- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 9, 2003

CHICAGO (AP) — A suburban Chicago man was arrested yesterday on charges of secretly gathering information on Iraqi opposition figures as an unregistered agent of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence service.

Khaled Abdel-Latif Dumeisi, 60, was charged based on a dossier seized in a Baghdad safehouse purportedly run by Iraqi intelligence in early April, as U.S. troops moved in.

Federal officials also said unnamed informants identified Mr. Dumeisi as having contact with Iraqi intelligence agents attached to Saddam’s mission to the United Nations, including one expelled as a spy.

Mr. Dumeisi was not charged with espionage, and officials said they do not think he was an officer of the Iraqi intelligence service. But they said he reported to the intelligence service and violated U.S. law by acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government and conspiring to act as one.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said the charges against Mr. Dumeisi are serious.

“Those who gather information in the United States about people living in America for the purpose of providing the information to hostile governments should understand that the FBI will pursue them vigorously and the government will bring charges in appropriate cases,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.

Mr. Dumeisi gathered information on one U.S.-based critic of Saddam’s regime by using a pen containing a hidden microphone and camera, a device given to him by the intelligence agents, according to an FBI affidavit.

Mr. Dumeisi has been in the country for a decade as an unregistered alien and heads a company that publishes an Arabic-language newspaper. Immigration records show he applied for citizenship but was denied after failing to provide the required documents, authorities said.

He has been living in Oak Lawn, a Chicago suburb. Officials said he identifies himself as a Palestine-born Jordanian citizen.

Court papers indicated that FBI agents had been in contact with Mr. Dumeisi at least as early as September 1999.

Mr. Dumeisi told agents in an interview then that he had once-a-week contact with members of the Iraqi mission to the United Nations, according to the affidavit. He was asked in the interview about Iraqi intelligence but said he spoke with members of the mission only for journalistic purposes.

He said he generally traveled to the United Nations twice a year — including for the Iraqi mission’s celebration of Saddam’s birthday.

The affidavit quoted one unnamed informant as saying Mr. Dumeisi said he had received training in Baghdad on how to gather information.

Another informant quoted Mr. Dumeisi as saying he got $2,000 to $3,000 from Iraqi intelligence to monitor opposition activities in America.

The informant said Mr. Dumeisi was to “gather information about Iraqi opposition efforts; specifically what the opposition was doing in the United States, where they were concentrated, what their strength was and how dangerous they were.”

The FBI affidavit said that in Chicago, Mr. Dumeisi at times appeared to be speaking in code to a phone caller and that he prepared bogus press credentials showing that a purported Iraqi intelligence agent named Kassim Mohammed was a representative of Mr. Dumeisi’s Al-Majhar newspaper.

Federal officials quoted Mr. Dumeisi as telling agents in interviews in April and May that one of his close friends told him last year that she was romantically involved with a possible future Iraqi president.

The woman, who was an international long-distance operator, provided Mr. Dumeisi with a list of numbers called by the man she was seeing. Mr. Dumeisi provided that information along with bank records to the Iraqi U.N. mission, according to the affidavit.

The charges against Mr. Dumeisi carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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