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American indicted as Iraqi agent

Woman claims innocence: 'I'm an antiwar activist'

After being arrested, Susan Lindauer said to reporters, "I'm an antiwar activist and I'm innocent."

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CNN's Kelli Arena reports on the case of a U.S. woman charged as an Iraqi agent.
• Superseding indictment:  U.S. v. Lindauer, et al.  (FindLaw, PDF)
• Superseding indictment:  U.S. v. al-Anbuke (FindLaw, PDF)external link
Justice Department
United Nations

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A Maryland woman accused of working as an Iraqi agent took a job with a California congresswoman just days after allegedly consorting with Iraqi intelligence agents in Baghdad, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday.

Susan Lindauer, 41, a former journalist, also allegedly tried to deliver a letter to White House chief of staff Andrew Card touting her contacts with Saddam Hussein's regime.

She is accused of delivering documents last summer to an undercover FBI agent posing as a Libyan intelligence operative seeking support for insurgents in postwar Iraq, according to the indictment filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

In addition, the indictment says she was involved in a conspiracy with two sons of Iraq's former deputy ambassador to the United Nations -- Wisam Noman Al-Anbuke and Raed Rokan Al-Anbuke -- who were charged last year with providing information to Iraqi agents about Iraqi dissidents living in the United States. (Full story)

Lindauer was arrested Thursday and professed her innocence to camera crews and reporters as she was escorted in handcuffs from her home in Takoma Park in suburban Washington by federal agents.

"I'm an antiwar activist and I'm innocent," she said.

After a court appearance in Baltimore, Maryland, Lindauer was released from jail on $500,000 bond but was ordered to stay in an unnamed "community facility." Another court appearance was scheduled for Friday.

Lindauer was press secretary to Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, for two months in 2002.

She started the job just four days after the indictment says she returned home from a two-week trip to Baghdad, where she was the guest of the Iraqi intelligence service and accepted $5,000 in cash.

Lofgren, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, issued a statement saying she was "shocked" to learn of the charges against Lindauer.

"To my knowledge, this former employee had no access to sensitive information. Obviously, I had no reason to think that she was involved in this alleged activity," Lofgren said.

"I have had no further contact with her since she left my employ. If there is any way I can assist with the investigation, I will happily do so."

The indictment says that in January 2003 Lindauer delivered a letter to the home of a U.S. government official.

In the letter, 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," the indictment reads.

The White House confirmed the official mentioned in the indictment is Card, a distant cousin of Lindauer's.

Card "cooperated fully" with the investigation and views the matter "as a very sad, very unfortunate incident," said White House press secretary Scott McClellan.

A government source told CNN that Card was not at home when Lindauer allegedly delivered the letter.

Card notified the Justice Department, turned over the letter, and informed President Bush about the investigation, the source said.

McClellan said Card last recalls seeing Lindauer in early 2001. She made various attempts to contact Card, saying she was in contact with the Iraqi regime, McClellan said.

Card "brought that to the attention of the appropriate officials" at the Justice Department, McClellan said.

In addition to trying to communicate with Card and traveling to Iraq, the indictment says Lindauer had numerous meetings in New York with Iraqi intelligence agents, who paid her travel expenses.

In late June 2003 -- less than three months after the liberation of Baghdad -- she began meeting with the FBI agent posing as a Libyan intelligence officer seeking help for Iraqi insurgents, the indictment says.

On the agent's instructions, Lindauer left documents at designated locations near her Maryland home, according to the indictment.

Lindauer was charged with acting as an unregistered agent for a foreign government, conspiring with the Al-Anbuke brothers to act as a foreign agent, engaging in prohibited transactions with the Iraqi government and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which prohibits American citizens from conducting transactions with governments designated by the president as a threat to U.S. security.

The first President Bush put Iraq under the sanctions of the IEEPA in 1990. Iraq was also designated a country supporting international terrorism, which made it illegal for U.S. citizens to receive money from Iraqi sources without government approval.

In all, Lindauer received $10,000 in payments from the Iraqi government, which also paid her travel expenses to Baghdad, the indictment says.

If convicted on all the charges, Lindauer could face up to 25 years in prison.

In a superseding indictment, Raed Al-Anbuke was charged with acting as an unregistered agent for a foreign government, conspiracy and one count of making false statements to the FBI.

Wisam Noman Al-Anbuke was charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent, conspiracy and four counts of making false statements to the FBI.

The defendants' father, Rohan Al-Anbuke, was in recent years Iraq's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, a position that enabled his sons to enter the United States on a G-1 State Department visa. Rohan Al-Anbuke has not been charged with any crimes. (Full story)

The three defendants will be arraigned on the charges in New York on Monday morning, according to prosecutors.

CNN's Kelli Arena, John King and Anne Castellani contributed to this report.

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