Man Admits to Secret Work for Iraq's Hussein
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
A 67-year-old Iraqi who has been living in the United States since the 1980s pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge yesterday and admitted that he secretly served for more than a decade as an agent of the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Saubhe Jassim Al-Dellemy, who came to the United States as a student and became a permanent resident in 2000, was identified as an agent through documents recovered after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, prosecutors said. The recovery of such records has led to charges against at least a dozen Iraqi agents, according to the Justice Department.
Given the code name "Adam," Dellemy provided information to Iraq and its intelligence agency about the identities and activities of people and groups opposed to Hussein and his government, according to a factual summary that accompanied his plea agreement.
Dellemy, a Maryland resident, hosted gatherings of Iraqi intelligence officers and government officials at a restaurant he operated near the headquarters of the National Security Agency, according to the documents, filed at U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Dellemy used the restaurant's proximity to the NSA to "gather information" about the U.S. government, the documents say.
The documents do not say where in Maryland Dellemy lives, nor do they name the restaurant. Phone records link him to Gourmet Shish Kebab in Laurel, and an employee who answered the phone there last night said that Dellemy is the manager and that Dellemy's wife is the owner.
Dellemy is not charged with seeking or obtaining classified or otherwise secret information. He was charged with conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign government, which carries a maximum prison term of five years.
Secretly acting as an agent for a foreign power is a serious offense, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said.
"It's important because there are always foreign agents in the United States trying to gather information for the use of hostile governments," Rosenstein said. "I think it's important for us to make that clear, that anyone in the United States secretly cooperating with a foreign intelligence service may be prosecuted."
Dellemy's work in the United States began two decades ago.
Sent to study in this country on a scholarship from Hussein's Baath Party, Dellemy was in return expected to help Iraqi intelligence officers operating in the United States, according to court documents. Specifically, he collaborated with Iraqi spies from "Washington Station," which operated out of the Iraqi Interests Section, set up after Iraq and the United States suspended diplomatic relations in 1990.
As war loomed between the United States and Iraq over Kuwait, Dellemy helped shred documents at the Iraqi Embassy that could have hurt the Hussein regime and compromised the identity of Iraqi intelligence agents in the United States, the court documents say.
Investigators who reviewed records seized in Iraq concluded that Washington Station paid Dellemy for his efforts, according to court filings. The filings do not detail how often or how much he was paid.