Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid, 47, a resident of Leesburg, Va., has been charged for his alleged role in a conspiracy to collect video and audio recordings and other information about individuals in the United States and Syria who were protesting the government of Syria and to provide these materials to Syrian intelligence agencies in order to silence, intimidate and potentially harm the protestors.

Soueid, aka “Alex Soueid” or “Anas Alswaid,” a Syrian-born naturalized U.S. citizen, was charged by a federal grand jury on Oct. 5, 2011, in a six-count indictment in the Eastern District of Virginia. Soueid is charged with conspiring to act and acting as an agent of the Syrian government in the United States without notifying the Attorney General as required by law; two counts of providing false statements on a firearms purchase form; and two counts of providing false statements to federal law enforcement.

According to the indictment, since March 2011, Soueid has acted in the United States as an agent of the Syrian Mukhabarat, which refers to the intelligence agencies for the Government of Syria, including the Syrian Military Intelligence and General Intelligence Directorate. At no time while acting as an agent of the government of Syria in this country did Soueid provide prior notification to the Attorney General as required by law.

Under the direction and control of Syrian officials, Soueid is accused of recruiting individuals living in the United States to collect information on and make audio and video recordings of protests against the Syrian regime – including recordings of conversations with individual protestors – in the United States and Syria. He is also charged with providing the recordings and other information to individuals working for the Mukhabarat. Soueid and others conspired to use this information to undermine, silence, intimidate and potentially harm those in the United States and Syria who engaged in the protests. The indictment also alleges that Soueid provided information regarding U.S. protestors against the Syrian regime to an individual who worked at the Syrian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

On Aug. 3, 2011, FBI agents interviewed Soueid, and the indictment accuses him of lying to the agents when he denied that he had collected information on U.S. persons and transmitted that information to the government of Syria. In addition, Soueid allegedly made further false statements when he denied to FBI agents that he had directed someone to audio or videotape a conversation, meeting, rally or protest, or that he was aware of any individual taking photographs or videotaping people. He also allegedly made false statements when he denied that he had ever been an agent of the Syrian government or a foreign intelligence officer.

In addition, the indictment alleges that, when purchasing a Beretta pistol on July 11, 2011, Soueid listed a false current residence address on a firearms purchase application and in records that were kept by a licensed firearms dealer.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison on the conspiracy and foreign agent charges, 15 years in prison on the firearms purchase charges and 10 years in prison on the false statement charges

The author of this blog is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in Federal Criminal Defense matters. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 or ferrari@ferrari-legal.com.

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