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Feds: Texas man e-mailed al-Qaida fugitive

The Justice Department alleges in a new terrorism case that a Texas man communicated with the fugitive al-Qaida cleric whose name surfaced in the shootings at Fort Hood.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Justice Department alleged Thursday in a new terrorism case that a Texas man communicated with the fugitive al-Qaida cleric whose name surfaced in the shootings at Fort Hood.

Court documents say Barry Walter Bujol of Hempstead, Texas, had been communicating via e-mail with Anwar al-Awlaki, a native-born U.S. citizen who exchanged e-mails with the alleged Fort Hood gunman, Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan.

A federal grand jury indictment in Houston alleges that Bujol attempted to supply al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula with personnel, currency and other items.

The court documents say that al-Awlaki gave Bujol a document titled "42 Ways of Supporting Jihad" and that Bujol asked al-Awlaki for advice on how to provide money to the "mujahideen" overseas.

Fugitive hides in Yemen
Al-Awlaki is believed to have inspired attacks on the U.S. and is hiding in Yemen, two Yemeni security officials said Wednesday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not permitted to brief journalists.

Bujol made three unsuccessful attempts in February and March 2009 to depart the country and travel overseas to Yemen or the Middle East, the court documents say.

Bujol, 29, faces a maximum 15-year prison term if convicted of attempting to provide support for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and five years if convicted of using a fake identification card.

The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force began investigating Bujol in 2008 and according to documents in the case, the FBI introduced a confidential source who Bujol believed was an operative of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

After Bujol repeatedly expressed a desire to fight for AQAP, the human source supplied Bujol with a false identification card, which Bujol used to gain access to the secure part of a Houston-area port with the alleged intention of boarding a ship bound for the Middle East.

Suspect given supplies
The source gave Bujol currency, prepaid telephone calling cards, mobile telephone SIM cards, global positioning system receivers and public access-restricted U.S. military publications, according to the court documents.

One military publication involved unmanned aerial vehicle operations and another involving the effects of U.S. military weapon systems in operations in Afghanistan.

Bujol was given a military-issue compass and other materials which he allegedly agreed to courier to AQAP operatives in a Middle Eastern country. After Bujol boarded the ship with the material, FBI agents arrested him.

In the months before last November's Fort Hood shootings, which killed 13 people, al-Awlaki exchanged e-mails with the Army psychiatrist. Hasan initiated the contacts, drawn by al-Awlaki's Internet sermons, and approached him for religious advice.

Yemen's government says al-Awlaki is also suspected of contacts with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who traveled to Yemen late last year, and U.S. investigators say Abdulmutallab told them he received training and his bomb from Yemen's al-Qaida offshoot.