February 10, 2004


A former software engineer who stunned friends and co-workers by admitting he tried to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan drew a seven-year jail sentence in federal court on Monday after apologizing for his role.

“I regret my actions,” Maher “Mike” Hawash, a 39-year-old former Intel Corp. employee, told the courtroom. “I wish to ask forgiveness from my family for the pain I have caused them, and to my friends, my friends in the community and in the United States.” . . .

He attributed his crime to religious and emotional confusion in the highly charged times after the hijack attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, but added, “I do not blame anybody but myself.”

A sad story, though the ending is much less sad than it could have been.

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