Sunday, March 11, 2007

U.S. sailor leaked info about Canadian warship (and they talk about cnd security)

U.S. sailor leaked info about Canadian warship
Mar. 10 2007 Canadian Press

- A former U.S. navy sailor facing espionage charges allegedly disclosed secrets about a Canadian frigate that was part of a large force headed to the Middle East in 2001, court documents say.

Hassan Abugihaad, 31, also known as Paul Hall, is accused of leaking the location of ships and the best ways to attack them, including HMCS Winnipeg, a multi-role patrol frigate.

He was charged Wednesday with supporting terrorism with the intent to kill U.S. citizens and transmitting classified information to unauthorized people.

Abujihaad allegedly gave the data to London-based terrorists.

During an appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, Ariz., he accepted removal to Connecticut. He apparently was working as a delivery man in Phoenix.

He's charged in the same case as Babar Ahmad, a British computer specialist arrested in 2004 and accused of running websites to raise money for terrorism.

Ahmad is scheduled to be extradited to the United States to face trial.

During a search of Ahmad's computers, investigators said they discovered files containing classified information about the positions of navy ships and their susceptibility to attack.

Abujihaad, a former enlisted man, exchanged e-mails with Ahmad while on active duty on the USS Benfold, a guided-missile destroyer, in 2000 and 2001, an FBI affidavit said.

The documents include drawings of a navy battle group that included the Winnipeg, saying it would sail into the Persian Gulf on April 29, 2001.

The memo said the battle group could be attacked using small weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades. The ships were never attacked.

It noted the Winnipeg carried 150 personnel and specialized in anti-air warfare.

It added the Canadian sailors were armed with MP5 sub-machine guns and 9mm pistols.

"There is a possibility that the ships and submarines that are capable will carry out a strike against Afghanistan," said the memo.

"Main targets Osama bin Laden and the Mujahedin, Taliban etc."

The incident apparently occurred just weeks after al-Qaida terrorists bombed the USS Cole in Yemen, killing 17 U.S. sailors.

Authorities discovered Abujihaad's military e-mail address among the computer files and he had a secret security clearance that would have allowed him access to that material, the affidavit said.

The investigation was run out of Connecticut because Ahmad allegedly used an Internet service provider there to host one of his fundraising websites.

Ahmad was arrested in 2004. Abujihaad received an honourable discharge from the navy in 2002, the affidavit said.