A translator at the federal prison camp at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay in Cuba was arrested Monday at Boston’s Logan Airport when a routine baggage search revealed classified information apparently from a government computer. It was the third recent detention of someone who worked closely with the largely Muslim population being held at Guantanamo Bay. A military chaplain and an Air Force translator are also in custody for suspected security breaches.
Ahmed Fathy Mehalba, 31, an Egyptian-born linguist and former U.S. Army soldier, was carrying 132 computer discs inside a garment bag, the Boston Globe reports. At least one disc had information believed to be classified. Mehalba served in the Army from 2000 to 2001.
Mehalba reportedly acknowledged that he has an uncle who worked in Egyptian military intelligence and that his girlfriend is a former U.S. Army specialist who was caught with classified information on a stolen laptop in 2001.
The Globe said Mehalba had a daughter in 1994 with his girlfriend, an Irish-born landscaper living in Salem, Ma. The couple married 10 days later at the Islamic Center of New England in Quincy, though they later divorced. The couple’s landlord, Mary Ortins, recalled Mehalba wore nice suits when she first met him but later fell on hard financial times and began driving a taxi. “He was strange,” said Ortins.