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Chaplain's mother asks for apology from Army

Asserts case wrongly branded him a spy

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- The mother of an Army chaplain once charged with mishandling classified information at a prison camp for suspected terrorists wants the military to apologize for wrongly accusing her son.

Fong Yee, mother of Captain James Yee, said the Army's decision last week to dismiss charges against her son offered little reason to celebrate because the military dropped the matter without clearing his name.

"Realize you made a mistake, and apologize," she was quoted as saying in The Sunday Star-Ledger of Newark. "What's so wrong with that? It's an honorable thing to do. That's just basic human decency."

The Army dropped the charges Friday, six months after accusing Yee of mishandling classified material, failing to obey an order, making a false official statement, adultery, and conduct unbecoming an officer for allegedly downloading pornography on his government laptop computer.

In dismissing the charges, Major General Geoffrey D. Miller, commander of the task force that operates the US military's detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for terror suspects, cited "national security concerns that would arise from the release of the evidence" if the case proceeded.

Fong Yee, of Springfield, N.J., said the military branded her son a spy during the 76 days he was in custody. "People will always remember this spy stuff," she said. "I want to impress on the government how many people that they hurt."

The family's pastor, the Reverend Remo Madsen, was pleased that the charges were dismissed. "A dark cloud has gone away, and some of the sunshine is in. But we haven't seen full sunshine yet."

James Yee was a member of Madsen's Holy Cross Church before converting to Islam after a tour in the 1991 Gulf War.

Yee had been counseling Muslim detainees at Guantanamo Bay. He was arrested Sept. 10 at a Jacksonville, Fla., naval base, carrying what authorities said were classified documents.

Yee still faces a nonjudicial punishment hearing today over allegations of adultery and pornography. Only minor punishment, such as duty restriction or a temporary pay cut, is expected.

Yee will be allowed to return to his previous duty station at Fort Lewis, near Tacoma, Wash., where he previously was a chaplain.

Thought to be the first US soldier detained in the war on terrorism, Yee was one of four Guantanamo Bay workers arrested as part of an investigation into possible security breaches at the prison.

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