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March 11, 2004

Googling Susan

Susan Lindauer, once a reporter for U.S. News & World Report and well as a former spokeswoman for Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, was today arrested on charges of spying for Iraq in the run up to the 2003 Gulf War.

Susan Lindauer, 41, also known as Symbol SUSAN, was arrested in Takoma Park, Maryland, on charges contained in a federal indictment filed in federal court in Manhattan. She is expected to be presented later on Thursday in court in Baltimore.

The charges against Lindauer are included in a case against two sons of a former Iraqi diplomat. The indictment against them, filed last year, charges Wisam Noman al-Anbuke and his brother, Raed Roman al-Anbuke, with passing information to Iraqi intelligence agents about Iraqi dissidents living in the United States.

The case focuses on activity between the first Gulf War in 1991 and March 2002, a year before Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was ousted by a U.S.-led invasion.

Lindauer is charged with conspiracy, acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government and taking money from a government that supports terrorism. If convicted of all counts, she could face 25 years in prison.

Former reporter, eh? Remember what Saddam said about journalists? "Compared to tanks, journalists are cheap--and you get more for your money."

Presumably she did something more than sign peace petitions.

The Smoking gun (link via Andy) has a copy of her indictment here.

Part of what the indictment alleges is eerily similar to the Samir Vincent story, in that it describes a back-channel attempt by Iraq to make contact with the members of the US. Government in months before the war broke out.

On or about January 8th, 2003, SUSAN LINDAUER, a/k/a "Symbol SUSAN," delivered, to the home of a United States Government official, a letter in which LINDAUER conveyed her established access to, and contacts with, members of the Saddam Hussein regime, in an unsuccessful attempt to influence United States Foreign policy.

Here's the relevant portion of the Samir story.

One week after the invasion, the Iraqis dispatched a peace feeler to Washington through a back channel of two Arab-American businessmen, Michael Saba and Samir Vincent. After an oral briefing on the plan from Hamdoon, the two were allowed to "escape" from Iraq on August 9. After driving by car out of Iraq, the pair flew immediately to Washington and, through separate arrangements, contacted the White House. Hamdoon, who had served as Iraq's ambassador to Washington, was considered a pro-Western moderate. But according to participants in the initiative and a confidential congressional summary, Hamdoon's proposed settlement reflected the thinking of Saddam himself.

If the allegations are true, Susan was bought much more cheaply than Samir was.

More to come as I run across it, but for those who can't wait there's a wealth of information on Susan Lindauer and the Lockerbie bombing on the web, which is very interesting, as the indictment also charges that she acted "in an undercover capacity as a member of the Libyan intelligence service.."

(Correction: Read the indictment wrong. Susan was actually meeting with an undercover FBI agent posing as a Libyan intelligence representative.)

In short, Lindauer claimed in a deposition that she was told by a CIA operative that the Lockerbie bombing was not the fault of Libya, but rather due to terrorist groups based in Syria.

This is tragic on two accounts. First, the accused Libyans are effectively denied the right to a fair trial where they might bring forth witnesses in their own defense, which could immediately exonerate them of all charges. And secondly, the families are denied the ability to close this terrible wound, and experience the healing that would be gained from discovering the complete truth and facts surrounding this case.

On both accounts, I cannot be silent. I suspect my disclosure will grieve the families with the horrible revelation that U.S. government officials have behaved so cynically and despicably as to withhold evidence in this case. And yet such a cynical and desperate act must be condemned by civilized society. I dare say Libya is entitled to financial compensation for the economic harassment her people have endured because of these blatantly false accusations, and the deliberate efforts to mislead potential judges, and victimize potential witnesses by a policy of aggressive harassment and punishment for speaking out. Meanwhile, the true culprits have literally gotten away with murder.

Libya admitted formal responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing in August 2003.

Update: More on Ms. Lindauer can be found at Wizbang

More Update: Turns out the unnamed "United States Government official" was Susan's distant cousin, Andrew Card, President Bush's chief of Staff.

He's also the man who turned her in.

