- The Washington Times - Monday, May 21, 2007

MIAMI — Convicted terror conspirator Yahya Goba testified yesterday that he provided al Qaeda with his home phone number and other personal information after training at an Islamist camp that prosecutors contend terror suspect Jose Padilla also attended.

Goba, 30, was a member of the “Lackawanna Six” terrorist group, convicted in 2002 of providing material support to al Qaeda. He is serving a 10-year sentence in upstate New York.

He said that after completing six weeks of training at the remote camp in southern Afghanistan, he filled out a “mujahedeen data form” that asked for his personal information, including the phone number at his home near Buffalo, N.Y.

“If they needed to contact me, they could,” said Goba, who was transferred temporarily to a South Florida federal prison to testify in the case against Mr. Padilla and his two co-defendants.

Goba has testified in several other cases involving terror suspects in the United States in hopes of reducing his sentence.

Responding to a question from prosecutors, Goba said he indicated on the al Qaeda form that he would reside in the U.S. after completing the training in 2001.

Mr. Padilla, Adham Amin Hassoun, 45, and Kifah Wael Jayyousi, 44, are charged with providing money, equipment and material support to terror organizations abroad. Mr. Padilla, 36, also is charged with being a willing recruit of al Qaeda.

Prosecutors say he trained in the same camp as Goba, though one year earlier.

Defense attorneys say Mr. Padilla was in the region to further his Islamic studies in hopes of becoming an imam and had not attended the training camp.

Prosecutors used Goba’s testimony to try to convince the jury that Mr. Padilla had taken the same path to al Qaeda membership and received the same training in weapons and explosives at the camp.

Mr. Padilla was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in 2002. John Ashcroft, the U.S. attorney general at the time, said federal law-enforcement officials had thwarted an al Qaeda plot involving Mr. Padilla to detonate a “dirty bomb” on U.S. soil and blow up several apartment buildings in major American cities.

Mr. Padilla was incarcerated in a Navy brig in South Carolina, but charges were not filed because of a failure to gather enough usable evidence against him. In November 2005, the Bush administration linked Mr. Padilla to an ongoing case in Miami accusing him and other defendants of aiding terror groups worldwide. Mr. Padilla then was transferred to a South Florida federal detention center.

Also in court yesterday, two FBI specialists in telephone and fax surveillance testified to the types of techniques used to translate conversations monitored by the federal government. Prosecutors are expected to play for the jury about 100 conversations out of several thousand recorded involving all three defendants, in which prosecutors say they discuss aiding terrorists.

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