Army translator accused of being a double agent

/ Source: The Associated Press

An Arabic translator for the Army is accused of secretly helping Iraqi insurgents, a federal prosecutor said at his bail hearing Monday.

The man was ordered held without bail on charges of falsifying his identity after Assistant U.S. Attorney John Buretta argued the defendant posed a threat to American forces.

Defense attorney Mildred Whalen said her client may have lied to became a U.S. citizen but was a patriot who went to Iraq only to help his adopted country.

She said her client simply maintained relationships with Iraqi contacts approved by the Army officials overseeing his translation work.

The prosecutor claims the man had more than 100 conversations this year with people directly involved with the insurgency, including some whose numbers were found at suspected safehouses for Jordanian extremist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.

Investigators also discovered the man had improperly taken to his New York apartment classified documents about combating the insurgency, including one, Buretta said, that contained the heading “current threat.”

U.S. citizen since 2000
Using the name Almaliki Nour, the man became a U.S. citizen in 2000 and three years later went to work for a defense contractor as a translator and interpreter for an intelligence unit of the 82nd Airborne Division, according to lawyers in the case and an FBI complaint.

As he worked in Iraq, the FBI and Department of Defense discovered that he had fabricated his name, birth date, native country, Lebanon, and family background as the persecuted son of a Muslim father and Catholic mother, the complaint said.

Nour has since told the FBI he is a Moroccan named Noureddine Malki, according to the complaint.

“We don’t know who the defendant is,” Buretta said.