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Mystery Deepens Over WMD Documents

by John Gold­stein


How the clas­si­fied mil­i­tary doc­u­ments from Iraq, which named the coor­di­nates of where the Army sus­pect­ed weapons of mass destruc­tion to be hid­den, end­ed up in an Ara­bic trans­la­tor’s apart­ment on Hoyt Street in Brook­lyn, is clear.

Not like­ly to be known any­time soon is what, if any­thing, the army con­trac­tor did with the doc­u­ments.

The U.S. attor­ney’s office in Brook­lyn, which is pros­e­cut­ing the case, appears to have lit­tle direct evi­dence that Noured­dine Mal­ki passed infor­ma­tion on to the insur­gency, either dur­ing his time in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, or upon his return to Amer­i­ca in 2005. But it has raised the pos­si­bil­i­ty that he may have done so. The gov­ern­ment has said Mal­ki reg­u­lar­ly called phone num­bers con­nect­ed to insur­gents and took bribes of at least $11,500 from Sun­ni trib­al lead­ers.

The gov­ern­ment, pros­e­cu­tors wrote in one court fil­ing, could “estab­lish that the defen­dant had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to pro­vide stolen clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion to anti-coali­tion forces.”

Yes­ter­day, at a hear­ing in U.S. Dis­trict Court in Brook­lyn, an Army offi­cer with the 82nd Air­borne Divi­sion described some of the reports that Mal­ki had obtained. “The infor­ma­tion is so crit­i­cal that you do not want the infor­ma­tion to get into the hands of any­one with­out the need to know,” Lieu­tenant Colonel Michele Bre­denkamp said, refer­ring to a mis­sion analy­sis report for the 82nd Air­borne, to which Mal­ki was attached. The doc­u­ment, among oth­er things, described con­voy routes and named known ter­ror­ists the Army was tar­get­ing. Between 60 and 70 indi­vid­u­als had autho­riza­tion to view the doc­u­ment, which could be accessed through a secure com­put­er, Colonel Bre­denkamp tes­ti­fied.

“Would this be the type of thing for a sol­dier to take for a keep­sake?” a pros­e­cu­tor, John Buret­ta, asked.

“That’s absurd,” Colonel Bre­denkamp said.

Mal­ki has plead­ed guilty to charges of unau­tho­rized pos­ses­sion of nation­al defense infor­ma­tion. He is like­ly to be sen­tenced this spring. Pros­e­cu­tors are seek­ing a 10-year sen­tence. Malk­i’s lawyer, Mil­dred Whalen, is call­ing for him to be released on time served.

In court papers, Ms. Whalen has claimed that doc­u­ments Mal­ki “had in his pos­ses­sion were obtained or kept unknow­ing­ly.”

In a short phone inter­view from prison last year, Mal­ki told The New York Sun: “I nev­er had bad inten­tions what­so­ev­er.”

“I loved this coun­try more than them,” he added, though it was not entire­ly clear to whom he referred. “I served this coun­try in Iraq and they did­n’t.”

Mal­ki, a native of Moroc­co, immi­grat­ed to Brook­lyn in 1989, his sis­ter, Sonia Mal­ki, said in an inter­view. While two of his sib­lings ear­li­er moved to France, Mal­ki decid­ed to set out for Amer­i­ca, after liv­ing in Paris for three months in 1989.

“This is not a ter­ror­ism case,” Ms. Mal­ki said. “This could hap­pen to any immi­grant.”

Mal­ki did not ini­tial­ly land on his feet in this coun­ty. He was home­less for a time. At one point he drove for a car ser­vice. A pas­sen­ger robbed him, hit­ting his head so hard that he fell into a coma, Ms. Mal­ki recalled.

Ms. Mal­ki, who lives in France, said her broth­er went to Iraq as a trans­la­tor out of grat­i­tude to Amer­i­ca, which gave him cit­i­zen­ship in 2000.

“In the end he has done a good job for this coun­try,” she said.


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