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FBI translator whose own voice was intercepted pleads guilty

FILE - This Saturday, May 4, 2019, file booking photo provided by the Alexandria, Va. Sheriff's Office shows Abdirizak Jaji Raghe Wehelie, of Burke, Va. Wehelie, a former FBI translator charged with altering transcripts after his own voice was caught on intercepts with terrorism suspects, is expected to enter a guilty plea, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in federal court in Alexandria.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A former FBI translator charged with altering transcripts after his own voice was caught on intercepts with terrorism suspects has pleaded guilty to making false statements.

Abdirizak Wehelie (wuh-HEEL'-ee) of Burke, Virginia, struck a plea bargain Friday in federal court in Alexandria. Wehelie pleaded guilty to a single count of making false statements; seven other counts, including obstructing an investigation, were dropped.

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In court papers, prosecutors say Wehelie was tasked with translating phone calls made by an individual under investigation for helping a person join al-Shabab, a militant Somali group designated as terrorists by the U.S. When Wehelie heard his own voice on the calls, he marked himself down as "unidentified male."

Prosecutors say they have no evidence Wehelie tipped off the person calling him to the FBI's investigation.

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