A British national charged in the United States for operating websites promoting jihad pleaded guilty Tuesday to providing material support to al-Qaida and other jihadi groups.
Babar Ahmad operated a chain of jihadi websites called “Azzam Publications” through a service provider based in Connecticut, court records show. The al-Qaida-tied websites sought to recruit individuals to be mujahideen as well as solicit funds for jihad, including for the Chechen Mujahideen and the Taliban.
Ahmad, a resident of the United Kingdom, was extradited to the United States last year after a protracted legal fight.
He used the Azzam websites to communicate with a U.S. naval enlistee Hassan Abujihaad who served as a signalman on the destroyer USS Benfold. Abujihaad disclosed to Ahmad “then-classified information about his battle group’s itinerary, listing dates for anticipated port calls in Hawaii and Australia, and for the battle group’s transit through the Strait of Hormuz.” Abujihaad also “discussed the battle group’s perceived vulnerability to terrorist attack.”
Investigators found that secret Navy information on a floppy disk in the London apartment of one of the website’s organizers during an investigation into Azzam Publications. Abujihaad was sentenced in 2009 to 10 years in prison for material support to terrorism and leaking classified information.
Ahmad’s accomplice Syed Talha Ahsan, also charged in connection with the case, was scheduled to plead guilty today. Ahmad faces up to 30 years and Ahsan up to 15 years in prison during sentencing. Ahmad’s sentencing is scheduled for March 2014.
This article originally appeared on The Investigative Project on Terrorism.