A former Army translator in Iraq charged with unauthorized possession of classified military documents was sentenced to 9 years in prison in Brooklyn federal court Wednesday, a reduction of 13 months from a 2008 sentence that was overturned.
The case of Noureddine Malki, 52, of Brooklyn, made headlines in 2005 because of suspicions that he was helping anti-U.S. insurgents. U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan concluded that he was not doing that, but said any security breach in a war zone is "extremely serious."
Malki, who has been jailed for 61/2 years, also was convicted of lying about his identity to get U.S. citizenship, to get hired as an interpreter by military contractor Titan Corp., and to get his security clearance. His original sentence was overturned because of misapplication of sentencing guidelines. He will be deported to Morocco when released.
The classified materials found in Malki's Brooklyn apartment in 2005 included a map and information on U.S. anti-insurgency plans from his deployment with an intelligence unit in 2004
In remarks to the judge, Malki's lawyer said he had already served the longest sentence ever for unauthorized possession of classified material, and Malki complained that he had been "persecuted" by the government and subjected to harsh isolation conditions in prison because of unfounded claims that he was a spy.
Cogan said Malki had reportedly done an outstanding job for the military in Iraq. The judge called him a "megalomaniac" who probably collected and kept classified material only to try to embellish his reputation and sense of importance, but whose behavior and lies made the government understandably suspicious.
"There's no one to blame," Cogan said, "but Mr. Malki himself."