Michael Weissenstein, AP, Nov. 7
NEW YORK—An Arabic translator for the Army may have secretly helped Iraqi insurgents by taking classified documents home from Iraq to Brooklyn, where he made a series of calls to numbers linked to the insurgency, a federal prosecutor said Monday.
The man was charged last month with falsifying his identity over many years, beginning when he entered the United States seeking political asylum sometime between 1978 and 1989. His alleged ties to the insurgency were revealed for the first time at a bail hearing Monday in federal court in Brooklyn.
Using the name Almaliki Nour, the man became a U.S. citizen in 2000 and three years later went to work for a defense contractor as a translator and interpreter for an intelligence unit of the 82nd Airborne Division, according to lawyers in the case and an FBI complaint.
As the man known as Nour worked in Iraq, the FBI and Department of Defense discovered that he had fabricated his name, birth date, native country, Lebanon, and family background as the persecuted son of a Muslim father and Catholic mother, the complaint said.
Investigators probing the fabrications discovered that Nour had extensive ties to people linked to the Iraqi insurgency, according to the complaint and law enforcement officials. His cell phone address book contained two coded entries with the numbers of known insurgents, Buretta said.
When the man known as Nour returned to the U.S. this year, he had more than 100 conversations with people directly involved with the insurgency, Buretta said, including some whose numbers were found at suspected safehouses for Jordanian extremist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.
Investigators also discovered that Nour had improperly taken to his Brooklyn apartment classified documents about combating the insurgency, including one, Buretta said, that contained the heading “current threat.”