September 22, 2004
Halabi pleads guilty to three charges; espionage charge dropped
By Nicole Gaudiano
Times staff writer
Senior Airman Ahmad Al Halabi — AP file photo
TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — Senior Airman Ahmad Al Halabi pleaded guilty today to three charges with four specifications in the attempted espionage case for his actions in Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Cuba.
Al Halabi pleaded guilty to violating a lawful order, with two specifications: taking unauthorized pictures at Camp Delta and transporting classified information in an unsecure container. The 25-year-old airman said he took two photos around his work center and that the classified information was about an airbridge mission he was going on. Al Halabi said he was unaware of the general orders prohibiting the taking of photos and requiring that classified documents be carried in a secure container.
Al Halabi also pleaded guilty to a charge of making a false official statement. He lied about taking the photos at Camp Delta.
And the airman pleaded guilty to the third charge of conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline, which said he willfully and wrongfully retained unauthorized documents.
At the sentencing phase, which will start later today, Al Halabi is expected to speak to the judge for an extended period of time, and will even produce exhibits, according to Donald Rehkopf, lead defense counsel.
Al Halabi originally faced 30 specifications to include attempted espionage. All charges stemmed from his service as an Arabic translator at Guantanamo between November 2002 and July 2003.
Do we need to take up a collection to buy rope?
Seriously, I'm guessing they had to take the death penalty off the table before he'd plead out, right?
The AF treason case must have been real weak..
Hmmm.... tough choice, fight it out in a UCMJ court on a treason charge and maybe spend life in prison or plea bargain and plead guilty to chump charges and walk with a DH Discharge.