Posted by Bigwig at March 11, 2004 12:41 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
Comments

Excellent work, Bigwig! Lets say you are an Iraqi intelligence agent hunting for a turncoat and you happen upon someone who has worked as both a spokesperson for a far left congresswoman and a journalist for U.S. News & World Report...how could you miss?

Posted by: RANT at March 11, 2004 01:33 PM

From her Lockerbie deposition:

"Someone put acid on the steering wheel of my car on a day I was supposed to drive to NYC for a meeting at the Libya House. I scrubbed my hands with a toilet brush, but my face was burned so badly that 3 weeks later friends worried I might be badly scarred," Lindauer told MEIB. "Also, my house was bugged with listening devices and cameras -- little red laser lights in the shower vent. And I survived several assassination attempts."

Cameras with red lasers? Toilet brush? Huh?

Posted by: Malcolm J. at March 11, 2004 02:22 PM

Rant isn't being fair. The vast majority of folks who have worked for/are working for left-wing congresscritters are not likely turncoats. Right?

> "Compared to tanks, journalists are cheap--and you get more for your money."

It depends. If you're looking to stop a US invasion, yes, journalists are the better choice. However, they're not all that useful at putting down internal disputes. Or, have they been lending a hand at that too?

Posted by: Andy Freeman at March 11, 2004 02:26 PM

There's also an email message that might be from her here: http://lists.mutualaid.org/pipermail/mgj-discuss/attachments/20030404/17eb4d86/attachment.txt

It complains about the U.S. selling water to Iraqis.

Based on the details in the indictment, she sounds more like a patsy who cared than a spy or someone who was actively trying to hurt the U.S.

She got $5k for the Baghdad trip, which could conceivably be about what it cost her to get there.

She got $200 or so expenses for her various trips to the U.N.

So, I don't think she was doing it for the money. She probably thought - as alleged - that she could broker some way to stop the war.

The Libyan dead drops might not be as suspicious as they sound, as is her alleged support of resistance groups. There are different ways to define resistance groups.

Posted by: The Lonewacko Blog at March 11, 2004 02:58 PM

Remember the time-tested acronym for why people become foreign agents:
MICE
Money- check mark!
Influence- not directly
Conscience- She probably thought she was right
Ego- Probably a huge ego trip... does anyone honestly believe they bugged her shower, or failed to assassinate her several times? what a load of crap!

She sounds like a mentally unstable liberal nutjob to me, nothing more than a useful idiot.

Posted by: Eric at March 11, 2004 03:20 PM

I think that is her, LoneW, at least enough to write to her asking for comment on the day's events. Of the three email addresses I've found so far, two have been bounced as undeliverable--the third appears to have gone through, though one would think it's constantly monitored by the Feds.

I don't expect to hear back, but there's always a chance.

Posted by: Bigwig at March 11, 2004 03:28 PM

According to the AP:

Lindauer worked at Fortune, U.S. News & World Report and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer before beginning her career as a political publicist.

She worked for Rep. Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, in 1993 and then Rep. Ron Wyden, another Democrat from Oregon, in 1994 before joining the office of former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun as press secretary in 1996. From March to May 2002, she worked for Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat.
-----------------------------------
According to Lofgren's web site,

"However, at this point in time, I am not convinced that war conducted unilaterally is necessary. I was briefed by the Administration multiple times this fall and I found no convincing proof of any connection between the September 11th terrorists and Iraq, nor any evidence of an imminent threat to our national security that justified authorizing a unilateral first strike against Iraq without international support.

Because of these concerns, I voted against H. J. Res. 114, the joint Congressional resolution to authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces against Iraq. Please click here to view my statement on the House floor on this matter."

The Hon. Ms. Lofgren serves on the Science Committee, and the Judiciary Committee, where her focus (as far as I can tell from a recent New Republic article) is Homeland Security.

Her web mail on the congressional site is "down due to events here on Capitol Hill"

Posted by: Blackavar at March 11, 2004 03:37 PM

What type of information do you think someone like this could have passed to the Iraqis?

