Federal authorities say one of the men accused of planning an attack on soldiers at Fort Dix gave another inmate at the federal Detention Center in Philadelphia an al Qaeda recruitment video and another wrote a note referring to the fight "we weren't able to finish."
The U.S. attorney's office made the allegations in a brief filed in U.S. District Court late yesterday to oppose the suspects' request to be granted bail.
A lawyer for one of the men says the government is misrepresenting an incident.
The men contend that the detention center staff has not allowed them adequate access to evidence in the case against them as they prepare for trial. That's why they have asked a judge to either allow them to be free on bail or come up with alternate arrangements to allow them to review materials for the trial, slated to start March 24.
The five men - all foreign-born Muslims in their 20s - were arrested in May and charged with conspiring to kill uniformed military personnel. Authorities said they planned to sneak onto Fort Dix, a base used primarily to train reservists for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There was no attack, however.
A sixth man pleaded later pleaded guilty to providing weapons to some of the five charged in the alleged conspiracy.
In the legal filing, the government says Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer gave another inmate a copy of an al Qaeda-produced DVD last month. Guards found the disc in a book in the detention center's law library.
Government lawyers say in the filing that "the fact the defendant Shnewer and, perhaps, his coconspirators may be spreading jihadist recruitment videos to other inmates clearly raises grave security concerns for the Warden, and, again, supports the reasonableness of continued administrative detention for these defendants."
Shnewer's lawyer, Rocco Cipparone, said Shnewer told him 10 days or so ago about the incident. But Cipparone said Shnewer did not give the other inmate the video. Rather, he said, Shnewer was upset that the man somehow got hold of evidence that only the defendants in the case were supposed to see.
"I think it's ironic that the government contends Mr. Shnewer was giving access to discovery to which he himself has not had sufficient access," Cipparone said.
The government also said that suspect Eljvir Duka and another inmate were passing notes.
In one note, the government said, he wrote, "Now you see why we were going to sacrifice all for the sake of allah in jihad" and referred to the fight "we weren't able to finish."
The government said detention center staff confronted Duka about the notes. According to the filing, he acknowledged he was passing them but said they only dealt with "issues such as the quality of the food" behind bars.
Duka's lawyer, Troy Archie, did not immediately return a voice mail or e-mail message last night.
The government also said the five men have had access to the evidence when they requested it.