Today’s posts are all conspiracies all the time. First up:
Susan Lindauer, who once worked for our crosstown rival, the Seattle Post-Intelligender, the Everett Herald and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon while he was a member of the U.S. House, was arrested at her home in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., today on charges of acting as an agent for Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Intelligence Service and plotting to aid Iraqi resistance groups after Saddam’s overthrow.
The Associated Press has a story here and the
Washington Post has the basics here (free site registration may be required).
It’s too early to be certain of Lindauer’s motivation, but her next-door neighbor in Takoma Park, Md., said, “She lives in a fantasy world.” A scan of the readily available information on Lindauer available on the Web indicates Lacey may be dead on.
In 1998 Lindauer filed a deposition with Scottish authorities contending that the Libyan government was not responsible for the bombing of Pan American Flight 103 over Lockerbie, which killed 259 people on the airplane, most of them Americans, and 11 on the ground – and for which Libyan leader Moammar Khadafi eventually accepted responsibility.
Lindauer said her deposition was based on information from Richard Fuisz (that’s pronounced “fuse”), a colorful and successful American biotech entrepreneur who is supposed to have once been a CIA agent in Damascus. Fuisz, according to the deposition, told Lindauer that he had personal knowledge of who the Pan Am saboteurs were – and that they were based in Syria.
The U.S. government forbade Fuisz from testifying in the Lockerbie case, which created a minor furor in the UK.
The reputed motive for the U.S. gagging Fuisz was that it didn’t want him to say anything that would damage relations with Syria, which had been helpful to the U.S. during the 1991 Gulf War. However, U.S. policy is to never let intelligence agents testify about anything except under the rarest circumstances.
The U.S. government’s case against Lindauer, according to the idictment, amounts to this:
-- Lindauer accepted payments from the Iraqis for her services and expenses amounting to a total of $10,000, including $5,000 she received during a trip to Baghdad in February and March 2002, where she met with Iraqi intelligence officers.
-- On Jan. 8, 2003, Lindauer tried to influence U.S. foreign policy by delivering to the home of an unidentified U.S. government official a letter in which she conveyed her access to and contacts with members of the Saddam Hussein regime.
-- She met on two occasions in Baltimore in June and July 2003 with an undercover FBI agent who posed as a Libyan intelligence representative who was seeking to support resistance groups in postwar Iraq. It said she discussed the need for plans and foreign resources to support these groups.
-- She continued to correspond with the undercover agent until last month and followed the agent's instructions to leave packages on two occasions in August 2003 in "dead drop" operations.
Lindauer faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years in prison on the most serious charge and five years in prison on the lesser charge if she is convicted, prosecutors said.
Update: We've now got a statement from Lindauer via WBAL-TV in Baltimore: "I'm an anti-war activist and I'm innocent," Lindauer told WBAL-TV as she was led to a car outside the Baltimore FBI office. "I did more to stop terrorism in this country than anybody else. I have done good things for this country. I worked to get weapons inspectors back to Iraq when everyone else said it was impossible. I'm very proud and I'll stand by my achievements."