Jul 19, 2011 No Comments ›› Angelia
Law enforcement sources say the FBI has arrested 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, Va. He’s not charged with being a spy. But he is charged with being an unregistered agent or lobbyist of the Pakistani government.
He’s the exective director of a group called the Kashmiri American Council. …
Fai’s largest contribution, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, was to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to which he gave $5,000 in 2006 and $1,000 in 2008. He gave smaller sums more recently to the DSCC and the DNC, and has given $5,000 to Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), $250 to Barack Obama and $500 Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.).
Prosecutors say Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai and Zaheer Ahmad, both U.S. citizens, were secretly paid by Pakistan’s spy agency to lobby officials in Washington. The case is seen as a new strain on already tense relations between the two countries.
Reporting from Washington— Two U.S. citizens were charged with being paid by Pakistan’s spy agency in a “long-term conspiracy” to lobby the government here without formally disclosing their connection with the government in Islamabad.
One of the men, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, 62, who lives in Fairfax, Va., was arrested Tuesday morning; authorities were still seeking Zaheer Ahmad, 63, who is believed to be somewhere in Pakistan. Though not charged with espionage, the men face five years in prison if convicted.
The charges likely will further strain U.S.-Pakistani relations, already tense after a U.S. Navy SEALs raid in May that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who for years had been living in a gated compound in Pakistan, not far from a local military installation.
According to U.S. federal prosecutors, Fai serves as director of the Kashmiri American Council, a nongovernmental organization based in Washington. Founded in 1990, it is dedicated to raising U.S. knowledge about the struggle for self-determination among the Kashmiri people.
But prosecutors said Fai also had a separate mission in this country, and that he worked “at the direction of and with the financial support of the Pakistani government for more than 20 years.” In that role, they said, he was in touch with his handlers from the Pakistani spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, more than 4,000 times in the last three years alone.
Fai’s handlers also routinely communicated with Ahmad, prosecutors said.
In all, Fai and the KAC received at last $4 million from the Pakistani government, prosecutors said, though neither he nor Ahmad ever registered as an official agent of the Pakistani or Kashmiri governments, as required by U.S. law.
Instead, U.S. Atty. Neil MacBride said on Tuesday, their real purpose was “to hide Pakistan’s involvement behind his [Fai's] efforts to influence the U.S. government’s position on Kashmir.”