(AFP) – Mar 5, 2008
NEW YORK (AFP) — A former US Navy sailor was found guilty Wednesday of providing material support to terrorists by leaking classified information, after a court case lasting less than one month.
Hassan Abu Jihaad, born Paul Hall, was found guilty at a district court in New Haven, Connecticut. He is due to be sentenced on May 23 and faces a jail term of up to 25 years.
"We are very pleased with today's verdict," Kevin O'Connor, the Connecticut US attorney said after the decision.
"This verdict demonstrates loudly and clearly that we will seek to hold accountable anyone responsible for providing classified information to those who intend to use it in a manner against our national interests."
Abu Jihaad, 32, was arrested in Arizona last year and accused of passing secret information, including the details of a US Navy battle group, to two British nationals from an organization known as Azzam Publications.
Abu Jihaad was stationed in the Middle East aboard the USS Benfold, a guided-missile destroyer in the battle group, and allegedly provided details of its movements as it headed for the Gulf in early 2001.
The former sailor, who was discharged from the Navy in 2002, pleaded not guilty to the charges last April.
A document found during a police search in Britain in 2003 allegedly disclosed the battle group's perceived vulnerability to attack and is believed by prosecutors to have come from information passed on by Abu Jihaad.
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