A Patchogue native who admitted joining al Qaeda but later cooperated with federal authorities investigating the global terrorist organization was sentenced Thursday to eight ½ years time served, plus 90 days in jail.

Bryant Neal Vinas had pleaded guilty at Brooklyn federal court in 2009 to conspiring to murder U.S. nationals for helping plot to blow up the Long Island Rail Road. He had faced up to life in prison but will be released by this summer because of his cooperation.

“I consulted with a senior al Qaeda leader and provided detailed information about the operation of the Long Island Rail Road system which I knew because I had ridden the railroad on many occasions,” Vinas told a judge, according to the Associated Press.

Law enforcement officials told the AP that he provided a “treasure trove” of intelligence about the terror group. He was captured in Pakistan in 2008, a year after he joined al Qaeda follow by his conversion to Islam.

“We can proudly state that Mr. Vinas took the worst experience in his life and turned himself into one of America’s greatest weapons against al Qaeda,” his attorneys said, CNN reported.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.