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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

U.S. Navy Sailor Accused Of Spying

(AHN)-According to an article published in the Saudi daily Al-Watan, a US Navy sailor, Ariel J. Weinmann, is suspected of spying for Israel and is being held at a military base in Virginia on suspicion of espionage and desertion.

According to the navy, Weinmann was apprehended on March 26 "after it was learned that he had been listed as a deserter by his command," with Al-Watan reporting that he was returning from an undisclosed "foreign country"-most likely, Israel.

Ted Brown, a media relations officer at the US Fleet Forces Command, tells the Jerusalem Post, "The US Navy concluded Article 32 proceedings [a pretrial investigation] in the case of Fire Control Technician Third Class Ariel J. Weinmann on July 26, 2006."

According to the report, the US Fleet Forces Command is the "convening authority of the case... and will make the decision with respect to what charges, if any, will be referred to a general court-martial."

However, Al-Watan speculated that if Weinmann spied on behalf of the Mossad, it would be the biggest espionage case since Jonathan Pollard's arrest in 1985 for spying for Israel. He is currently serving a life sentence in the US.

In a press release, the Navy says "Weinmann was assigned to the USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) and had deserted on or about July 3, 2005." Though the navy's initial press release contained no reference to Israel, Brown says that more detailed information about the case would be released shortly.
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