Tuesday, July 19, 2011

DOJ Charge Two with Conspiracy to Act as Unregistered Agents for Pakistan

NBC's Pete Williams (yeah, I know! NBC!) reports this morning the FBI has arrested an American-Pakistani as an
agent of Pakistan's official state intelligence service, accusing him of making thousands of dollars in political contributions in the United States without disclosing his connections to the Pakistani government.

Syed Ghulam Fai will appear in federal court this afternoon in Alexandria, Virginia. He's not charged with being a spy. But he is charged with being an unregistered agent or lobbyist of the Pakistani government.
According to the Dept of Justice, Office of Public Affairs, another Am-Pak man is also charged in the unregistered agent conspiracy.

Two individuals have been charged with participating in a long-term conspiracy to act as agents of the Pakistani government in the United States without disclosing their affiliation with the Pakistani government as required by law.
(...)
Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, 62, a U.S. citizen and resident of Fairfax, Va., and Zaheer Ahmad, 63, a U.S. citizen and resident of Pakistan, are charged in a one-count criminal complaint in the Eastern District of Virginia. The complaint alleges that the defendants have conspired to: 1) act as an agent of a foreign principal without registering with the Attorney General in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA); and 2) falsify, conceal, and cover up material facts they had a duty to disclose in matters within the jurisdiction of Executive Branch agencies of the U.S. government.
Fai was arrested this morning. Ahmad remains at large and is believed to be in Pakistan. Both face a potential sentence of five years in prison if convicted.
(...)
“Mr. Fai is accused of a decades-long scheme with one purpose – to hide Pakistan’s involvement behind his efforts to influence the U.S. government’s position on Kashmir,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “His handlers in Pakistan allegedly funneled millions through the Kashmir Center to contribute to U.S. elected officials, fund high-profile conferences, and pay for other efforts that promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington.”
(...)
According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Fai serves as the director of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), a non-governmental organization located in Washington, D.C., that was founded in 1990 and also goes by the name “Kashmir Center.” The KAC describes itself in educational materials as a “not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of knowledge in the United States about the struggle of the Kashmiri people for self-determination.”
The affidavit alleges that, although the KAC held itself out to be a Kashmiri organization run by Kashmiris and financed by Americans, the KAC is one of three “Kashmir Centers” that are actually run by elements of the Pakistani government, including Pakistan’s military intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI). The two other Kashmir Centers are in London, England, and Brussels, Belgium.
According to the affidavit, a confidential witness told investigators that he participated in a scheme to obscure the origin of money transferred by Pakistan’s ISI to Fai to use as a lobbyist for the KAC in furtherance of Pakistani government interests. The witness explained that the money was transferred to Fai through Ahmad, an American living in Pakistan. A second confidential witness told investigators that the ISI created the KAC to propagandize on behalf of the government of Pakistan with the goal of uniting Kashmir. This witness said ISI’s sponsorship and control of KAC were secret and that ISI had been directing Fai’s activities for the past 25 years.

Let's be clear - both individuals are American citizens and have every right to make donations to any American political organization and individual they so choose. They do not have the right, however, to act as agents of a foreign entity without declaration.



The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

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