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Ex-sailor tried on terror charges

Feb. 25, 2008 at 7:57 PM

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Feb. 25 (UPI) -- A former U.S. Navy seaman went on trial in Connecticut Monday, charged with passing U.S. military secrets to foreign terrorists.

Hassan Abu-jihaad is accused in U.S. District Court in New Haven of sending e-mails containing classified information about Navy ship movements in the Persian Gulf to suspected terrorists when he was stationed aboard the destroyer USS Benfold in the spring of 2001, The Hartford Courant reported.

Three British police officers testified Monday against Abu-jihaad, also known as Paul Hall, who was a signalman with a secret security classification at the time he allegedly transmitted the information to two British nationals of Pakistani descent living in London, the newspaper said.

The two British nationals, Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan, are accused in a related U.S. federal case but are fighting extradition to the United States.

The officers said key materials were seized from Ahmad's London apartment during a 2003 raid. One officer testified she opened a computer disc and found a file -- known as the battle group document -- that has become central to the government's case.

The cases are being prosecuted in Connecticut because the suspects' Internet traffic and Web sites went through a hosting company there.

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