US soldier accused of aiding al-Qaida

A US soldier has been taken into custody for allegedly attempting to communicate with and pass information to al-Qaida.

    Ryan Anderson allegedly tried to contact Usama bin Ladin's group

    An army spokesman said Specialist Ryan Anderson was

    detained at Fort Lewis, Washington state, on Thursday.

    Lieutenant

    Colonel Stephen Barger added that charges

    of "aiding the enemy" were pending.

    Anderson is a member of the Washington National Guard's 81st

    Armored Brigade, which was preparing to deploy to Iraq.

    "Specialist Anderson will be held at the Fort Lewis regional

    correction facility and the criminal charges (are) of aiding the enemy by

    wrongfully attempting to communicate and give intelligence to the

    al-Qaida terrorist network in violation of the Uniformed Code of

    Military Justice," Barger said.

    Anderson was taken into custody by army and federal law

    enforcement authorities, but has not been formally charged as yet.

    11 September attacks

    The soldier, who joined the National Guard in May 2002, was

    reported to have attempted to make contact with al-Qaida through i

    nternet chat rooms.

    "The criminal charges (are) of aiding the enemy by wrongfully attempting to communicate and give intelligence to the al-Qaida terrorist network in violation of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice"


    Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Barger

    "That would be a matter for the investigation," said Barger, "I

    couldn't get into any specifics."

    He added: "He will have the opportunity to appear before magistrate's

    court. That's the next phase."

    The US blames Usama bin Ladin's al-Qaida for a number of attacks against American interests over the past decade.

    In particular, the White House says al-Qaida was behind the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington that killed around 3000 people.

    Although the Islamist network has expressed support for the operation, it has yet to claim clear responsibility for it.

    SOURCE: AFP


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