- The Washington Times - Friday, May 18, 2007

MIAMI — Fingerprints found on a purported al Qaeda training camp questionnaire discovered in Afghanistan match those of terrorist suspect Jose Padilla, a government analyst testified yesterday.

John Morgan, a Secret Service fingerprint specialist, said seven fingerprints on a “mujahedeen data form” match Mr. Padilla’s, who prosecutors say was attempting to join a terrorist training camp in southern Afghanistan in July 2000.

However, Mr. Morgan acknowledged that his analysis could not determine when Mr. Padilla might have handled the document.

Defense attorneys for the 36-year-old suspect — who is also accused of aiding terrorist operations worldwide — have noted that the fingerprints may have been made by Mr. Padilla as he handled the pages during his incarceration in a Navy brig after his arrest in 2002 in Chicago.

According to Mr. Morgan, the document was not analyzed for prints until 2006, raising questions from the defense about its location and who might have had access to it during those six years.

“Is it also possible that these prints were made by someone who was writing on the document?” prosecutor John Shipley asked.

“Yes, that is possible,” Mr. Morgan said, adding that fingerprints are not always left behind when someone touches a paper.

The document is the centerpiece of the prosecution’s case against the U.S.-born suspect, who was said to have admitted to federal officials during initial interrogations his involvement in a “dirty bomb” scheme and to training with al Qaeda. Those confessions eventually were ruled inadmissible because Mr. Padilla had not been read his Miranda rights and did not have legal counsel present at the time.

He was later added to a case against co-defendants Adham Amin Hassoun, 45, and Kifah Wael Jayyousi, 44, with all three accused of belonging to a “South Florida Support Cell” for aiding terrorist groups overseas.

Prosecutors yesterday also called on FBI translator Nancy Khouri to translate several sections of the four-page document.

“Brother mujahadid, the form includes questions pertaining only to you,” the form states, according to Ms. Khouri.

She then translated several questions from the document regarding inquiries into an applicant’s religious training, work skills, marital status and whether the applicant “could return home.”

“Yes, no problem,” was the response prosecutors say was written by Mr. Padilla, who purportedly signed the document Abu Abdallah Al Muhajir, where it states “nickname.”

The applicant also noted that he had made the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and had traveled to Yemen “to go through for jihad.”

Yahya Goba, a member of the “Lackawanna Six” group of men in upstate New York who pleaded guilty to terrorism support charges, is expected to testify in the Padilla case that he filled out an identical form for the same camp, but at a later date. Goba is serving a 10-year prison sentence and is cooperating with federal prosecutors.

This article is based in part on wire-service reports.

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