendant, whose true name and identity remain unknown. The defendant was previously indicted for, and pleaded guilty to, using a false identity to procure his United States citizenship and to gain access to classified military materials.
The charges were announced by ROSLYNN R. MAUSKOPF, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, MARK J. MERSHON, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, RAYMOND W. KELLY, Commissioner, New York City Police Department, and MARTIN D. FICKE, Special Agent-in-Charge, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, New York (“ICE”).
The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned on March 31, 2006, at 12:00 p.m., before United States District Court Chief Judge Edward R. Korman, at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.
According to the new indictment1 and court submissions by the government, in August 2003 the defendant used a false identity to apply for and gain a position as an Arabic translator for the L-3 Titan Corp., which provides translation services in Iraq for U.S. military personnel. Thereafter, from September 2003 to March 2004, he was deployed to the Al Taqqadam Air Base in the volatile “Sunni Triangle” region around Baghdad, Iraq. While working as a translator there with an intelligence group in the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, the defendant downloaded an electronic classified 82nd Airborne document onto his unclassified “thumb drive,” and then onto an unclassified CD-Rom. In March 2004, the defendant took the CD-Rom, along with several physical documents containing classified 82nd Airborne information, to the United States, without approval, and stored the documents, without authorization, in his Brooklyn apartment.
The classified documents include highly-detailed descriptions of insurgent activity in Iraq. One document, for example, details the precise coordinates from where the U.S. Army believed insurgents were using weapons to fire on Al Taqqadam Air Base, and specifies the weaponry being using to try to destroy those locations. Another document details the routes Iraqi Shiite pilgrims will take on their pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, specifies which routes will have military protection, and describes insurgent groups likely to attack the pilgrims during their religious journey.
Phone record analysis has revealed that, following his return to the United States with the classified documents, the defendant had phone contact with numerous Iraqi phone numbers linked to suspected insurgent forces. Those phone numbers include one recovered during U.S. military raids in Iraq.
The classified documents taken by the defendant were discovered when JTTF members searched the defendant’s Brooklyn apartment in late September 2005. Further investigation revealed that the defendant was not authorized to have the classified documents, bring them to the United States, or keep them in his apartment. During an interview with law enforcement in October 2005, the defendant admitted downloading one of the classified documents recovered from his apartment.
The charges announced today are the latest in the government’s continuing investigation of the defendant. In November 2005, separate charges were brought against him for (1) using a false identity to apply for and obtain secret and top secret classified clearances with the U.S. military, (2) using a false identity to apply for and obtain his United States citizenship, and (3) using a false identity when agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Defense interviewed him in Iraq in September 2005. On December 20, 2005, the defendant pleaded guilty to each of those charges. On those charges, the defendant, who has not yet been sentenced, faces a maximum of 20 years imprisonment.
If convicted on the four new federal charges, the defendant faces an additional maximum sentence of 40 years imprisonment, five years supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.
“Safeguarding United States military plans and intelligence is critical to defeating the insurgency and protecting the lives of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians,” stated United States Attorney MAUSKOPF. “Those who abuse a position of trust and compromise classified military information endanger the lives of others and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” Ms. MAUSKOPF thanked the U.S. Department of Defense for its assistance and added that the investigation is on-going.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge MERSHON stated, “Documents are classified for a reason, and that reason has everything to do with the harm to our national security if the classified information gets into the wrong hands. The FBI remains committed to aggressively pursuing cases such as this because of the serious threat they pose to our country.”
NYPD Commissioner KELLY stated, “This illustrates the importance of being alert to threats to our security whether they originate here in New York, or half a world away.”
ICE Special Agent-in-Charge FICKE stated, “Today, we have demonstrated our commitment to insuring the security of our country and we will continue to partner with the F.B.I. and the law enforcement community to this end. We will not tolerate any activity that would compromise the well-being of our citizens, either here or abroad.”
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John Buretta and Jeffrey Knox.
FNU LNU, also known as
“Almaliki Nour” and
“Almalik Nour Eddin”
Metropolitan Detention Center
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