Saturday, February 08, 2003

Terrorists Have Chemical, Nuke Info

SPOKANE, Wash. Feb. 7 —
A former National Guard officer and his ex-wife pleaded innocent to charges they attempted to sell illegally obtained national security secrets that the FBI said are worth millions of dollars.

Rafael Davila, 51, and Deborah Davila, 40, entered their pleas at a detention hearing Thursday.

Both have been held without bail since their arrest Tuesday, and U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno ordered Friday that they be held without bail until trial. She said the government had proved there was no way to guarantee the pair would show for trial.

If convicted, the Davilas each face up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

The stolen documents related to U.S. chemical, nuclear and biological capabilities still have not been recovered, said FBI agent Lee McEuen.

"They are worth, on the black market, millions of dollars, and would be of huge interest to militias and terrorist organizations," he testified. "Based on that, I believe they are a huge danger to the United States."

Prosecutors said that because many of the more than 300 documents are secret or top secret, they could not specify what they contained. Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Hicks said there was no evidence the documents had reached foreign governments. He also said the suspects have not divulged where the documents are.


Court documents and law enforcement sources say it was Deborah Davila, a 40-year-old schoolteacher, who came to authorities about her ex-husband, Rafael Davila, 51, a former major and intelligence specialist with the Washington National Guard.

He stands accused of taking perhaps hundreds of documents, including at least one on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and she of sending those documents out. The ultimate recipients, federal agents fear, were radical, anti-government groups within the United States. The documents, which filled a dozen or more boxes, remain missing.

They both have pleaded not guilty. A federal magistrate in Spokane ordered them yesterday to remain in jail.

The idea of white supremacist and other right-wing groups studying these top-secret papers worries law enforcement.

"They (the militia) are definitely still out there," said one federal criminal justice source. "They cannot be discounted as a potential threat as far as committing a terrorist act. The biggest concern is that you get a Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph."

(thanks Mac Diva)