Qaisar Shaffi says he got involved in a mass murder plot 'for the thrill' and is now asking a top judge to pave the way for his release.
He says he was only interested in clothes, alcohol and recreational drugs and was hoping for a 'free holiday' when he accompanied Al Qaeda operative Dhiren Barot on a reconnaissance trip to New York in 2001 to view targets for a bombing campaign.
Shaffi, from Willesden, north London, was convicted in 2007 of conspiracy to murder and was handed a 15-year jail term.
Including time spent on remand, he has now been held as a 'high risk' Category A prisoner for more than seven years and is currently behind bars at Long Lartin Prison, in Worcestershire.
Shaffi will be considered for release by the parole board in February next year - after serving half his sentence - but stands no chance of early release whilst he remains in Category A, his barrister, Dan Squires, told London's High Court.
Mr Justice Eady heard the Director of High Security has twice refused Shaffi's bid for a downgrade in his security rating - an essential preliminary to release - despite 'unanimous expert evidence' that he is no radical Jihadist and poses a low risk to society.
Mr Squires said Shaffi's only involvement with Barot - who is serving a minimum 30-year sentence for conspiracy to murder - came in March 2001 when he accompanied him on a trip to New York, where prosecutors said Wall Street and the IMF Building were being 'scoped' for an attack.
Shaffi, who worked at a mobile phone shop, only met Barot because he was a customer and agreed to fly across the Atlantic with him 'principally because it offered the opportunity of a free holiday', the barrister added.
Barot was jailed for life in 2006 for plotting attacks in the US and the UK
Far from holding Islamic extremist views, Shaffi enjoyed a 'hedonistic' lifestyle at the time.
'He took recreational drugs and drank alcohol and his life revolved around clothes, music and partying', Mr Squires told the judge.
He added that Shaffi, now 33, is a changed man with a long-term girlfriend, an 'exemplary record' in prison and his only wish on release is to return to his wife and peacefully build a family.
Challenging the refusal to downgrade Shaffi from Category A, in which he is being held amongst many hardline extremists, Mr Squires said it flew in the face of expert views on the low risk he poses.
He also argued it was 'unfair' not to grant him an oral hearing.
Barot was jailed for life in 2006 for plotting attacks in the US and the UK using explosives-packed limousines and a 'dirty' radiation bomb.
Prosecutors said he had intended a 'memorable black day' of terror.
Six others admitted conspiring to cause explosions and were handed sentences of between 15 and 26 years.
The High Court hearing continues.