Syrian Immigrant Sentenced for Spying For Syria
Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid, a Syrian born naturalized citizen, was convicted last Friday of "collecting video and audio recordings and other information about individuals in the United States and Syria who were protesting the government of Syria and to providing these materials to Syrian intelligence agencies in order to silence, intimidate and potentially harm the protestors." He was sentenced to 18 months in prison with 3 years supervised release.
In the original 6 count indictment returned by the grand jury, Soueid was charged with infiltrating dissident Syrian groups and supplying the Syrian secret police with personal details about individual anti-Syrian protestors. Soueid's original attorney thought the sentence "laughable," saying “He was facing many years in prison. They claim that he was responsible for the deaths of many people.”
According to court records, from March to October 2011, Soueid acted in the United States as an agent of the Syrian Mukhabarat, which refers to the intelligence agencies for the Government of Syria, including the Syrian Military Intelligence and General Intelligence Directorate. At no time while acting as an agent of the government of Syria in this country did Soueid provide prior notification to the Attorney General as required by law. The U.S. government has designated the Syrian government a state sponsor of terrorism since 1979.
Under the direction and control of Syrian officials, Soueid recruited individuals living in the United States to make dozens of audio and video recordings of protests against the Syrian regime – including recordings of conversations with individual protestors – in the United States and Syria, which he provided to the Syrian government. He also supplied the Syrian government with contact information for key dissident figures in the United States, details about the financiers of the dissident movement, logistics for protests and meetings, internal conflicts within the movement, and the movement’s future plans.
In a handwritten letter to a Syrian official in April 2011, Soueid outlined his support for the Syrian government’s repressions of its citizens, stating that disposing of dissension must be decisive and prompt and that violence, home invasions, and arrests against dissidents is justified.
Eighteen months for basically signing the death warrants of dozens of people in Syria? You can bet that the families in Syria of those dissidents suffered death or imprisonment at best at the hands of Assad's thugs in the secret police. And it wouldn't have surprised the Justice Department if Soueid had been allowed to continue his activities that he would have eventually gotten around to assassinating some of the leaders of dissident organizations in America. In the indictment, the government alleged:
It was further part of the conspiracy that defendant SOUEID and others would undermine, silence, intimidate, and potentially harm persons in the United States and Syria who protested against the Government of Syria and President al-Assad, all at the direction and control of the Government of Syria and Syrian officials.
Apparently unable to prove the link to deaths in Syria of family members of dissidents, the government struck a deal with Soueid.
There is no word on progress arresting Soueid's accomplices so we must assume they, and others, are out there keeping tabs on Syrian dissidents in America while under control of the Syrian secret police.