Some people may remember a case back in 2003 where a Gitmo Translator was accused, and eventually convicted of smuggling information to Egypt from a
military computer located at Guantanamo Bay. The translator, named Ahmed Mehalba, was convicted of mishandling of classified information and two
counts of providing false information. After the trial ended, the unlabeled CD containing classified information was accidentally returned to Mehalba
along with many other CDs seized by customs agents. The former translator notified the FBI of their own mistake, and returned the data to them
immediately. The FBI explained their actions by saying they weren't allowed to alter the CD to write 'Classified' on it because the disc was
evidence in the trial, and so when it came time to return the defendant's personal possessions nobody was able to tell the difference between the
classified disc and the unmarked personal CDs the man had in his possesion when he was arrested.
Mehalba had just arrived in Boston from his native Egypt in September 2003, when customs inspectors found the discs during a routine search. He was
arrested after one of the discs was found to contain information that had been downloaded from classified files available on a military computer at
Guantanamo Bay, where the Defense Department had hired him to work as an Arabic translator.
Mehalba, a U.S. citizen, claimed he merely had been trying to do a good job by working on the material at home when he flew to Egypt that summer
during an emergency leave to visit his family.
He never marked the disc ``classified,'' however, and, because it was evidence, authorities left it unaltered in a safe until the FBI returned it to
him last week with the other discs after his release.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
This was obviously a serious security breach on the part of the FBI. If the material was indeed classified, should the agents responsible be charged
with the same crime as the defendant, mishandling classified information? Should there be an investigation into how such 'sensitive' evidence is
handled in general, since it seems security is anything but tight, considering the number of leaks in recent memory.
Is it possible this was a calculated move to determine whether or not the defendant was a spy? If they switched the disc with a look alike, perhaps
with fake, look-alike data, they would know Mehalba wasn't legit if he failed to return the data upon finding the mistake.
Still, this is a disturbing addendum to a story that was blowing up all over the news wires when it initially broke. The circus is in full swing, but
who's running the show? This new information is not widely available in the mainstream media at this point, or at the very least, it's being
eclipsed by the Shiavo case.
[edit on 27-3-2005 by WyrdeOne]