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WASHINGTON - A federal judge has released a linguist for the Navy in Bahrain who is facing charges, under the Espionage Act, of possessing classified documents without authorization. But the judge ordered him to be kept under surveillance by an electronic monitoring device.
James Hitselberger, who is fluent in Arabic, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His job as a federal contractor was to translate documents for the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Gulf Cooperation Council.
The council contains a unit conducting unconventional warfare, counterterrorism and special reconnaissance.
An FBI affidavit unsealed last month says Hitselberger copied documents that discussed military troop activities in the region and gaps in U.S. intelligence in Bahrain.
In his ruling Wednesday, Judge Rudolph Contreras ordered Hitselberger to stay within 25 miles of the Washington area.