A former Navy sailor was arrested yesterday on suspicion of releasing classified information that ended up in the hands of a Muslim accused of financing terrorism.
Hassan Abujihaad, a 31-year-old convert to Islam, is accused in a case that began in Connecticut and followed a suspected terrorist network across the country and into Europe and the Middle East.
He was arrested in his hometown of Phoenix on charges of supporting terrorism with an intent to kill U.S. citizens and transmitting classified information to unauthorized people.
Mr. Abujihaad, who is also known as Paul R. Hall, is charged in the same case as Babar Ahmad, a British computer specialist arrested in 2004 and accused of running pro-Taliban Web sites that raise money for terrorism. Mr. Ahmad is scheduled to be extradited to the U.S. to face trial.
During a search of Mr. Ahmad’s computers, investigators discovered files containing classified information about the positions of U.S. Navy ships and discussing their susceptibility to attack.
Mr. Abujihaad, a former enlisted man, exchanged e-mails with Mr. Ahmad while on active duty on the USS Benfold, a guided-missile destroyer, in 2000 and 2001, according to an affidavit released yesterday. Authorities say he purchased videos promoting jihad, or holy war.
In those e-mails, Mr. Abujihaad discussed naval military briefings and praised the Muslim terrorists who attacked the USS Cole in 2000, according to the affidavit by FBI agent David Dillon. The documents retrieved from Mr. Ahmad show drawings of Navy battle groups and discuss upcoming missions. They also say the battle group could be attacked using small weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades.