So far, the government has bolstered their assertions of Aref's overseas' ties to terrorists primarily by citing his private journal entries and a notebook recovered from a bombed-out Iraqi encampment that contained Aref's name and Albany address. Prosecutors allege terrorists were in the camp, which was blown up by coalition forces in 2003, but they have not offered any evidence to support that claim.
Defense attorneys in the case challenge those allegations and demand the government disclose whether Aref or Hossain were targeted in a spying program run by the National Security Agency, which is under authorization from President Bush. The spying program is the subject of an ongoing congressional investigation.
If prosecutors refuse to disclose the information, or, if a judge decides they do not have to disclose it, then Kindlon and Hossain's attorney, Kevin Luibrand, have said they intend to appeal. U.S. District Judge Thomas McAvoy, who is presiding over the case, could order classified information turned over to the defense attorneys, and that decision could be appealed by federal prosecutors.
The New York Times, citing anonymous sources, reported last month that the NSA spying program may have prompted the FBI to zero in on Aref and Hossain.
President Bush has acknowledged the practice, but no one in the administration has confirmed its use in any specific investigation.
My earlier coverage can be found here.