U.S. Navy Sailor Convicted In Terrorism Plot
A United States Navy sailor has been convicted in federal court for leaking sensitive details about U.S. military fleet movements to Middle Eastern terrorists planning to attack the vessels when they entered a narrow waterway between Iran and Oman.
The disgraced sailor is an American-born Muslim convert named Hassan Abu-Jihaad, a homegrown Islamic terrorist who collaborated with al-Qaida operatives to attack his own country. Abu-Jihaad sent the operatives electronic mail with detailed information about his fleet’s member ships, their navigational plans, armament, crew composition and susceptibility to rocket attack by small craft. He also gave the terrorists advance notice of when the battle group would pass through a narrow Persian Gulf waterway known as the Strait of Hormuz.
Secret FBI wiretaps also recorded Abu-Jihaad talking of attacking a military recruiting base in Phoenix and a naval station in San Diego with another man. In some of the transcripts, the two are recorded discussing the purchase of two automatic assault rifles for $1,300. They also talked about calling their group the American Islamic Movement or the American Muslim Movement Organization.
The evidence was so overwhelming that federal jurors in Connecticut, where the trial was held, took less than 24 hours to convict him for providing material support to terrorists and disclosing classified national defense information. Abu-Jihaad, a California native born Paul Hall, faces 25 years in prison.
Federal prosecutors are still pursuing the computer experts, both Middle Eastern men who are British citizens, who collaborated with the convicted sailor. Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan operated the al-Qaida internet business in London that Abu-Jihaad leaked the information to. British authorities have the men in custody but want assurances from the U.S. that they won’t face death if extradited.