Former Navy Sailor Pleads Not Guilty to Terrorism Charges

A former Navy sailor pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he supported terrorism by disclosing secret information about the location of Navy ships and the best ways to attack them.

Hassan Abujihaad, 31, of Phoenix, was arraigned in U.S. District Court in New Haven. He has been held without bail since his arrest last month in Phoenix.

His attorney, Dan LaBelle, filed a motion Tuesday asking that Abujihaad be released from prison based on conditions determined at a hearing. LaBelle has said his client has a job and two small children.

A hearing is scheduled April 11 on LaBelle's request.

Abujihaad, who worked in a UPS warehouse in Phoenix, 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.

Investigators say he provided secrets, in the form of classified documents, to a suspected terrorism financier.

Abujihaad was charged with providing material support to terrorists with intent to kill U.S. citizens and disclosing classified information relating to the national defense.

The Internet service provider where the investigation started was based in Connecticut.

Abujihaad is charged in the same case as Babar Ahmad, a British computer specialist arrested in 2004 and accused of running Web sites to raise money for terrorism. Ahmad is to be extradited to the U.S.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that Ahmad might be extradited in a matter of months, and that the defendants might be tried together if the timing makes that possible.

During a search of Ahmad's computers, investigators discovered files containing classified information about the positions of U.S. Navy ships and discussing their susceptibility to attack, officials said.

Abujihaad exchanged e-mails with Ahmad while on active duty on the USS Benfold, a guided-missile destroyer, in 2000 and 2001, according to an FBI affidavit. In those e-mails, Abujihaad discussed naval briefings and praised Usama bin Laden and those who attacked the USS Cole in 2000, according to the affidavit.

Abujihaad, who received an honorable discharge from the Navy in 2002, faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors said Wednesday the case involves a massive amount of data from various locations including search warrants, subpoenas for records, hard drives, computer discs seized from the United Kingdom and the results of searches of e-mail servers.