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Prosecutors say soldier was a risk

FORT LEWIS, Wash. -- Prosecutors attempted to show yesterday that military information a soldier is accused of trying to pass to Al Qaeda could have endangered soldiers' lives.

The second day of Specialist Ryan G. Anderson's court martial was twice closed to the public so the judge could hear sensitive testimony.

In a videotaped meeting with undercover federal investigators, Anderson offered sketches and information about weaknesses in the M1A1 Abrams, the Army's primary battle tank.

An expert on the ability of soldiers to survive in military vehicles testified for about 15 minutes in open court about his background. Then, Judge Debra Boudreau asked members of the public to leave for 45 minutes of further testimony.

She again closed the courtroom after Abrams tank expert John Rowe confirmed that a tank's hull could be weakened by damaging panels on either side of the tank, as Anderson said on the videotape. He testified for 45 minutes in closed court.

The testimony was closed because it concerned soldiers' safety, said Captain Jay Stephenson, a spokesman with the Judge Advocate General's office.

Ryan, a 27-year-old Muslim convert, could get life in prison without parole if convicted of five charges of trying to provide the terrorist network with information about US troop strength and tactics, and methods for killing American soldiers.

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