Yet, a full decade later, Hassoun is as free as a bird.
The accused deserter's whereabouts are unknown. No trial ever began. No punishment ensued. And our leaders in Washington don't seem to be doing a thing about this.
Hassoun was born in Lebanon and immigrated with his family to Utah in 1999. A few years later, he joined the Marines as an Arabic translator. On June 20, 2004, Hassoun bailed on guard duty at his base in Fallujah. He took his military-issued gun and his Muslim prayer rug. Military records obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune showed that he was "torn between military loyalty and his Muslim beliefs."
According to the internal probe, he undermined intelligence-gathering operations by refusing to translate questions about Islam. He balked at raising his voice to suspected jihadi imams and sheiks. He openly threatened to "walk out the front gate and leave."
The Muslim Marine told his colleagues he supported Hezbollah terrorist attacks on Israel. Members of his unit told investigators he was "anti-American" and listened to jihad sermons on propaganda CDs. Hassoun had received spiritual counseling from Navy Lt. Cmdr. Abuhena Saifulislam, a Muslim military chaplain tied to a radical Wahhabist outfit under federal investigation, according to Hoover Institution fellow and journalist Paul Sperry.
A bizarre video by Hassoun's Islamist "kidnappers" showed him blindfolded with a sword above his head. But his fellow Marines suspected it was all staged and the "abduction" a collaborative fake. What did the purported hostage-takers want in return for the shady, disgruntled American serviceman? The release of jihadists in "U.S.-led occupation prisons." Translation: Gitmo detainees. (Americans would never negotiate such a reckless trade, right? Oh, wait.)
In an even weirder twist, Hassoun somehow resurfaced at the U.S. embassy in Lebanon a few weeks after he walked away from his base. His family was rumored to have enlisted the aid of an Islamist group associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hassoun denied desertion charges, came back to the U.S. for trial and then deserted a second time after failing to return to Camp Lejeune after visiting family in Utah. In 2011, Hassoun's family sought a $1 million book and movie deal in Hollywood. One of his brothers said the fugitive Marine was with family in Lebanon.