Its not like she was in the military or the CIA. I doubt if the Honorable Representative Lofgren was given a whole lot of inside information.

I would think that anything of value that she would be able to give to the Iraqis would have had to come from someone else.

Posted by: Narniaman at March 11, 2004 04:07 PM

Nice work.

Just don't accuse her of not being patriotic just because she's a peacenik!

Heh.

Posted by: Willow at March 11, 2004 05:05 PM

Well, she seems to be unemployed now.

But I know for a fact that the Members who sit on the Judiciary, especially the Homeland Security subcommittee, get all sorts of classified briefings. Ever watch C-Span and notice the young-ish looking people sitting behind the members during hearings and briefings? Those are staffers, like Lindauer was. A lot of them, especially the ranking ones like press secretaries and chiefs of staff, legislative directors and the like, sit in on the big briefings.

Interesting to note, Lindauer was laid off after two months of employment, in May 2002. Supposedly, it was due to "downsizing". This is really odd, because congressional offices downsize or upsize right after elections. So the downsizing from the 2000 elections would have occurred in December 2000 - January 2001. The next round of up or downsizing would likely have occurred after the 2002 elections, in December 2002 to Jan 2003.

It's possible that the "downsizing" was part of an internal shuffle, a loss of office space, or a simple reallocation of staff funds during that time period, but a May 2002 "downsizing" is really odd, sort of asynchronous with the battle rhythm in Congress. It is especially odd that a minor member of the Dem leadership wouldn't have had a clue about the downsizing in March 2002, when Lindauer was hired. Kinda makes you wonder if she was fired for cause, but they called it "downsizing" so that everybody could go away happy.

Posted by: Blackavar at March 11, 2004 05:37 PM

Sorry about the multiple trackbacks for this entry...MT is giving me trouble today...

Posted by: Clay Ranck at March 12, 2004 01:05 AM

Eric, you have misremebered "MICE". It is:
Money, Ideology, Compromise and Ego.

Money doesn't seem to be a great factor here, she basically got expenses. Then again, most spies and/or agents get shafted in the money department anyway. Very rarely do they get great gobs of cash.

Ideology seems like the big winner here. She is very anti-war, which would seem to be the big factor in her actions.

Compromise (ie., being blackmailed) doesn't seem to be a factor here, but it rarely is when ideology is involved. Of course, the fact that she accepted money compromises her, but that would only really be a factor if she got cold feet.

Ego seems to be a factor. She is a loon of the mild tinfoil-hat variety, and it seems like working for something she obviously considered important stroked her ego.

Intelligence agencies (and she was working with the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) according to the indictment) generally try to use more than one method to ensnare someone. From the early evidence, it didn't take much work to get Lindauer to do their bidding.

Of course, the whole thing could evaporate in court, but it will be interesting to see what new information surfaces in the coming weeks and months.

Posted by: Bill at March 12, 2004 04:07 PM

Narniaman:

One need not pass classified information to be useful to a foreign government. There have been numerous prosecutions of people acting as agents of a foreign government who were not actually spies. Tokyo Rose comes to mind most immediately.

Actually, passing false information to your native government at the behest of a foreign one can be just as damaging as passing true information the other way. And aiding and abetting the enemy (in this case, the pre-war Iraqi government, and attempting to help the post-war resistance) doesn't mean that someone was committing espionage, which has a fairly narrow definition. Any media outlet that says she was arrested for spying is guilty of sloppy reporting.

Posted by: Bill at March 12, 2004 04:15 PM

Actually, the damning thing for me is not her acting as an unlicensed agent of Iraq, under the direction of Iraqi intel. That's something the peacenik fringe could write off as "oh, but she was just an anti-war protestor."

The damning thing is that the FBI set up a sting after the ground offensive, and lured her into trying to figure out a way to help the Iraqi resistance defeat the Americans.

This punctures the lie that she was anti-war; like Glenn Reynolds says, she's not anti-war, she's for the other side. It also provides what we atturkeys at law like to call "scienter" - proof of bad intent.

Posted by: Blackavar at March 12, 2004 08:46 PM
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