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Marine in Germany for debriefing, exam


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Marine quizzed over disappearance from Iraq.

The missing U.S. Marine is now said to be in Lebanon.

Terror videotapes put a reporter in a tough spot.
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Wassef Hassoun

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (CNN) -- U.S. Marine Cpl. Wassef Hassoun, the 24-year-old translator who disappeared June 19 and resurfaced this week in Lebanon, is in good physical condition and in "good spirits," Marine officials said Friday.

Hassoun's debriefing to determine his whereabouts during his absence is to begin Saturday, Marines said. They told reporters Hassoun had not discussed the period after he disappeared, and they didn't press him.

"I found him in excellent physical condition, and I did not see any bruises or any injuries on his person," Hassoun's attending physician said. "He's very exhausted," said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Peter Marco.

Army Lt. Col. Sally Harvey, the clinical psychologist who accompanied Hassoun from Lebanon to Germany, said he reported he had only slept two or three hours a night in the past few weeks.

Marco said Hassoun, who is 6 feet tall, had lost about 20 pounds -- from 190 to about 170, and the Marine told him his spirits were down before being reunited with his family in Lebanon. Marco said Hassoun also reported suffering from chronic headaches.

The doctor said the only medication he prescribed was a sleeping pill.

Hassoun was undergoing medical examinations at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, a U.S. military facility. The medical tests were part of routine repatriation procedures, which also were to address his psychological health.

Harvey also said Hassoun would talk to a SERE (survival, evasion, resistance and escape) Team which would seek operational information from him that could help military personnel who find themselves in similar situations. Harvey said Hassoun would be promised confidentiality for those sessions and that information cannot be used against him.

The psychologist also said "there is no evidence now that he is not telling the truth."

The Department of Defense changed Hassoun's status Friday to "returned to military control." The military did not announce how long Hassoun would be at Landstuhl, but officials said he would be flown to his home base of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, after his stay.

Hassoun -- who was listed as "captured" in Iraq after being seen on a video blindfolded with a sword above his head -- arrived in Germany Friday from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.

Hassoun went to the embassy Thursday with members of his family, American officials said.

Apparently the day before he had shown up at the home of relatives in his native city of Tripoli, Lebanon, a source close to the family said. (Full story)

It's not known how Hassoun got to his family's home in Tripoli, some 500 miles (805 kilometers) away from where he was last seen at his unit's base in Fallujah, Iraq.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is looking into the circumstances of Hassoun's disappearance, but a Navy official told CNN no criminal investigation is under way.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that Hassoun contacted the embassy, which made arrangements to meet him, but Pentagon officials said it took three tries to arrange the meeting.

One of the Marine's brothers, Sami Hassoun, said he met with his sibling for about three hours at the embassy.

"Wassef was very nervous," he said. "He went through a lot. We calmed him down." Also at the embassy were Wassef Hassoun's mother and fiancee.

In the United States, another Hassoun brother who lives in West Jordan, Utah, answered reporters' questions.

Mohamad Hassoun said the family has no plans to contact a lawyer to represent him.

"We haven't done anything to need a lawyer for," he said. Mohamad Hassoun also denied that his brother might have been involved in a hoax.

"With my knowledge of my brother, I do not believe that is a possibility, no," he said, "because of the type of person that he is.

"He is a U.S. Marine."

Hassoun was trained as a truck driver but worked as an Arabic translator with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. He was last seen June 19 and was reported missing the next day when he failed to report for duty.

Arabic-language television network Al-Jazeera aired a video June 27 showing Hassoun blindfolded with a sword above his head. A narrator on the tape said the captive would be killed if the United States did not free jailed Iraqis. (Full story)

On June 30, the Pentagon listed him as captured. (Full story)

At one point reports on Islamic Web sites said Hassoun had been beheaded.

On Monday, a group claiming to have kidnapped Hassoun said it had taken him to safety after he promised not to return to the U.S. military, Al-Jazeera reported. (Full story)

CNN's Rusty Dornin, Jamie McIntyre, Elise Labott, Miguel Marquez, Barbara Starr, Stephanie Halasz , and Alphonso Van Marsh contributed to this report.


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