ANAHEIM, Calif.- In his recurrent nightmares, Airman Ahmad Al Halabi
pictured how the military would execute him for espionage: by electric
chair or firing squad.
“I wondered whether I’d be dead before they realized that I wasn’t a spy or
a terrorist,” Al Halabi, 25, told a military judge last month at Travis Air
Force Base in California.
After months of confining and prosecuting him, the U.S. military concedes
that Al Halabi was not a mole after all.
As the spy charges against him crumpled, so did Bush administration
allegations that a ring of undercover agents linked with Al Qaeda had
permeated the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the
Air Force senior airman served as a translator.
Three high-profile cases revolving around the alleged espionage and
mishandling of classified documents at the naval base turned terrorist
detention center were dropped in recent weeks without criminal convictions.
They included the highly publicized travails of Muslim chaplain Capt. James
Yee, 36, who spent 76 days in solitary confinement before the Army
With one remaining case–Ahmed Mehalba, a former civilian translator of the
detainees, awaits trial in Boston on charges he lied about carrying
computerized Guantanamo files to Egypt–the government’s vigorous pursuit
of the allegations against the facility’s Muslim staff has come into
Now members of Congress, former top military judicial officials,
human-rights groups and leaders of America’s Muslim community are asking
why the military and government rushed to judgment.
“What they did in these cases was simply wrong,” said Kevin Barry, a former