updated 8/31/2004 4:34:13 PM ET 2004-08-31T20:34:13

The court-martial of a soldier accused of trying to pass military information to al-Qaida was closed to the public Tuesday so the judge could hear sensitive testimony.

An expert on the ability of soldiers to survive in military vehicles testified in the court-martial of Spc. Ryan Anderson for about 15 minutes. Then, Judge Debra Boudreau asked members of the public to leave for testimony involving unspecified “sensitive information.”

Ryan, a National Guardsman, could get life in prison without parole if convicted of five counts of trying to provide the terrorist network with information about U.S. troop strength and tactics, and methods for killing American soldiers.

Authorities say that in a videotaped meeting with undercover federal investigators he thought were members of al-Qaida, Anderson offered sketches and information about weaknesses in the M1A1 Abrams, the Army’s primary battle tank.

The court-martial continued a day after defense lawyer Joseph Morse said in opening arguments that Anderson may have lied but is not a threat to national security.

Prosecutors contend Anderson, a 27-year-old Muslim convert, jeopardized the safety of his country and fellow soldiers.

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