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Somali's guilty plea in terror case disclosed

| Monday, March 25, 2013, 9:51 p.m.

WASHINGTON — A Somali national indicted on federal terrorism charges pleaded guilty nearly a year and a half ago, Justice Department officials announced on Monday, disclosing a previously secret agreement with prosecutors.

Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame was captured in the Gulf of Aden by the U.S. military in April 2011 and held for questioning aboard a Navy ship for more than two months. He was charged with providing material support to the Islamist militant group al-Shabab and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, conspiring to provide explosives training and committing other offenses.

He pleaded guilty in December 2011 in New York, according to the plea agreement. As part of the deal, Warsame agreed to cooperate with U.S. authorities, and Justice Department officials agreed to take steps to try to ensure the safety of his family.

Officials touted the case as a counterterrorism success that blended civilian and military options in an incident involving a foreign militant.

“The capture of Ahmed Warsame and his lengthy interrogation for intelligence purposes, followed by his thorough questioning by law enforcement agents, was an intelligence watershed,” said Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

A Justice Department official said prosecutors withheld disclosure of Warsame's plea out of concerns that their ability to obtain information from him could have been jeopardized.

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